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BMW planning 3-Series GT

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BMW planning 3-Series GT

03/22/2010, 4:22 PMBY MARK KLEIS

Building on an earlier report by Leftlane in July 2009, BMW is still following closely in the footsteps of the all-new 5-Series GT, as the German automaker says it is planning to create a cargo-hauling small brother based on the next-generation 3-Series.

Leftlane first reported in late 2009 that BMWwould be bringing a Gran Turismo variant of the 3-Series to market, and now Automobile has provided new insight on the upcoming hatchback.

The 335i Gran Turismo will complement a standard 3-Series wagon, now confirmed in both the U.S. and European markets. It will also offer a more stylish alternative for those who don’t need quite as much space as the full wagon provides. The 335i GT will be positioned as the premium model in the 3-Series lineup – excluding the M3 – and is intended to bridge the gap between the 3-Series and the more up-scale 5-Series.

Britain’s Channel 4 originally reported that the 335i Gran Turismo would offer a trick two-stage tailgate like the 5-Series GT, allowing 335i GT owners to access the car’s rear cargo compartment like a conventional sedan for smaller items – keeping the passenger compartment isolated — or like a typical hatchback for larger items. But Automobile has suggested the 3-Series GT will forgo the two-stage tailgate for a lighter-weight solid design.

Two versions of the 335i GT are planned – a four-seat version and a five-seat version. As the car’s nameplate suggests, only one engine will be offered. Now that the 3-Series GT has the green light for U.S. consumption, expect it to arrive State side in 2012. The 3-Series GT will also ride on a front strut suspension – the same as what is found under the next generation 1-Series.

The 3-Series GT will give BMW five 3-Series-variants, each set to release several months apart, in addition to the upcoming sub-1-Series BMW model set to arrive around 2012.



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