2014 BMW 3 Series GT: Function triumphs over form in BMW’s high-roofed hatch

BMW wasn’t planning on showing its 2014 3 Series GT until the first week of March, when the Geneva Motor Show opens its doors, but some leaked photos have forced the company’s hand. The specs show a car that has a lot in common with the rest of the 3 Series line, despite its unusual sheetmetal.

The 3 Series GT is similar in concept to the larger 5 Series GT. To make both cars, BMW takes one of its sedans and turns it into a high-roofed hatchback that supposed to be both stylish and utilitarian.

The jury is out when it comes to the styling, but the 3 Series GT will definitely be practical. The wheelbase is stretched by 4.2 inches, yielding an extra cubic foot of rear cargo space over a 3 Series wagon, and rear seat legroom increases by three inches over the sedan.

The roofline may have a dramatic slope, but it’s actually 3.2 inches taller than either a 3 Series sedan or wagon. A power tailgate includes a “smart opener” activated by swiping a foot under the rear bumper (just like on a Ford Escape). The cargo area also comes with LED illumination, making the 3 Series GT the perfect car for a late night body dump.

Look away from the capacious cargo area, and the GT starts to look like a regular 3 Series. Like the 3 Series sedan, it will offered in the United States as a 328i, with a 240 horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four, or as a 335i with a 300 hp, 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six.

An eight speed automatic transmission is standard, and doesn’t look like BMW will be offering the GT with a stick shift.

The 3 Series is known for its sporty handling, and the GT will keep the sedan’s double joint front axle. However, it will get space-saving five-link suspension in back.

The 3 Series GT will also be offered in the same trim lines as the 3 Series sedan: standard, Sport Line, Luxury Line, Modern Line, and M Sport.

The differences are mostly aesthetic. Sport Line nets blacked-out trim exterior trim, red interior trim, and 18 or 19-inch alloy wheels. Luxury Line replaces the black trim with chrome and the red trim with wood. Modern Line comes with unique “turbine” alloy wheels and its own interior colors.

M Sport models are breathed on by BMW’s M Division, the same people that brought you the M5. Don’t get too excited, though: mechanical changes are limited to a stiffened and lower suspension. The M Sport will also have a full body kit and a sport steering wheel.

The 3 Series GT will go on sale later this year, and pricing will be announced sometime before then. The GT will probably command a premium over other (non-M3) 3 Series models.

With the X1 and X3 crossovers already in showrooms, and the 3 Series wagon on the way, BMW’s showrooms will soon be crowded with utility vehicles. At least buyers will have plenty of choices.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

2019 Lamborghini Urus first drive review

Twenty five years after the demise of the V12-powered LM002, Lamborghini rejoins the sport-utility segment with the Urus, a veritable tour de force of technology, luxury, and speed.
Product Review

The all-new 3 Series proves BMW can still build a compelling sport sedan

Seat time in the entry-level BMW 330i ($41,425) and M340i xDrive ($54,995) will test the German automaker’s commitment to driving dynamics, powertrain refinement, and cutting edge technology.
Product Review

Inside Maserati's Levante SUV beats the heart of a Ferrari

Maserati’s luxury SUV gets a shot in the arm by way of Ferrari-derived V8 power, but is it enough to go toe-to-toe with the established players in the high performance sport-utility segment? Let’s find out.

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.

What’s next for in-car entertainment? Audi believes it knows

Audi is bringing two technologies to CES 2019. The first turns a car -- a luxury sedan, in this case -- into a drive-in movie theater. The second is presented as a new entertainment format that turns the journey into the destination.

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.

California wants all-electric public bus fleet on its roads by 2040

California approved a regulation that targets an all-electric public bus fleet for the whole state by 2040. The effect of the full implementation of the regulation is equivalent to taking 4 million cars off the road.

1,000-mph Bloodhound supersonic car project finds a last-minute savior

The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) project has found a buyer. The project was going to be disbanded after running out of funds, but its assets were purchased by British businessman Ian Warhurst.

Ford’s prototype Quiet Kennel uses noise-canceling tech to keep dogs stress-free

Ford is ending 2018 by venturing into the doghouse market. The company's European division has built a kennel equipped with active noise-canceling technology and soundproof walls that help dogs sleep through fireworks.
Emerging Tech

Self-driving dirt rally vehicle offers crash course in autonomous car safety

Georgia Tech's AutoRally initiative pushes self-driving cars to their limit by getting scaled-down autonomous vehicles to drive really, really fast and aggressively on dirt roads. Here's why.

The best compact cars pack full-size features in fun-size packages

The best compact cars on the market rival their counterparts in many ways, proving that bigger isn’t always better. Here, we've rounded up some of the better options available, including an SUV and an electric alternative.

Lincoln revives its coolest-ever design feature for limited-edition Continental

The 1961 Lincoln Continental became a design icon thanks to center-opening "coach doors" (also known as "suicide doors"). Lincoln is bringing those doors back for a special edition of the 2019 Continental.
Product Review

Ford’s reincarnated Ranger feels like a car that does everything a truck can do

The 2019 Ford Ranger aims to be a tool for weekend adventures, and goes head-to-head with midsize pickup trucks from Chevrolet, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota. Ford hasn’t sold the Ranger in the United States since 2011, so it has to make up…