BMW 328i GT Luxury

It used to be so easy! Back in the days of “when I were lad” and when Fast Lane Magazine held my attention far more than physics A-level ever could, BMW’s boot badges were just so simple to comprehend. A chrome 316 on the rear right hand corner meant that vehicle’s owner had just made it into the world of BMW ownership, a 3 series with a 1600cc engine was theirs.

On the other hand if the same chrome typeface said 735 you knew instantly there was more cash to spare. After all, a 7 series complete with a 3.5 litre engine didn’t come cheap.  A 523? Simple, someone in middle management – hence the 5 series – and a 2.3 litre six cylinder engine under the bonnet. Everything above 2 litres was six cylindered; everything below was a four-pot. A coupe had 2 doors, a saloon had 4, and a touring was an estate. Like I said, it was hardly rocket science.

These days though as we’re all a bit more concerned about the environment than we used to be BMW’s nomenclature requires a little more swatting up on.

Take the 328 GT Luxury for example. A seventeen year old me would have instantly told you that that was the near range-topping small Beemer complete with a silky smooth 6 displacing 2.8 litres. Now my hair’s shorter and all the more greyer though, that’s not quite the case. The 328 GT you see is powered by a 4 cylinder 2 litre turbo and it’s neither a  2 door coupe, a saloon - well not in the conventional sense -  or an estate, sorry! I meant a Touring. It’s is in fact a 5 door coupe.

I do hope you’re keeping up at the back, because that’s not all. The 328 GT sits on a wheelbase that’s about the same size as an X5’s, the boot is bigger than the aforementioned 3 series Touring, and in the back there’s more leg-room than you’d get in a 5 series. Oh, and you sit higher up in it too; 56mm higher to be precise.

So it’s the best of all worlds then?

Well, no, not quite. There’s price to pay for all of that space. You see GT spec 3 Series weigh in 145kg heavier than their more familiar, more saloon-shaped brethren, their centre of gravity is higher as a result as well. As a result the GT rolls a little more during cornering and its responses to the commands from your hands and feet aren’t nearly as sharp. It does ride well though, even on the optional 19” rims, and as long as you not trying set the new fastest time to the office, its 245bhp and 258lb ft of torque mean it delivers more than adequate performance. You’d never be able to label it BMW’s famous tag line “The Ultimate Driving Machine” however; it’s just a little too stately for that.

It’s also bit thirsty. Despite (optional) variable driving modes that include eco-plus and the addition of start-stop technology, in a week’s driving, I never saw more than 37mpg -and honestly Guv’, I wasn’t going that fast.  Neither was I in Sport mode, which incidentally, sharpens up the GT’s responses considerably.

It’s because of this that summing up the 328 GT is harder than trying to get to grips with the wave particle paradox. Like all BMW’s it’s beautifully built and feels like it’ll last a life time. It does offer huge amounts of space, yet it costs more than BMW’s better to drive, lighter and not that much smaller 3 Series Touring. The list of standard equipment is good ( DAB, leather, air-con, LED tail-lights, powered tail-gate etc) and yet the cost of the extras you need to purchase in order to make the Luxury title actually mean something (Electric seats, head-up display, media package/Bluetooth, adaptive headlight and more) is gulp-inducing. And, if you carry passengers, whilst they’ll love the extra legroom, you’ll always have to put up with them arguing over this car’s opinion splitting, fastback looks.  The jury’s still out you see, they’re trying to work out whether the 3 Series GT is sleek and elegant or just downright ugly.

After a week in its company I have to admit it’s rather grown on me, in fact I’d go as far as saying that despite its idiosyncrasies I rather like it. Whether or not I fully understand yet though, I’m still not quite sure.

BMW 328i GT Luxury

Engine: 1997cc 4Cyl 16V petrol turbo
Transmission: 8 speed automatic, rear wheel drive.
Power:  245bhp @7300pm
Torque: 350 lbft @5000rpm
0-62MPH: 6.1 Sec
Max Speed: 155 mph
CO2: 149 g/km
MPG: 42.2 combined
Price: £34,030 (car driven: £45,870)

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Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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