The BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo is considered the ugly duckling of the family and its time has come to an end as production has ceased.
BMW bosses originally claimed the demand for the model was at the right level and the decision to ditch it is part of a major cost-cutting efficiency drive.
Last year we saw the new 3 Series launched with a Touring option but BMW chairman Harold Krüger confirmed that “there won’t be a successor” to the current 3 Series GT in a statement accompanying an interim financial report.
BMW ends 3 Series GT production with no replacement confirmed
The BMW 3 Series GT is one of the Bavarian brand’s most controversial designs of the last decade. Proposed as a car that offered the dynamic benefits of an executive sedan with some added space, the GT’s demise is part of a major cost-cutting initiative rather than a response low-demand, BMW affirms.
According to Autocar, BMW chairman Harold Krüger has confirmed that a successor is not on the cards in an interim financial report. This decision forms part of a number of measures that hopes to save the brand €12 billion in costs. Other cost-cutting measures include halving the current drivetrain variants by 2021 and shift to two new flexible platforms in order to reduce complexities in vehicles and shortening the development process by a third.
New BMW 318i entry-level model announced (and confirmed for SA)
BMW has announced the return of the 318i badge to the 3 Series range, with the new entry-level version of the sedan already confirmed for South Africa.
Expected to hit local roads in the second quarter of 2020, the 318i will slot in below the 320i in the G20-generation range. While its F30-generation predecessor employed a 1,5-litre three-pot, the new version uses a turbocharged 2,0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine offering the rear axle 115 kW and 250 N.m.
Interestingly, an eight-speed automatic transmission will ship standard, while the Munich-based firm claims a zero to 100 km/h sprint time of 8,4 seconds (and a top speed of 223 km/h). Claimed combined fuel consumption, meanwhile, comes in at 5,3 L/100 km.
The current local 3 Series range comprises the aforementioned 135 kW 320i, the 140 kW 320d, the 190 kW 330i, the 195 kW 330d and the 275 kW M340i xDrive.
New entry-level BMW 3 Series confirmed for South Africa
BMW’s 318i badge is returning to the 3 Series line-up, with the entry-level model set to hit South African showrooms during the second quarter of this year, the local division said.
But the good news is that it won’t be saddled with the 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbopetrol engine that powered the previous-generation 318i. Instead, the new G20 318i will come with a detuned version of the 2-litre four-cylinder turbopetrol that’s also fitted to the latest 320i and 330i models.
In the new 318i’s case, the engine is tuned to produce 115kW and 250Nm, which is 15kW and 30Nm more than its three-pot predecessor mustered, and it’s just 20kW and 50Nm shy of the latest 320i.
So how fast is it? According to BMW, the new 318i will sprint from zero to 100km/h in 8.4 seconds and reach a top speed of 223km/h. And sorry purists, but like the rest of the 3 Series range, the 318i will come standard with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
There’s no word on pricing for the 318i as yet, but with the 330i currently retailing at R680 000 and the 320i priced at R640 000, dare we suggest the new entry model’s price might creep just below the R600 000 mark.
BMW introduces new mild hybrids in line-up reshuffle
Diesel models gain electric tech for smoother starts and improved economy; 1 Series hatch gains new 120d option
A range of BMW diesel models will be equipped with mild hybrid power systems as standard from spring, promising improved fuel economy and reduced emissions.
All 320d models, including the four-wheel drive xDrive variants, the X3 xDrive20d and X4 xDrive20d – powered by the same 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine – will gain a 48v starter-generator and additional battery for an 11bhp power boost, regenerative braking capabilities and an improved coasting function.
The 318i badge is set to return to BMW’s local product line-up during the second half of 2020, powered by a new engine.
BMW’s new 318i will also appeal to those who are not ardent believers in the downsizing engine trend. Unlike BMW’s previous three-cylinder 318i, the 2020 model is powered by a four-cylinder engine totalling 2-litre of capacity.