“It’s hideous, kill it with fire!”
This is a phrase you might find yourself using all too often in reference to the latest crossover, XUV or SAV that the world’s automakers roll out. It would certainly be an appropriate reaction to BMW’s ungainly-proportioned 3-Series GT, and it seems BMW has come to realize this because the GT will not receive a redesign after its current iteration.
For a brand that fervently seeks out and fills even the smallest of niches, the GT’s elimination is BMW admitting that sometimes you just can’t create a niche where there was only a dream before.
Be Sensible, BMW!
BMW’s top brass claims that there is still market demand for the 3er GT even though sales numbers have been presumably weak. It’s impossible to know just how few of the GTs are sold from BMW’s own market data because they roll that number up into the total count of 3-series sedans sold. Can we speak plainly for a moment? If this car was printing money, it would not be getting the axe.
It’s not as though this is going to break BMW. If there’s a vehicle out there that can print money it’s a 3-series, but even Bavaria’s original recipe is struggling to keep pace with the popular and more traditional X3 and X5 (and X1 and X1, and X7…) SUVs.
Add to that that the lower-riding 3-series variants already include a sedan, wagon and “Gran Coupe” and you can see where customers are going to suffer from Cheesecake Factory syndrome. More choices is not always a good thing, and BMW has spent decades perfecting the honest sedan.
A Face for Radio
If you know the BMW lineup fairly well, you’ll recall that there are “high coupe” variants of several X models. These crossovers can do everything a 3-series GT can but more importantly, they’re not nearly as ugly.
The 3 is the second attempt by BMW to fashion a high-beltline station-wagon-chimera out of its most popular model, if you’ve still got your sight after clapping eyes on the 5-series GT, you might just want to skip this one.
Don’t be mistaken, there’s plenty to be said for practicality and a form-follows-function approach to car design, look at Subaru. But with so much internal competition, you have to ask why? And now BMW has.
The Next Generation of 3-Series
Bimmerphiles will know the latest coming of the 3er by its G20 body code, and there will be no G20 iteration of the GT.
This is a critical time for BMW which has been criticized as moving away from their sporting heritage in an attempt to capture market share from Mercedes and Audi by offering a less communicative driving experience and a more cushy, amenity-rich interior.
The G20 has a challenging mission in rescuing the brand from dilution and restoring BMW’s sporting name without offending customers who want luxury.
That means that there’s no room for low-volume models. All the development money needs to hit home on the core product lineup which has, admittedly, swollen to a size that should not need help from any more flavors of 3-series.
So if you’ve got a 3-series GT and you love it, good for you. Hold on to it. Maybe it will become a novelty item like the Pontiac Aztek and ten years from now people will be picking through auction lots for them. If you don’t have one and you want one, you had better act fast!