BMW 3 Series contributes to about 30 percent of overall sales for the German luxury automaker which indicates its importance in the brands product portfolio. First introduced back in 1975, this premium luxury sedan is currently into its 7th Generation which was introduced in 2019 with new design and a lot of tech. The 3 Series Gran Limousine aims to offer more rear space to occupants. Since in India, these sort of premium cars are mostly chauffeur driven, added legroom for the rear passengers will surely be a benefit.
The shift from Grand Turismo to a Limousine is not that drastic, given that this car in design is more or less the same as the normal 3 Series. Though going by its dimensions, the BMW 3 Series Gran Limousine is the longest in its segment and a bit taller than the normal sedan. Also known as the long wheel base, in comparison to the standard model its wheelbase has gone up by 110mm from 2851mm. As for the width it remains unchanged.
How is it to look at?
In sheer profile, the look of this Limousine will remind you of the current 3 Series as the majority of the design elements remain the same. Thus up front what you get is a typical modern BMW face, that provides a Kidney Grille, Twin BMW LED headlamps with U shaped daytime running lights and a sporty bumper. Speaking of the bumper, it is quite sharp in design offering bits of chrome elements alongside a substantially prominent air intake. Now let us turn our attention to the side profile. The first thing that you see here is the same set of 17 inch V-Spoke diamond cut alloy wheels, the only difference in the profile being its rear door size which has been increased. Thus the rear doors are 110 mm longer than the normal 3 Series. For the rest, the silhouette remains the same. As for the rear end, like the front it remains unchanged. Key design highlights here include chrome inserts, a pair of L-Shaped LED tail lights and twin exhaust tailpipes. The variant that we are driving today is the BMW 320Ld Luxury line. The letter ‘L’ in the moniker refers to long wheel base.
What are its interiors like?
The biggest highlight of the cabin is the extra legroom that has been provided for the rear passengers. With an extended wheelbase, the 3 Series Gran Limousine as you can see offers 43mm more space than the normal model. In fact with comfort being the top priority here, the seats seem to have been contoured in such a way to offer good cushioning, lumber and under thigh support. The head and arm rest towards the rear have also been redesigned so as to provide better on-board experience. That said, the interior here comes equipped with a dual-tone colour theme (black & brown). The dashboard layout is centered towards the driver which is a good thing, as all controls are within a hands reach. The presence of fine-wood trim oak grain adds character to the front as does the presence of BMW's Live Cockpit Professional that provides a 10.25-inch i-drive touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster provides a sporty feel, while the inclusion of 6 different colour options for ambient lighting takes the cabin ambience to the next level. Presence of a panoramic sunroof is another differentiator between the normal vehicle and this sedan.
What is its performance and drive like?
Can the BMW 3 Series Gran Limousine replicate its sibling’s driving characteristics? To answer that, let us first take a look at the specs of BMW 3 Series Gran Limousine. It comes equipped with BMW's Twin Power 2-litre, four cylinder turbo diesel engine. The unit delivers a maximum power output of 190 bhp with 400 nm of peak torque. Despite its increased length, the powertrain keeps you engaged with seamless power delivery, though it might not be as aggressive as the normal 3; it does the job reasonably well. The NVH levels are well contained on lower speeds, however, once accelerated hard it does get a bit noisy. Further the 8-speed steptronic automatic transmission on-board does decently well, to provide smooth shifts. With a softer suspension setup, the ride quality is good given that the car soaks in potholes and broken roads with much ease. While handling might not be as precise as the standard 3 Series, but it still cruises along despite its increased dimensions. Customers of such cars never really tend to care much about the mileage but let us state that the 320 Ld delivers an impeccable 19.62 kmpl (ARAI Certified).
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Introduction of the long wheel base 3 Series in India is definitely going to bring delight and happiness to most customers. In fact, we strongly think that the launch of 3 Series Gran Limousine may lead to the creation of a new segment altogether with rivals like Mercedes Benz, Audi and Jaguar that are likely to follow in the near future. The 3 Series Gran Limousine ticks all the right boxes when it comes to luxury and comfort while the pricing is expected to be higher than the normal 3 Series in the bracket of Rs 51 - 54 lakhs (ex-showroom). So if you like being chauffeur driven, then this is just the car for you.