By on July 14, 2011

I hoped that BMW’s GT concept would be a one-and-done type of experiment, like the X6 or the Two-Mode hybrid drivetrain, selling as badly as it is. No such luck. Auto Motor und Sport has caught a forthcoming 3 Series GT prototype wallowing and leaning its way around a test track in Germany. That’s right, what you’re looking at right there is a 3 series… a nameplate that’s synonymous with sharp handling and a nailed-down ride. And just look at it, leaning on its tip-toes like a dune buggy that’s been developed by a French suspension engineer. Unless of course this isn’t a 3er GT at all, but the planned X4 “SAV”… but then, how is anyone supposed to even tell the difference between the two? One’s a softer, slightly larger, slightly jacked-up fastback 3 series, while the other is… essentially the same thing? Talk about losing the plot…

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27 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: The Ultimate Leaning Machine Edition...”

  • avatar

    I find it fascinating that they raised the suspension to provide a good amount of ground clearance and then fitted the beast with low profile tires suitable only for PAVED ROADS.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      That just means they know how many people use their supossed “sport” vehicles. Either SUV or CUV.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s the latest in suspension/tire engineering for getting through the tough environs of modern suburbs these days.

      • 0 avatar

        I know above you guys won’t believe me, but with steep inclines in entrances/exits to box stores/townhouse complexes/driveways etc., and some really awful potholes, not to mention ever lower front bumpers and ever higher curbs, in my experience there is actually more use in having ground clearance in the city than their is in the country. In the country I’m hitting grass, not a cement curb. It is truly ridiculous how many people I hear scraping up against curbs and bottoming out on entrances, even going slowly.

  • avatar

    Finally, a solution for the masses who cry out, “I’d really like a 3, if only it was taller.” Next up: addressing the concerns of those turned off by inline sixes and multiple grills.

    Serious question: Are they putting the side blinkers on the mirrors, or is that just part of the test mule getup? I find mirror blinkers distracting at night and really like the blinker location on my 328.

    • 0 avatar

      Most recent BMW camos have the blinkers on the mirrors. So, expect the worse.

      • 0 avatar

        Groan. First they decided to do away with the NA straight six, now I find they also gave it mirror blinkers. I see they’re also giving it the goofy gearshift. Are they also going to make idrive standard?

        I love my E90 and have always been confused by people who think it’s a downgrade from the E46. Now I think I’m beginning to understand how they feel, just a generation later.

      • 0 avatar

        Does it even matter? From what I’ve seen BMW drivers never use them anyway.

    • 0 avatar

      Inline six concerns? Done and dusted. Car and Driver had a story on the 2012 528i and it has a 2.0 liter turbo four cylinder. Can’t see the next 3 being any better off. The funny thing is that the sort of people who like the cars called BMWs now are defending the move as long as BMW claims more power and better fuel economy. Back when I was a bad BMW customer, the appeal wasn’t about numbers. A naturally aspirated inline six is a luxury in itself. If I’d wanted a set of numbers and a price tag I’d have been driving a Mitsubishi Eclipse. I suppose today I’d have a WRX, a Mustang, or an Evo, none of which are any worse looking than current BMWs.

      • 0 avatar

        Mmmm….to each his own but I dont think the Boy-racer looks of a WRX or EVO hold up well sytling-wise with anything, let alone most BMW’s. I do like the new cleaner Mustang though.

      • 0 avatar

        A turbo four on the 528? It already gets 22/32 mpg (in a 3800 pound car!). Will a turbo four improve on that enough to justify putting up with a turbo? This is the first I’ve heard of this, but google tells me you’re right. Will they not offer an NA six on anything?

        I’m going to become one of those cranks who writes letters to Roundel complaining about how there hasn’t been a “true” BMW to roll off the line since mine.

      • 0 avatar


        Maybe we should start our own club! FBMW CCA. The F is for former, of course. ;-)

    • 0 avatar

      It isn’t difficult to disable those things. I wouldn’t put up with flashing lights on the mirror when I’m trying to use those mirrors to see behind me at night.

  • avatar

    I don’t know I wouldn’t call that losing the plot. Clearly for some time now it has been feasible to have a bigass variety of bodies on car. And BMW sell more that way?

    I hope no one complains about the 4dr 6-series.

  • avatar

    It is probably a little premature to be speculating on the handling of the next 3 series based on a photo of a pre-production model going around a test track.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s not what’s happening here… I’m criticizing the decision to sully the Dreier’s enviable brand equity with a porky, wallowing, stilt-walking GT version. They tried it already with the 5er and it didn’t work… the madness needs to stop.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t know about that.

        Just had the “Joy” of driving a true crossover (lexus RX) on CO hwy 550 from durango. Two good mountain passes. There a 5 series GT in front of me, and I didn’t see any wallowing. Looked like a rock really. My passenger was a bit seasick, however, from my wallowing in the lexus.

      • 0 avatar

        Ed, I don’t understand your line of thinking. To me, it is the same as all the folks that cried Porsche would wreck all that 911 brand equity, that the Porsche brand could not be so stretched and not be broken, when the Cayenne was introduced. (Brand was so damaged, they decided to add the Panamera… and after both of these were introduced, allowing for the markets, did Porsche sell fewer 911s?

        The thing that will kill 3-er sales will be the lousy styling (And this is why Audi is eating BMW’s lunch…) or when 3-er sedans and coupes stop behaving like people expect.

  • avatar

    I’m not feeling the outrage here.

    As long BMW can make this “The Ultimate Drivers’ Bloated and Jacked Up 3Series”, I’m OK with it.

    The new softie 5 series sedan disappoints me far more than this.

  • avatar

    Has BMW ever participated in any off-road car rallys. I would love the idea of a factory luxury dune buggy vehicle. but I know this won’t be it. and Such dreams are rare to happen.

  • avatar
    M 1

    I wonder if GM will sue them for stealing the ass-end of the Aztek.

  • avatar
    slow kills

    I was hoping my BMW Outback would roll on bigger wheels than this, y’all.

  • avatar

    It looks to me like the car is going over the peak of a crest, and the suspension is at nearly full droop.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    Looks like a redux of the ol’ AMC Eagle circa 1980 . You could get those with a pushrod I6. I have 2 parts cars for my pair of 528e daily drivers. . I did it so I can keep them going another 10 yrs. Compared to the fun , no sarcasm, of maintaining 25 yr old 528es, these cars sound scary expensive to maintain. I wouldn’t , couldn’t, touch a 2000s BMW. I couldn’t afford a shop to maintain it.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      An E46 or E90 with a manual gearbox and no turbos is pretty easy to live with from the 2000’s. A 7-series with a V12…that’s a whole ‘nother ballgame.

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