2014 BMW 335GT
A car initially built for the Chinese market
Date Posted: July 10, 2014
By Zack Spencer
The BMW 335GT is built off a long wheelbase version of the 3 Series sold in China. This hatchback version offers a lot more rear seat and cargo room.
There is one trend in the auto industry that seems to have no end in sight; it’s the adoption by many car buyers of luxury vehicles.
BMW is one of the most prominent luxury brands on the planet and all one has to do is think back just fifteen years ago to a time when BMW had only three models for sale. If you wanted a BMW, you picked the 3 Series, 5 Series or 7 Series. Small, medium or large, it was that simple. Well, fast forward to the current BMW lineup and you will notice all-new lines of SUVs from the X1 to the X3, X4, X5 and X6. Then there are the new 2,4,6, and soon to arrive, 8 Series cars, not to mention the all-electric i3. BMW has been busy meeting the demands of new shoppers, not only at home in Germany, but around the world, most importantly the fast growing sales region of China. BMW has a very strong presence in China and they have adapted many of their existing cars to suit Chinese tastes. Fore example, the BMW 3 Series is sold in a long wheelbase, or stretched version, which is not sold here. Or is it?
What many might not know is that the 335GT is based on that Chinese long wheelbase 3 Series but it has been modified to suit our needs, making yet another crossover type vehicle.
The 335GT takes the longer 3 Series platform but adds a higher roofline and hatchback, making this as practical as an SUV but with the functionality disguised by a sleek looking body.
I feel this car is perfect for a family that has a hard time deciding what they want, or are looking for a compromise between spouses. For example, the Mom in the family might like the added back seat room for carting around children, plus the back hatch offers the same space and utility of a traditional SUV. In addition, all GT models come with all wheel drive (AWD). Then there might be the Dad in the family that likes driving a sedan for optimal dynamics and road handling and doesn’t like the more upright design of an SUV. This GT might fill the bill for all members of the family.
Sold as a 328GT and a 335GT, this is a premium offering from BMW. The starting price is $48,990, which is almost $2800 over an AWD 328 sedan. The 335GT starts at $56,990, almost $3200 more expensive than an AWD 335 sedan and $8000 more than an X3 SUV. But there is more car here to use, especially the power rear lift gate and added legroom. In fact, this GT is just a tad shorter and narrower than the 5 Series sedan, so it is big.
Inside is classic BMW design with a large centre screen that controls the iDrive computer controller with first-rate materials and comfy front seats. It could be argued that BMW does not change its interior design from model to model but the upside is that getting out of one BMW and into this new one is vary familiar.
I had my wife and kids try the GT out to see if it is a possible candidate for our family sled. After a day or so my wife loved the power of the 335, the easy to use dash and the hatchback functionality. My kids couldn’t get over the amount of room in the back seat but noticed that the side windows are a bit high, or higher than the vehicle they are used to. Because of the higher roofline, the panoramic sunroof makes the cabin feel gigantic and vary open.
On the road, the 335GT has a lot going for it. First, the 300hp in-line 6-cylinder is still one of the best power plants on the road and it scoots away from a traffic light or blasts on the highway every chance it gets. With 8 gears to choose from the 6-cylinder is also efficient, getting 10.4L/100km in the city and just 6.7L on the highway. The less expensive and thriftier base 2.0L 4-cylinder puts out a respectable 241hp and is rated at 9.4L/100km in the city and 6.1L on the highway.
Handling is not as sharp as the regular 3 Series sedan but it is very close. The longer wheelbase provides a solid platform for cruising and in the corners there might be a bit more body roll and under steer but the average commuter will never know. This car really acts like a sporty sedan.
For those buyers that don’t like the traditional station wagon look or don’t want yet another SUV, this 335GT has a place. I suspect that the $8000 upsell from the very good X3 SUV, will limit the number they sell but those that do buy this car have something unique
Power: 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder with 241hp or 3.0L turbo 6-cylinder with 300hp
Economy: 1046L/6.7L/100km (city/highway)
Sticker price: $48,990-$56,990
Handling is not as sharp as the regular 3 Series sedan but it is very close