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The new BMW 3-Series GT will expand the line-up of the German car maker’s volume-selling range, and our spy photographers have snapped confirmation of the higher-riding variant in testing disguise.

The BMW 3-Series Gran Turismo is expected in 2013 and will follow the 5-Series Gran Touring that was released in early 2010.

The BMW 5-Series GT was actually based on the 7-Series but was given the 5-Series label because the company doesn’t want any model upstaging its flagship limo.

The 3-Series GT, however, will sit on the same platform as the regular 3-Series sedan that launched recently in Australia.

The 3-Series GT won’t completely mimic the bigger Gran Turismo model, however.

While the BMW 3-Series GT will include a raised ride height like the 5 GT, it’s expected to use a single-piece tailgate rather than the 5-Series version’s distinctive tailgate that can be opened either like a conventional boot or a full hatchback-style tailgate depending on which button is pressed.

The ‘semi command’ driving position – a kind of halfway house between sedan and SUV seat heights – of the 5-Series will also be abandoned for the 3-Series GT because the 3-Series is viewed by BMW and its buyers as a sportier model in the company’s range.

Expect the GT to feature the same range of petrol and diesel engines as the 3-Series sedan, including the four-cylinder turbo diesel 320d, four-cylinder turbo petrol 328i and six-cylinder turbo 335i. All will be mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard.

Buyers are likely to have the option of rear-wheel drive or ‘xDrive’ all-wheel drive.

The GT will bring the number of BMW 3-Series body styles to four, adding to the sedan, wagon (Touring) and forthcoming Coupe.

The coupe may become known as the 4-Series, however, as BMW looks to bring more even numbers into play in its model-naming strategy.




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