The 2014 BMW 3-Series GT is the highest scoring Aspirational Luxury Car in AutoPacific’s 2014 Ideal Vehicle Award research. The planners at BMW have decided that a sub-niche strategy is good and have developed the “Gran Turismo” version of their venerable 3-Series. The designers and engineers have developed a product that provides owners with 3-Series goodness combined with wagon utility. The 3-Series GT is at the top against some very impressive aspirational luxury cars such as the Audi A5, Audi A4, Volvo XC70, BMW 1-Series, and the Hyundai Genesis. The 2014 3-Series GT also won AutoPacific’s 2014 Vehicle Satisfaction Award. Winning both awards in one confirms that the 3-Series Gran Turismo is a very special car. George Peterson, President of AutoPacific, concludes: “BMW is sub-niching the market with different bodystyles to appeal to a narrower and narrower group of buyers. With the 3-Series Gran Turismo they have provided a very satisfying product that hits the target buyers’ requirements precisely.”
Of the fifteen categories in the Ideal Vehicle survey, the 2014 BMW 3-Series GT leads or ties in four satisfaction categories and was within three percentage points of another three.
The top five highest ratings by 3-Series GT owners are: same exterior size, same passenger room, same tires, same wheels, and the same cargo space. These results confirm that the Gran Turismo buyers, specifically, appreciate the spaciousness and utility the GT bodystyle gives them.
Although the 3-Series GT is at the top there are several things owners would change. Owners would like different interior lighting, have better visibility, a more snug driver seat, more or better interior storage compartments and a different information and technology center.
There is a story to be told with the information and entertainment system. BMW was one of the first to implement the Human Machine Interface (HMI) – or iDrive system. They have continually struggled with their HMI system. While iDrive has improved substantially over the years, for this year seventeen percent of 3-Series GT owners want a more advanced system while twenty-two percent want a simpler one. BMW still has a way to go with their HMI system.