Whenever we talk about cars not offered in the United States, our collective blood begins to boil. However, the BMW 3 Series Gran Limousine makes sense.
Not all vehicles made, head to the United States. As much as we want to think of our market as the most important in the world, that’s not the case. Most of the time, vehicles that don’t arrive here do so because of our stricter regulations, but that’s not the case for this special 3 Series. What is this Gran Limousine, and why isn’t it offered in North America?
Did you know there was a long wheelbase version of the 3 Series?
The G20 model of this BMW sedan is the current generation offered. A longer version of this car arrived in China in 2019 and later came to India in 2021. This car is called the Gran Limousine, and it offers more comfort and spaciousness than a typical 3 Series sedan. Donned with the name 330Li, this car is 4.3 inches longer than the traditional 3 Series, which might not sound like much for a car with such a grand name.
Recent improvements to the styling of this large car
To offer a more modern appearance in this long sedan, BMW gives it some impressive front-end upgrades. These upgrades include slimmer LED headlights, a set of daytime running lights that act as turn signals, and some slight changes to the traditional kidney grille. For the Indian market, there is one option for this larger 3 Series. That option is the M Sport package which gives the front bumper a sportier design to make it more attractive. This new version of the BMW 3 Series Gran Limousine brings a more stylish appearance, but it still won’t make it to our shores.
Greater improvements were made to the interior of this BMW
The latest version of the Gran Limousine now features the iDrive 8 system. This is the most advanced infotainment and tech package offered by BMW. The dashboard features a large, curved panel with two screens behind it. These two screens are the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and the 14.9-inch infotainment screen.
While these are the most significant upgrades, those inside this car will see other improvements as well. The gear selector and climate control vents have been redesigned, while other changes include a new ambient lighting system, panoramic sunroof, and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system.
The powertrain indicates at least one reason this car isn’t sold in the United States
The BMW 3 Series Gran Limousine features two distinct powertrain options. The base model offers a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that makes 258 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The other option is a 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel powertrain offering 190 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. This car is only offered with an 8-speed automatic transmission and RWD to bring a luxurious driving style to the markets in China and India.
Why shouldn’t we be bothered that this car isn’t offered in the US?
Other than the diesel powertrain, it seems like the Gran Limousine would be a good choice in the United States, but there’s something else to think about. Most shoppers in our market that want a longer and more spacious BMW will simply move up the lineup to the 5 Series model. For some reason, these markets in Asia demand longer cars at the lower end of the market without the need to move up to a higher name to enjoy the desired spaciousness.
What does our BMW 3 Series offer?
The longer BMW 3 Series Gran Limousine seems too large for this car to continue to carry the moniker of Ultimate Driving Machine. Additionally, with only two powertrains offered, it’s a bit underpowered compared to the M3 or any higher version of the 3 Series above the base model. Once you step up to the M340i, you have a six-cylinder engine that pumps out 382 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. Of course, at the top level, the M3 Competition provides 503 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque for the drive. You won’t find these numbers in the Gran Limousine.
That wheelbase adds room but takes away performance
While you don’t expect a car called the Gran Limousine to be terribly sporty or fun to drive, the BMW 3 Series is all about driving pleasure. Additionally, 4.3 inches doesn’t truly make a car into a limousine, but it’s enough to reduce the overall performance of that vehicle significantly.
What do the M models add to the BMW 3 Series?
The M cars in this lineup bring a lot more than simply added horsepower to make this car one of the most fun and exciting cars on the road. These M models receive front and rear parking sensors, heated front seats, blind-spot monitoring, satellite radio, and a 464-watt/16-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound system.
If you want the fun of a real driving experience, the BMW M3 and M3 Competition give you some incredible features. These performance variants include carbon-ceramic brakes, heated/ventilated front seats, carbon-fiber bucket seats, and the Parking Assistance package. The Competition version can be had with the Driving Assistance Professional package. It’s easy to see how much more exciting the BMW 3 Series we have in the United States is than the Grand Limousine model sold in China and India.
Don’t be bothered by the larger 3 Series in other markets
Normally, we get a little hot under the collar when it comes to cars we think we should have in our market but can’t. When you consider the BMW 3 Series Gran Limousine, you shouldn’t be bothered at all. This car is longer than a traditional 3 Series, but it only has two low-power drivetrains, which truly limits this model. When you shop for the 3 Series here, you’ll find the M3 models offered, and if you truly want a longer car, you can always move up the market and enjoy driving the BMW 5 Series.
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