BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo
When BMW first announced its newest “experiment”, the 5 Series GT (or how they like to call it Grand Turismo), I was among the many who were shocked by its ugliness. Still, considering the fact that I also said that about the X6, who managed to find a place in my heart after I drove it, I was keen to drive the 5 GT and see what’s what before finally reaching a verdict. The first aspect that pops out when you glance at the 5 GT is its size. It’s really huge. The 7 Series seems like a small sedan besides this behemoth, whose snout is almost as large enough as a small city car. As such, you really have a newfound respect for BMW’s creation, even before you actually get it. But let’s get on with this review and see if the 5 GT is actually something you might like.
Like I said above, when you first see it, you’re bound to get intimidated by its size. I know I’m repeating myself but it’s THAT big. Even Bobby’s Mercedes-Benz GLK seems like a compact hatchback besides the 5 GT. From the front, the car looks a lot like the CS Concept BMW showcased some time ago. It’s imposing, sporty, aggressive … in a word, superb. Not to mention the frameless doors, which are really a nice sporty and elegant touch. I was actually thinking that if the next 6 Series will borrow cues from this car, it’s going to be a big hit. But while the front end is mighty impressive, the rear of the BMW 5 GT is what sparked so much controversy. The first time you see it, it’s actually a bit scary. You can’t actually figure out what the designers intended to do or how much they drank when they sketched it out. One thing’s for sure, the result is a bit awkward. The huge taillights (you don’t really notice until night time) also don’t really help the whole rear ensemble. The biggest problem with the exterior is that, unlike other cars, after four days it still didn’t grow on me.
The niche of the car is also a bit ambiguous, with BMW saying it has the exterior dimensions of the 7 Series and the interior space of an X5. The company also explains that it is targeted at people who can afford either of the aforementioned vehicles, but, for some bizarre reason, don’t want to drive them, and opt for something a bit more inconspicuous. But no matter how much camouflage the Bavarians could have thrown onto the 5 GT, the car is bound to attract attention. Also, as a fun fact, it can even be mistaken for an X6, which attracted even more controversy. The main idea, though, is that the four door elongated coupe look (some might say even shooting break/brake) that sorta kinda worked on the X6 doesn’t really fit the 5 GT.
If you’re a bit confused about the exterior, on the inside everything’s crystal clear: It’s identical (albeit with slight differences) with the 7 Series. Check this and this photos…besides the different shape of the dash, do you see any other differences? (the central display of the GT is smaller because it didn’t have navigation). But, of course, this isn’t a bad thing. Who wouldn’t like a 7 Series for the price of a 5er? Adaptive drive, heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, full active steering, soft-close doors (meaning you don’t have to brake your arms closing the doors), a superb panoramic roof, parking sensors (no camera, sadly), LED angel-eyes headlamps and…wait for it…cup-holders!
Needless to say the interior is top notch, as expected from BMW. The seats are extremely comfortable and with like 10 different adjustment options, can be configured just the way you like them. The steering wheel is very ergonomic with the controls set around your thumbs, the iDrive is impressive and the audio system is just how it should be. I also liked the fact that there were two separate seats in the back (with a central console between them), even though others didn’t really see the point.
The boot opens in two modes, just the trunk or the whole hatchback, and features enough space for any type of hauling (like a wise man once said: “You can put three bodies in there”). A few nets or cords to secure small luggage would have been nice, as they’re bound to move from side to side if there isn’t anything else in the boot. The rear seats can be folded, fully automatic thanks to a set of controls, so you don’t have to push or pull anything. The increased space can actually be used for camping if sitting on the grass isn’t your cup of tea.
On the road
At one point, somebody asked me, really curious, if I think it’s underpowered. At first, when I heard I was going to drive the 530d variant, I wasn’t too pleased, thinking the small diesel can’t properly power the small Panzer. Well, it’s not like that, but it’s not mind blowing either. It’s right in between, leaning a bit towards the power side. The 3-liter turbo develops 245 HP which, even though the car is quite heavy, are enough for a casual drive and even a sportier one, from time to time. You can’t really compare it to the 330d I drove last year, which really impressed, but won’t disappoint. The fuel average was around 22.1 mpg (10.6 liters/100 km), over a distance of 745 miles (1,200 km), more than acceptable for such a car. The 0 to 62 mph time is 6.9 seconds while the top speed is 149 mph (at around 105-110 mph it already starts to loose its steam).
An interesting thing about this BMW 5 GT is the Adaptive Drive technology. You have four modes (Comfort, Normal, Sport and Sport+) which you can select (a bit too easily, some might say), which dictate the response of the steering, suspension, throttle and the gearbox ratios. In Comfort you’ll feel just like in a boat: you don’t care what happens beneath you, you can drive over tram lines at any speed and you won’t even feel the slight sway that can get you to fall asleep. It’s a pretty Zen experience, unless you take on fast turns, when the roll of the Comfort-enabled car doesn’t make you feel too safe. For those situations, you have the Sport and Sport+ modes, which unleash the fun. Of course, if you’re using the Sport+, which turns off almost all of the driver aids and you make a mistake, you’re in for some trouble. But if you’re skilled enough though, you can even force the 5 GT behemoth in a few power slides or donuts (not that we’ve tried, honest!).
As I’ve said, the car handles pretty good, but the only big drawback comes from its large booty, which makes it a pain in the arse to park. The sensors do help you a bit, but a camera would’ve been much nicer.
Even though we can’t really say for sure where the car sits (it’s a Grand Tourer, a sports limousine, an SAV), if you rest your mind and just enjoy the car, the BMW 5 Series GT won’t disappoint. Depending on you mood, the car can become a rolling yacht or a sporty “little” model. The interior is impeccable, both as space and functionality and the faces of fellow drivers when they see the car are actually priceless.
In terms of price, the 530d GT starts at €47,350, no taxes (€56,347 with VAT). The car we had, which boasted almost everything except satellite navigation, cost €63,882 without taxes and around €76,000 with VAT. A lot? Too little? For a car which wears the 5 Series name tag it may seem a lot, but considering you get a cross between a 7 Series and an X5, it’s worth it. Plus, considering the fact that other German rivals are working on their own variants on this design, like the Audi A7 or the Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Break, it seems BMW is onto something big again, not that we’re surprised.
- the aggressive front end
- the flawless interior
- the great panoramic roof
- the comfy handling
- the fuel average
We didn’t like:
- the funky back
- no rear camera aka a pain to park.
BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo specifications:
Weight: 2,035 kg (4,486 pounds)
Engine: 3-liter six-cylinders, max power output of 180 kW (245 HP) and 540 Nm max torque.
Performance: 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.9 seconds and top speed of 240 km/h (150 mph)
Fuel consumption (city/highway/combined, official figures): 29/42/36.1 (US MPG) or 8,1/5,6/6,5 (liters per 100 km).
As always, big thanks to Alex Seremet from BMW Romania!
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