From £44,535
Chassis and trim revisions make sense of BMW’s mixed-up 5-series GT luxury crossover

Our Verdict

BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo
Despite its name, the 5 Series GT shares 7 Series underpinnings

The 5 Series Gran Turismo is an interesting concept, but the execution is flawed

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What is it?

The latest version of a car that represents a bit of a commercial disaster for BMW: the 5-series Gran Turismo. This luxury crossover is currently failing to meet sales targets all over the world. In the North American market, pitched as a replacement for the 5-series Touring, it has caused customers to walk away from the BMW brand in droves. And in the UK, the car remains a rarer find than a satisfied public servant.

In an attempt to stir up interest, BMW GB has turned to that reliable old chestnut – an M Sport specification upgrade – for this high-rise four-seater heavyweight. The new edition comes with an aerodynamic bodykit, M Sport suspension settings, some M Sport equipment and trim additions, and – thanks to the 5 GT’s raised ride height – the smallest-looking 19in alloy wheels we’ve come across in quite some time.

What’s it like?

The main conceit of the 5 GT’s positioning remains a broadly convincing one, which falls down ever-so-slightly in the detail. This is a very refined and luxurious car for up to four passengers, with reclining rear chairs that provide as much legroom as a full-sized limousine, and plenty of headroom too. Its raised ride height makes getting in and out that bit easier than it might be, although it does little for visibility.

Meanwhile, that hatchback rear-end provides easy access to the boot, but only when fully opened; the halfway-house chute opening is useful only when loading small items in confined parking spaces. Perhaps most disappointing of all, once the hatchback is open, you’ll find the boot is only averagely accommodating; as big as a middle-sized saloon’s, but no bigger.

Still, the M Sport chassis is well worth the premium. It brings better damping and roll control into the 5 GT’s handling without compromising its quiet, pliant ride.

Our 530d test car had higher grip levels and crisper dynamic responses than the standard car. With ‘Sport’ mode selected on the Drive Performance Control, it was also a more composed backroad machine; still not particularly enticing or engaging to drive, but a more competent car allthesame, with a powerful, efficient and refined six cylinder diesel powertrain.

At this point we’d usually add a caveat about BMW’s optional Adaptive Drive package, without which the 5 GT makes do with passive dampers and conventional anti-roll bars – and in our experience is a much less agreeable car dynamically. But BMW is currently giving away a free specification upgrade with the 5 GT that includes a head-up display, nappa leather, adaptive xenon headlights, soft close doors and Adaptive Drive.

And as long as they continue to do that, this will be a hard car to find significant fault with dynamically. In ‘Comfort’ mode, there’s a gentle, wafting gait to the GT’s primary ride that would do credit to a more traditional stretched limo, as well as excellent low-speed bump absorption. Should you up the pace and get tired of the car’s slightly wallowy body control, stouter damping is just a flick of a toggle switch away. While it’s true that no single mode quite delivers the ideal ‘automatic’ adaptive chassis set-up of, say, a Jaguar XJ or a Range Rover Sport, you can normally find an acceptable setting for most situations with a little experimentation.

Should I buy one?

Loaded with all of that free kit, and fairly effectively combining luxurious rear cabin space and hatchback-derived practicality, the 5-series Gran Turismo has a great deal going for it. Nearly three years after launch, you could say the car has reached maturity. For those who like the idea of a 5-series saloon with a bit extra – but who, for some reason, don’t like the idea of a 5-series Touring – we’d say now’s the time to buy.

But the truth is, that’s probably not much of a target audience. While it may now deserve better, this car is likely to continue to be left on the shelf – by 5-series buyers who just don’t see it as a desirable step up on the model ladder, and by 7-series buyers who aren’t prepared to accept what they see as a ‘trade down’.

BMW 530d GT M-Sport

Price: £48,880; Top speed: 149mph; 0-62mph: 6.9sec; Economy: 43.5mpg; Co2: 173g/km; Kerbweight: 2035kg; Engine type, cc: 6 cyls in line, 2993cc, turbodiesel; Power: 242bhp at 4000rpm; Torque: 398lb ft at 1750-3000rpm; Gearbox: 8-spd automatic

Join the debate

Comments
36

4 January 2012

[quote Autocar]This luxury crossover is currently failing to meet sales targets all over the world. [/quote]

Because it was and still is an ill conceived donkey.

Instead of being a more traditional sports back based on the saloon chassis, the fact that it is based on the X5 makes it too high, too bulky and generally ungainly. Couple that with the fact it is only a four seater (something which even Audi have now put right with the A5 Sportback), it's target audience is just too narrow.

Come on BMW, scrap this car, create a new sleeker one based on the standard 5 chassis with 5 seats and you could have a car that people would actually want because no matter how many mods you do this, suspension or not, it's still ain't going to sell!

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

4 January 2012

[quote Autocar]Our 530d test car had higher grip levels and crisper dynamic responses than the standard car. [/quote]

What's the point if it's....

[quote Autocar]still not particularly enticing or engaging to drive. [/quote]

??

I really wish BMW would front-up and ditch this whole concept, not just the 5GT but the promised future GT versions of other model ranges. It's clear after 3 years that they don't sell well and they'd earn more respect by letting it die rather than trying to brow beat us into buying into their flawed plan.


4 January 2012

[quote TegTypeR]

[quote Autocar]This luxury crossover is currently failing to meet sales targets all over the world. [/quote]

Because it was and still is an ill conceived donkey.

Instead of being a more traditional sports back based on the saloon chassis, the fact that it is based on the X5 makes it too high, too bulky and generally ungainly. Couple that with the fact it is only a four seater (something which even Audi have now put right with the A5 Sportback), it's target audience is just too narrow.

Come on BMW, scrap this car, create a new sleeker one based on the standard 5 chassis with 5 seats and you could have a car that people would actually want because no matter how many mods you do this, suspension or not, it's still ain't going to sell!

[/quote]

Fully agree. A very ill-concieved idea, the GT.

There is nothing this car can do that the much lighter/more nimble 5-series Touring can't do at least as well, and in many cases better.

4 January 2012

[quote bomb]

[quote Autocar]Our 530d test car had higher grip levels and crisper dynamic responses than the standard car. [/quote]

What's the point if it's....

[quote Autocar]still not particularly enticing or engaging to drive. [/quote]

??

[/quote]

Yes I noted that remark too, but further down the tester states:

[quote Autocar]And as long as they continue to do that, this will be a hard car to find significant fault with dynamically...[/quote]

Which I suppose was/is BMW's dynamic target with this car, as opposed to an angaging drive. Regardless, they should replace the GT with a proper and lower/lighter hatch or scrap it altogether.

4 January 2012

But why does this fail when the X6 succeeds ?

Not that I like either car and think a 5 series touring is all the car I could ever want .

Arabs love X6s big brash loud and in yer face . More of them than 7 series here .

4 January 2012

[quote Autocar]And in the UK, the car remains a rarer find than a satisfied public servant.[/quote]

There are at least three of these things in our village alone and can think of another two I've seen outside homes a few miles away. And saw quite a few in Edinburgh the other week. IMO the rear end looks like a tank - pretty awful, but the rest of the car looks OK.

Don't know what the actual sales figures are like but would find it hard to believe it's as bad as is being made out.

4 January 2012

[quote Old Toad]

But why does this fail when the X6 succeeds ?

Not that I like either car and think a 5 series touring is all the car I could ever want .

Arabs love X6s big brash loud and in yer face . More of them than 7 series here .

[/quote]

I realise speaking up for the X6 is equivalent to defending eating babies around here, but another reason why the X6 succeeds is that it is such a hoot to drive, which is often ignored by detratcors

I drove the 4litre twin turbo version (yes in an Arab country, Dubai to be precise) for a couple of days and it was superb fun to chuck around. I think it is the only model so far to have been fitted has BMW's Dynamic Performance Control system, which works with the car's 4WD system and it gives the car amazing handling and grip for an SUV and gives many a sportscar run for their money. The GT is not equipped with the DPC.

The X6 is not a car I'd buy myself (couldn't afford it, don't like SUVs in general), but if one wanted a higher seating car, beautifully engineered with excellent build, drivetrain, refinement, room for 4 (despite curved roof), really fine dynamics and very quick to boot, then I can see the attraction.

4 January 2012

OK, I have said this before and I shall say it again. The 5GT is the ugliest BMW ever made. The designers must have developed in during OKTOBERFEST.

4 January 2012

Not many cars get uglier with age.

4 January 2012

[quote Fidji]

Not many cars get uglier with age.

[/quote]

Chrysler PT Cruiser...........

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

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