What is it?
The new starting point of the BMW 5-series GT range, which undercuts the rest of the range on both price and running costs.
Its CO2 emissions of 139g/km better the next cleanest 5GT by 34g/km and improve economy to the tune of 9.8mpg on the combined cycle.
However, it is still the most expensive route to the excellent 2.0-litre TwinPower turbo engine by quite a margin, even if equipment levels are comprehensive.
BMW says the 5GT has sold well to the chauffeur market, with the interior space and the standard-fit panoramic glass roof proving particularly popular. The split-opening tailgate also means luggage can be loaded without cold drafts entering the cabin.
It is safe to say that the consumer market has been decidedly cooler on the 5GT, preferring the looks of the 5-series Touring. But by lowering the lowest price point by almost £9000, its appeal has undeniably been widened.
What is it like?
While the 520d variants of the 5-series saloon and Touring impress with their flexibility and performance, the sharpness of the engine has been blunted by the extra 200kg or so that the GT carries over the Touring.
We criticised earlier models for a crashy ride, but the 520d GT feels slightly softer, apparently aided by a lighter engine up front. Our test car was fitted with the £985 Variable Damper Control, which in its softest setting provided a fairly cosseting ride.
But for all its luxurious, grand touring pretensions, there’s too much wind, road and suspension noise.
The steering is a fair distance from that of the 5-series Touring, and takes a fair degree of coaxing through bends at speed, such is the amount of body roll.
It’s far better as a car to be driven in. Interior space is excellent, in particular rear leg and headroom, and the glass roof adds to the genuine feeling of space. It’s easy to see why it would be a popular choice parked outside an airport or posh hotel.
Should I buy one?
The 520d is the pick of the GT range, primarily because it is far cheaper to buy and run. It may have a niche appeal for professional drivers, but the 5-series Gran Turismo is far from a ride or handling benchmark.
A 5-series Touring is a more comfortable, entertaining and practical package, and remains the better option.
BMW 520d M Sport Gran Turismo
Price £39,905; 0-62mph 8.9sec; Top speed 132mph; Economy 53.3mpg (combined); CO2 139g/km; Kerb weight 1950kg; Engine 4-cyl, 1995cc, turbodiesel; Power 184bhp at 4000rpm; Torque 280lb ft at 1750-2750rpm; Gearbox 8-spd automatic