New model fills gap between 5-series Touring and X5
13 February 2009

These are the first pictures of the BMW Concept 5-series Gran Turismo, released by BMW, which will go into production later this year as the BMW 5-series GT.

The BMW Concept 5-series Gran Turismo is designed to be a cross between an SUV and an estate car with a sleeker, more car-like profile than an MPV. The BMW 5-series GT is taller and longer than a 5-series, and will form a third line for the 5-series range.

See the full gallery of pics of the BMW Concept 5-series Gran Turismo

It is aimed, according to BMW, at the kind of buyer who does not want or need a vehicle the size of a BMW X5 or X6, but requires something more distinctive than a conventional estate.

BMW’s new design boss, Adrian van Hooydonk, has said that part of the reason for its creation was a BMW study revealing an ageing customer base who find the traditional seating position of the BMW 5-series saloon too sporting but at the same time consider the elevated seating in the X6 too imposing.

“We discovered a group of BMW buyers we were failing to reach out to at a sales level,” said van Hooydonk. “We want to build a car to suit their everyday needs.”

So the BMW 5-Series GT has the same leg and knee room as a BMW 7-series, combined with a slightly raised seating position. And unlike the X6, headroom is not compromised by the car’s roofline – it’s a match for an X5.

The upper half of the body, the glasshouse, is very similar to the X6 and the lower half is heavily influenced by the new 7-series – the new 5-series will share the BMW GT’s lower styling and front end.

All four doors are frameless (the first time BMW has ever done this), which helps to cut the amount of metal visible and increase the area of glass. This lightens the look of the car and stops it from becoming too top-heavy.

At the rear the BMW 5-Series GT has very high boot deck, with a two-part hatch in the style of the Skoda Superb. The bottom half of the hatch opens like a saloon’s boot, or the whole thing can be opened like a conventional hatchback.

Inside there’s a bespoke cabin developed specifically for the BMW 5-series GT. The concept is a four-seater, but the production car will have five seats, losing the centre console in the rear that divides the seats.

Those rear seats fold, and slide forward and backward by 100mm. There is also a folding bulkhead behind the rear seats so they can be folded and the boot kept separate; BMW claims this partition also improves sound insulation.

Despite these neat details and the car’s overall size, luggage capacity with the seats up and fully back is less than a 5-series saloon, at 420 litres. Slide them forward and you get 570 litres, flip them down and it grows to 1650 litres, a match for a 5-series Touring.

The production version will stay faithful to the concept’s external styling and interior design. Underneath it will use 7-series-derived double wishbone suspension, with optional air suspension on higher-spec models. The 5-series GT will also get the 7-series’ four-wheel steering system.

Petrol engines include the 268bhp naturally aspirated straight six, along with a twin-turbo six putting out 322bhp, 20bhp more than the current unit thanks to new turbos.

Diesels will include the 232bhp and 282bhp 3.0-litre straight sixes. And the GT will be available with four-wheel drive and with ZF’s new eight-speed automatic gearbox, which will eventually be fitted with stop-start technology.

This Concept 5-series GT will be unveiled at the Geneva motor show next month, with production cars following in May.

Dan Stevens

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