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.