The BMW 520d GT represents the new entry point in the Gran Turimso range, slashing £9000 from the list price

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's 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.

Stuart Milne

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

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evqpw 15 July 2013

Mercedes-Benz E220 BMW 520d and Audi A6

Mercedes-Benz E220 BMW 520d and Audi A6, which the best car between them! Who can give me a suggestion ""

petejev 27 March 2013

My 520 GT is the Ultimate Tow Car

I changed my F10 520d to a 520 GT in january, I can honestly say it is the best car I have ever had in 50 years of motoring. As we use our car as a tow car occasionally to go on long continental caravan holidays we found the F10 marginal with regard to towing capacity, the extra 200kg of the GT makes all the difference and coupled with self levelling rear suspension, electric tow bar and the fantastic 8 speed auto gearbox , supreme comfort and economy what more do you want. I dont understand why it is considered ugly, it is much better looking than any X series and we find it very quiet, much less wind and road noise than the F10. The powered tailgate is so versatile and the stuff you can get in the back is as good as any 4x4. We are very very pleased with our car and intend to keep it for a long time. Just get a bit upset when people slag this car without realising how good it is.

Dij017 6 February 2013

I love my GT

I'm 6'7" tall, we'll obverse 20 stone and this car is just perfect, loads of space, the most luxurious car I have ever had (I do have the comfort seats) and I love driving it, my last car was a 5 series tourer, I thought that was fab but this is even better, it just needs a rear windscreen wiper