BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo: First Look

  • Competes with: Infiniti FX, Acura MDX, Audi A6 Avant
  • Looks like: A cross between an X5 and 5 Series Wagon
  • Drivetrain: 400-hp, 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 with eight-speed automatic transmission
  • Hits dealerships: Late 2009

BMW has been rapidly expanding its lineup as of late. No longer content with wagons and SUVs, the company adds its second hatchback in a year’s time, the 5 Series Gran Turismo. Following on the heels of the X6, which got a lukewarm reception, the 5 Series Gran Turismo promises a lot of power and a unique cargo area. We’re not sure if the combination will entice consumers.

Like the X6, the Gran Turismo comes with a twin-turbo V-8 engine good for 400 hp, however, this is the only option for the vehicle. Also unlike the X6, this is a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, which means the 550i Gran Turismo will be more of a performance machine. A 535 xi Gran Turismo will be offered in Europe, but there's no mention of it coming to the U.S. Sales of the 550i GT might be the measuring stick for BMW to consider bringing over the twin-turbo six-cylinder.

The Gran Turismo also features regenerative braking that helps charge an augmented battery. The battery doesn’t help drive the car, so this isn't a hybrid car; it does help power the electronics systems, which in a BMW is no small thing.

On the utility side, the Gran Turismo features an interesting dual hatch. It can open like a traditional trunk for small items, and the full hatch opens to load larger objects. It’s an interesting system that we like, but after recently testing the exceptional 5 Series wagon, we’re not sure if this is a huge upgrade for those looking for a utilitarian BMW.

The awkward profile also makes the X6 look even better. When pricing is announced, the two might not be far apart. That leaves us really wondering who would buy the 550i GT. Weigh in with your comments below.

By David Thomas | May 22, 2009 | Comments (28)

Comments 

GR

Those square-edged door panels in combination with the panels behind the rear seats look pretty harsh.

DonB

White seats, what a great idea!! Why not white carpet, too?

piqued

Europeans may like this...Americans will not...the rear end is so fugly & from the side it looks like 2 different vehicles melded 2gether...not pretty at all...JMHO

If people want a car, they'll buy a car.

If people want a crossover, they'll buy a crossover.

If people want a wagon, they'll buy a wagon.

Not a failed fusion of all 3.

Al G.

@Bill4202 you are right in what you said. To me this car, wadon cross over thing fusion doesn't work. Looks like a X6,1 Series and 5 series hybrid. No thanks!

Johnny

Why is BMW ruining their image with pieces of crap like X6 and now this? I don't get this car at all.

Aussie

Oh my gosh, please keep that small trunk hatch closed it hurts the eyes.

Nic

Ok so they lowered the X6.....so who cares.

Jane

How ugly. It sort of looks like an expensive chevy malibu from a few years ago. Fugly.

GR

With the smaller trunklid open, it looks like it took it in the rear WAY too many times.

Dan

I wonder what the target client is for this vehicle; I would think it would directly compete with the X6 crowd, though I don't know how BMW could squeeze enough profit from those dozens of people to make this model work.

Maybe it's time they bring Chris Bangle back. I know he just left the company a few months ago, but if this is what comes out of BMW after his departure, I doubt we have much more to anticipate from them in the future.

Stellar

This does look like an X6 thats been squished in the rear. The funny part is, since I live in the Upstate area of SC where the BMW plant is. I'll probably end up seeing these things about as much as the 3 Series. I have no idea if these will be built in the Greer plant but they are expanding it A LOT. I haven't seen very many X6's though.......

JF

As an owner of a number of BMW's over the years, I find myself gazing more and more at the lineup from Audi. BMW now has a over-stated sense of itself when it thinks that it can make this crap.

You also have to wonder why they brought this out, instead of unveiling the new 5 series. Although, you can definitely get a good clue about what it will look like. They must have a massive backlog of unsold 5 series sedans...

UK Diesel Driver

Who buys this monstrosity?

Not me...

But VW do a Golf (your Rabbit / GTI) based on the same principle as this car; the Golf Plus. Old folks are loving it as they can keep their car they always bought but get in and out a lot easier. (this car is based on the next 5-series platform)

As the buyers of the 5-series go greyer all the time it makes sense to offer them the slightly higher seat and easier in and out without having to resort to the no-no that is an SUV.

Do not underestimate the amount of baby boomers driving this size car in Europe...

Is BMW losing the plot? Maybe a little bit. I was never a great Bangle fan but the current 5 series is still growing on me (it it kind of good looking I think) and that is a good sign. Seems like since Bangle left it has not got any better though...

Oh, the 2-in-1 hatch that makes it a saloon or hatchback is copied from the current Skoda Octavia. Quite a clever trick I think!

Fast, sporty, huge boot, 5 doors, a bit funny looking and the off-centre choice for all upwardly mobile suburbanites

Zach

Absolutely hideous. It looks like a wagon whose rear half has been smashed down by a very heavy garage door, and its face looks like that of a comical, but very angry cartoon character. The rear wheel arches have almost no definition, reminiscent of most slab-sided economy cars. Why build this monstrosity?

...I guess we can only hope the sedan and wagon versions of the new 5er have prettier faces.

Tony

Bielive it or not... I like it.
Wouldn't buy anyway. Will never buy an expensive car.

Interesting...I sort of dig it. I have a 550 now and had two 540's before that. I love my 5's. I should have gotten my hands on a 550 wagon when they were still sending them here, because I love the extra space for dogs/boxes of wine/traveling stuff. So, I guess I'm the market. I love that it's not Xdrive. Plus the low center of gravity makes it a better car to sling around than an X5. Not sure about the double hole thing in the back (more moving parts sometimes = more squeaks and rattles. As it is, my current 550 door seals squeak more than my first 550 ever did. Regardless, although it's a polarizing design (apparently by reading all the comments) it could pull folks from the X5 and wagons. I can't imagine the X6 will last much longer. No one seems to be buying them. I live in LA and I've seen maybe 5 on the road since the launch, which I'm sure BMW is painfully aware of. Anyway, I'm all for choices. When do we get our 750 gran turismo? ;)

Hey, are you guys forgetting something...?

The Ultimate Driving Machine!

bwhahahahahahhahah

(And those photos of golf club bags going into it...who knew you could still do that with a BMW?!)

S Karbowski

I happen to miss my 1984 Chevy Citation II.... and now can replace it with the BMW version!

Jim

I am huge fan of the 5 series. Gave up my 01 wagon 18 months ago and still miss it. This is a great blend of sedan and wagon without going back to the wagon, which is the plan right now. Hopefully BMW will intro a six cylinder version that might be a little more gas friendly...and they should feel free to omit the i-drive at any time. Also like the fact that this is RWD instead of AWD.

I don't see what the big deal is with this car, but it's far from ugly. I think the target market is the gas mileage + the power. The inside is beautiful. Some of you joking about BMW being the "ultimate driving machine" should keep in mind that every single BMW, regardless of the model and including this model, smoke competing cars on the track. So be careful when you poke fun. :-)

--Rocky

I will oppose 95% of all comments and say that this is a very beautiful car inside out. It is much more practical than the X6, similar practicality as with the X5. Luxuriously appointed interior, powerful engine. I would actually buy a 550xi GT and take it in the mountains...try that and see how much fun you will have with this car.

Cathy


I love this car.

I have a child and two dogs but want to drive a sports car. This car fits my needs perfectly. I am looking for a car that has alot of cargo space yet transforms to a driving machine.

I drive a Volvo XC90 now and cant wait to get my hands on the BMW GT.

Don D

Just bought one. Before you criticize, go drive one. They are fantastic. A true road car.

James DeBruycker

I drove the car last week. It drives nicely. The version I drove had the optional 20" wheels, and they were noisy, the engine wasn't on cruise. The combination of low-profile and run-flats added a little harshness in the steering wheel. If you leave the transmission in auto on a curvy, hilly low-speed road, it hunts a bit, but many may not notice. It felt planted, though. This thing has decent headroom and a reasonably sized door. I have to fold myself into a pretzel to get into a 5-series sedan. I fit in this car. Don't want a taller, bigger, heavier SUV. Would really like the diesel, but it appears that engine is not coming to the USA (although about 60% of the sales elsewhere). x-drive is nice if you live in snow country and have a steep driveway! Those arrive in July. May end up with the 6-gas version. Have to drive it when the time comes along with the stock wheels to see if the road noise is tamed some. The tire noise isn't bad, but then I didn't drive it too long. The stock 18" tires should be quite a bit better than the 20" versions unless your only purpose is max performance. Have to temper that with sanity on a long cruise.

rick

The interior is the best there in the luxury department for the high-end MBZ, JAG, and LEX. I test drove the 550I GT a couple of times fell in love with it however, I need to wait for the smaller 535xi. I would prefer the diesel model by far if it was available. The car's rear takes getting use to however, it's modern, technology is superb, and you can say it's the IPOD of cars.. It will definitely appeal to the new generation.

STEVE

SYLE IS ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE, RATHER DRIVE A BMW ISETTA FROM THE 50"S, WOULD NEVER OWN A BMW MUCH LESS THIS ATTROSCITY. I OWN A 05 MAGNUM RT WITH SUPER STYLING AND IS ONE HECK OF WHAT A SPORTSWAGON SHOULD LOOK LIKE. HAS PLENTY OF ROOM AND COMFORT WITH HIGHWAY MILEAGE 26 TO 28 MPG, BUT WHEN I WANT IT TO MOVE IT WILL PIN YOU HARD IN THE SEAT UNTIL YOU LET OFF. ALSO WAS INCLUDED IN THE MOST LIKELY TO BE A COLLECTOR CAR OF THE FUTURE.I WILL TAKE AMERICAN ANYDAY OVER THE GERMAN OR ASIAN CARS ANYDAY.

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