The pitch for BMW’s 5 Series Gran Turismo is an interesting one. If you have a grown-up family, enjoy shopping, golf or entertaining friends or colleagues, plus you’re an active sort but you shun conventional SUVs, the 5 GT is for you
That’s all perfectly clear, then. Positioned between the company’s 5-Series Touring and X6, it’s neither a direct estate car replacement nor a luxury people carrier. It’s also not a Mercedes- Benz CLS rival. The Beemer is too tall to challenge the streamlined Merc. Call it the anti-SUV if you like – it’s BMW’s attempt to plug a gap in the premium large car sector that mixes the agility of the regular 5-Series with the luxury of the larger 7-Series and the added practicality of the X5 SUV. The result is a tall hatchback – or fastback, if you prefer. It includes a split tailgate that opens like a saloon’s boot or a hatchback’s, and the rear seats can be folded forward to improve the load space.
It isn’t a car that’s likely to see service at the local refuse centre, though. It’s far too posh for that. The exterior contains nods to 7-Series at the front and a combination of 5-Series and X6 at the rear. The interior feels like a 7-Series, as the fascia, centre console, instruments all look familiar. And with head and rear legroom to rival that of the company’s flagship saloon, the premium cabin ambience is no coincidence. The fact that you can specify a four-seat cabin (the Executive trim level) complete with a fixed centre rear console reinforces the grown-up feel of the 5 GT’s cabin. Factor in a wealth of standard kit – more than you’ll see on a conventional executive saloon and it’s clear that this BMW will be an informed purchase and not the result of some company car box-ticking exercise.
The 5 GT does, however, have solid company car credentials. For now, diesel power comes courtesy of BMW’s familiar 242bhp 3.0-litre six-cylinder unit. As you’d expect, Efficient Dynamics plays its part, with CO2 and mpg pleasingly low and high respectively. The engine is responsive, torquey and refined in equal measure, giving the big BMW plenty of pace and flexibility when on the move. Also, the standard 8-speed auto gearbox successfully delivers smooth yet responsive performance. Apart from the car’s spacious cabin, the major surprise is the way it drives. More eager than a 7- Series, though not quite as agile as a 5, the GT delivers a blend of the two cars’ best bits. And it really does ride well for something this big – self levelling rear suspension plus optional active ride and steering elements keep keen drivers happy and passengers comfortable.
An obscure option even by BMW standards, the 5 GT is neither one thing nor the other. It is, however, competent, practical and refined. Maybe its straddling of established sectors will be its USP. Only time will tell – and that’s something you’ll need plenty of to fully understand the 5 GT.
RIVALS: AUDI A5 SPORTBACK, BMW X6, MERCEDES-BENZ CLS-CLASS, MERCEDES-BENZ R-CLASS, RANGE ROVER SPORT
- Engine: 2993cc, 6-cylinder, turbodiesel
- Gearbox: 8-speed automatic
- Max power: 245bhp at 4,000rpm
- Max torque: 398lb ft at 1,750 to 3,000rpm
- Max towing weight: 2,100kg
- Max speed: 149mph
- 0-62mph: 6.9secs
- Combined consumption: 43.5mpg
- CO2 emissions (taxband): 173g/km (H)
- Boot space: 440/1,700litres
- Insurance group: 18