In late 2007 BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer revealed plans for several all-new models
including a design study called the Progressive Activity Sedan (PAS). Then, at March's Geneva Motor Show, BMW gave us the first tangible evidence of the new PAS in the form of the 5-series Gran Turismo (GT) concept vehicle
. Today the wraps have come off the production version of the car, which is set to go on sale in Europe this October and in the U.S. early next year.
Clear differences between the production version and the concept are the smaller wheels, regular beige leather interior, rounded exhaust tips and new side mirrors. Key features include the trademark kidney grille, large air intakes and dual round headlights slanted back to give an even more aggressive look. One unique element is the corona rings, which for the first time implement LED daytime running lights.
The body of the 5-series GT features a mix of elements from crossover, hatchback and wagon bodystyles, melding them together to create something that's relatively unique in the automotive world. While the styling may not be to everyone’s taste, BMW insists there's a market for a premium wagon with a coupe-like profile and plenty of innovative storage solutions. A take on the famous Hofmeister kink can be found at the rear of the window line, turning a very non-classical BMW profile into something more recognizable.
At 4.99m in length, only the flagship 7-series
is longer than it. One of the vehicle’s standout features will be its new two-tiered tailgate. The design enables owners to partially open the tailgate for small packages or stretch it all the way for bigger luggage.
In their standard position, the rear seats offer passengers the same kind of legroom as in the 7-series combined with the same headroom as in the X5 SUV. In this configuration, luggage capacity measures in at 440L. When required, the rear seats may be moved individually to the front by up to 100mm to allow luggage space to expand to 590L. Completely folding down the back seats liberates a generous 1,700L of storage. Up front is BMW’s latest iDrive system, matched to a 10.2in display screen. Other goodies include a USB port, 80GB hard disc, DVD player, and a heads-up-display.
At launch, the new 5-series GT will be offered with no less than three different powertrain options. These include the 530d GT, which comes with a 245hp (180kW) 3.0L six-cylinder turbodiesel with 398lb-ft (540Nm) of torque on tap and is capable of accelerating from 0-100km/h in 6.9 seconds while returning fuel economy of 36mpg.
Next in line is the 535i version, which gets BMW’s award-winning 306hp (225kW) straight-six twin-turbocharged petrol engine with 295lb-ft (400Nm) of torque. This model can accelerate from 0-100km/h in around 6.3 seconds and is rated at 26mpg in fuel economy.
Finally, there’s the 550i V8 performance model. Powered by a 407hp (300kW) and 442lb-ft (600Nm) twin-turbocharged 4.4L petrol V8, this particular model can sprint from 0-100km/h in just 5.5 seconds but only scores 21mpg in fuel economy.
All models come as standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission, as well as rear axle air suspension, while active steering remains an option. Also standard is BMW’s Dynamic Drive Control, which modules gearshift, throttle and steering inputs depending on whether the driver selects Normal, Sport or Sport+ modes.
Pricing in Germany (including taxes) start at €55,200 (approximately $77,250) for the 530d GT, €55,700 ($77,950) for the 535i model and €75,300 ($105,387) for the 550i range-topper.
2009 BMW 5-series GT concept
2010 BMW 5-series GT official images