£38,145 - £60,475 Price range
30 - 51 MPG
So just what is the BMW 5-Series GT? A hatchback? An SUV? A luxury car? Or a little of everything? Whatever it is, the reviews it get aren’t exactly glowing.
The GT received several updates in 2013, which as well as offering subtle styling tweaks, addressed the tiny boot of the old model. Other shortcomings – such as the poor handling and refinement – remain.
But that said, it could be just the ticket for your automotive needs. Read on to see if that’s the case!
The interior is probably the main focus of the 5 GT. Thanks to the high roof line, interior space is excellent and the critics say it’s screwed together exactly the way you’d expect from BMW. There are four large, comfortable seats and luggage space accessed by a split boot/tailgate, similar to the Skoda Superb. Quality levels are high.
All of that considered though, the cabin is starting to look a little dated. The GT is based on the previous generation 5 Series, which means that despite some mid-life updates, the dashboard architecture looks a little old-hat. You’d perhaps expect the boot to be larger too. At 500 litres, it isn’t measly, but for a car that almost as long as a 7 Series, the boot isn’t much more generous than a 3 Series saloon.
Here’s the first big surprise of the 5-Series GT – it’s not great to drive.
You won’t find quick responses, nor will you find steering feel. At two tonnes it’s not particularly agile either. Is the ride super smooth then? Not according to several testers, especially in town.
Critics strongly recommend that you avoid the larger wheel options, too, which only make the ride worse. One tester described the ride of a GT equipped with 20-inch alloys as “dismal”. They also cost comfortably over £2,000.
A further big minus mark against the GT’s name is that testers note there is “too much wind noise at speed”. Road noise levels are poor, too. For a car that is designed primarily with long distance cruising in mind, it simply isn’t good enough.
Things get back to relative normality here. The 5 GT has the same excellent range of engines as you’ll find in other BMWs, meaning ultra-high mpg diesels with plenty of power, and a range of powerful petrols too. All of the units are smooth and refined, even if performance is blunted by the considerable weight they have to lug around.
Even the entry level 520d produces 185hp, which means that it’ll hit 60mph in a perfectly acceptable 8.9 seconds. Thanks to a claimed fuel economy of 53.3mpg, running costs are more than reasonable, too, particularly for a car of this size.
Offering a little extra performance is the six-cylinder diesel in the 530d. Fuel economy doesn’t take a significant drop, given that it achieves 49mpg, but it manages to knock over 2.5 seconds off the 520d’s 0-60 time. It is a smoother drive, but it costs a significant £8,100 more, which seems rather steep.
The 535d offers a little more of what you’ll get in the 530d. Fuel economy takes a minor hit in exchange for a slight improvement in performance. Given the £2,900 price hike over the 530d, it probably isn’t worth it.
The 535i seems hard to justify in the company of such capable diesels. It isn’t any quicker than the 530d, yet it costs £500 more, and only manages 34mpg. It is a wonderfully silky unit, though, so if you’re willing to put up with the lower mpg, then it may still be worth it.
At the top end of the GT range, there is a 4.4-litre turbocharged petrol, producing 448hp. In this guise the 5 Series Gran Turismo will bludgeon its way to 60mph in five seconds flat. Predictably, fuel economy suffers as a result; it’ll manage barely 30mpg.
All of the engines are paired to BMW’s eight-speed automatic gearbox. In whichever application it finds itself, it is consistently described as “brilliant” and “smooth shifting”.
With six cylinders and plenty of sound suppression you’ll barely hear it at idle and its smooth throughout the rev range. Testers praise the 8-speed ZF automatic gearbox too, which is incredibly smooth and also very long-legged. Even at 124mph - where legal - it’s still only pulling 2,200rpm, making for relaxed autobahn-storming.
The 8-speed automatic transmission is as smooth and fast as ever, but the 31.7 mpg on offer might not be enough to endear it to many, and testers suspect that most will go for the diesel-engined 530d instead for the extra economy on offer.
The experts describe it as “deceptively quick” thanks to the high levels of refinement, though the expected V8 burble is conspicuous by its absence. The engine remains smooth all the way to the red line and gearshifts are seamless. That said, one tester noted an occasional jerkiness at low speeds around town. If there’s one real downside to the V8 though, it’s economy. It manages 25.2mpg on the combined cycle, but testers struggled to hit the 20s.
The 5 Series GT hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP, but given the scores that the regular 5 Series achieves, this will be a very safe car.
In addition to the six airbags (including front and rear curtain ‘bags) you’ll find the usual traction, stability and braking control systems to help maintain safe handling under all conditions.
Since the 5-Series GT has no direct rivals it’s hard to judge its value. It’s more practical than a 5-Series saloon and less so than an X5, but then it splits the two on price virtually down the middle.
Equipment levels are high, but due to the weird – and some would argue undesirable – niche in which the GT sits, depreciation is much steeper than in a regular 5 Series. There is an unusually big gap in price between the 520d and the next model up, the 530d, which means that most of the range seems unnecessarily expensive.
So what is the 5-Series GT again? A large, comfortable cruiser with a great range of engines, it seems. As to who BMW built it for, we’re less sure. Although it has some qualities, the fact that a car which is designed first and foremost to be a capable cruiser is lacking in refinement, it becomes a much harder car to justify recommending.
In all honesty, you should probably just buy a regular 5 Series instead. The Gran Turismo is only worth considering if you regularly need to transport four or five very tall people but still need a premium badge on the bonnet. Even if that’s the case, you’ll need to make absolutely sure you can live with the way that it looks…