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Another price drop for BMW 5 Series GT range

Shake it up: BMW Australia hopes a new 520d version of the niche 5 Series GT will boost sluggish sales.

BMW Australia to bring in sub-$100,000 5 Series Gran Turismo 520d

16 May 2012

BMW Australia will lower the price of entry to its slow-selling 5 Series Gran Turismo range to under $100,000 when it introduces a new 520d variant in the third quarter of this year.

Confirmation of the new entry-level, diesel-powered variant comes four months after BMW Australia quietly slashed pricing on both members of the current 5 Series GT line-up by more than $40,000.

The new 520d GT is powered by the same TwinPower 2.0-litre direct-injected turbo-diesel engine used in other BMW Group models, including the 5 Series sedan and wagon and the 3 Series sedan.

As in those other models, the 520d GT has 135kW of power and 380Nm of torque, good for a 0-100km/h sprint time of 8.9 seconds and combined fuel consumption of just 5.3 litres per 100km.

The new variant will headline a range of fuel-saving mechanical updates across the entire 5 Series GT range that will be fitted as standard from July production, meaning a debut Down Under in about October.

Updates include idle-stop technology, a new electromechanical power steering system and an Eco mode that modifies throttle response and transmission mapping.

It is unclear whether this will affect local pricing on other variants in the range, which comprises of 520d and 530d diesels and 535i petrol.

The niche 5 Series Gran Turismo – essentially a raised, elongated and wagon-like version of the 5 Series sedan – arrived here in February 2010 with 530d, 535i and 550i variants.

The company sold 105 examples that year – fewer than half of 7 Series limousine sales over the same period – and just 55 units for all of 2011.

14 center imageLeft: BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo, BMW 520d engine.

In response to the low sales, BMW Australia discontinued the $192,900 550i flagship at the end of 2011, while cutting the price of the 535i to $108,900 (down from $152,200) and the 530d to $102,500 (was $144,200).

The price cuts were accompanied by the relegation of several standard features to the options list.

Sales to the end of April this year are up 92.9 per cent compared to the same period in 2011, with BMW dealers selling 27 units YTD.

BMW Australia product communications manager Scott Croaker told GoAuto that the new 520d would be priced from below $100,000, which would help boost awareness of the car.

“It’s still a car that really doesn’t have a core competitor,” he said.

“It’s more about the promotion, given the low volumes that we’ve had. There’s not a great deal of cars out there on the road, so there’s probably not a great deal of awareness.

“Were hoping the 520d variant is going to increase awareness of this product offering and create a higher level of demand for the car, and of course the price positioning is going to make it even more attractive as well.”

The changes to the 5 Series GT line-up were part of an almost range-wide global update announced by BMW earlier this week, notably including base 114i five-door, sporting M135i, xDrive all-wheel-drive and three-door versions of the 1 Series hatch.

As we have reported, Australia will be getting the flagship M Performance M135i by the end of the year, but Mr Croaker said the local market will miss out on the 114i and left-hand-drive-only xDrive variants.

Other range updates that will make it to Australia in the third quarter include new optional features for the 5 Series including a 10.25-inch multifunction display and high-end sound system, plus the addition of a standard automatic ‘touchless’ tailgate on both the sedan and wagon.

Also, the 3 Series sedan range will get a new optional M Performance package, the X3 will receive an optional leather steering wheel with shifter paddles and the Z4 will get an individualised folding hardtop in contrasting colours.

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