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First look: BMW reveals production 5 Series GT

Gran plan: BMW's 5 Series GT is set to arrive in Australia next year.

Gran Turismo joins BMW 5 Series as concept becomes reality in two months

26 May 2009

FIRST there was the SUV/coupe-combining X6, and now BMW has blurred the lines between limousine and luxury SUV with the 5 Series Gran Turismo.

Due to arrive in European showrooms from October – little more than six months after it appeared in concept form at the Geneva motor show in March – the 5 Series GT will arrive in Australia as BMW’s 19th model in early 2010.

While initially available with three of BMW’s latest turbocharged, direct-injection petrol and diesel engines from launch in Europe – each mated to BMW’s new ZF-developed eight-speed automatic transmission – the 5 Series GT will be most notable for its blend of limousine interior space and luxury in a low-riding, SUV-sized exterior package.

BMW says the all-new model, which has the ride height of a regular passenger sedan but a roofline that’s somewhere between the 5 Series and X5, is in response to customer demand for the visibility and feeling of security offered by the ‘command’ seating position of an SUV, in a vehicle that is as luxurious as a 7 Series limousine.

It is quick to point out that an overall height of 1559mm makes the 5 Series GT’s roof about 70mm higher than the 7 Series’ and almost 90mm higher than the 5 Series sedan’s, but 130mm lower than the X6’s and more than 200mm lower than the X5’s.

14 center imageAn overall length of 4998mm makes the 5 Series GT, which is based on a shortened version of the new 7 Series platform, just 74mm shorter than the (short-wheelbase) 7 Series sedan, but either side of 150mm longer than the X5, X6 and 5 Series sedan and wagon.

With luggage space extending from 440 litres to 1700 litres with the rear seats folded, it can also swallow more cargo overall than every BMW model except the X5 (1750 litres), although its actual ‘boot’ space is less than that of the 5 Series and 7 Series sedans (520 and 500 litres respectively).

Including its wing mirrors, the 5 Series GT is also about as wide as the 7 Series at 2132mm, making it more than 100mm wider than the 5 Series sedan and just 60mm narrower than the X5 and X6.

BMW says the result is the second greatest amount of legroom to be offered by any of its models and as much headroom as the X5, in a package that combines a couple-like silhouette with the luxury of a 7 Series with the functionality of an X5 or 5 Series Touring.

While the concept was a four-seater, the five-seater production version of the 5 Series GT will come standard with a three-position rear bench seat (in European ‘SE’ form) – unlike Porsche’s upcoming Panamera sedan, which is actually a five-door hatchback that is similar in concept to the 5 Series GT. BMW’s newest model will, however, come with the option of twin rear bucket seats (in European ‘Executive’ guise).

Breaking ground is a two-piece tailgate BMW says is the first in the premium segment, similar to that of Skoda’s soon-to-be-launched Superb. It can be opened like both a conventional sedan’s bootlid or like a hatchback’s tailgate.

Combined with rear seats that slide 100mm fore and aft and can be folded almost completely flat, a removable rear parcel tray transforms the 5 Series GT into one of the most sizeable hatchbacks ever seen, while frameless side windows and a plunging rear roofline are said to promote a coupe-like interior feel.

Another dinner part trick will be the 5 Series GT’s Black Panel system. Borrowed from the 7 Series, the “signature” BMW technology allows the displays of the centre console to double as an interior trim highlight, through which the electronic displays can be viewed when required.

The 535d GT, powered by a 180kW/540Nm 3.0-litre common-rail turbo-diesel six-cylinder, is expected to be the volume-selling 5 Series GT in Europe. It sprints to 100km/h in 6.9 seconds and returns combined average fuel consumption of 6.5L/100km and CO2 emissions of 173g/km, making it the slowest but most frugal of the trio.

Next up is the 535i GT, powered by BMW’s now-famous 225kW/400Nm twin-turbo 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder petrol engine, which debuted in the 3 Series and in this guise returns average fuel consumption of 8.9L/100km and CO2 emissions of 209g/km, and can propel the GT to 100km/h in 6.3 seconds (claimed). The 535i GT is has the lowest kerb weight of the range, at 1940kg.

Topping the 5 Series GT range is the 550i GT, powered by the 300kW/600Nm twin-turbo 4.4-litre petrol V8 that debuted in the X6 xDrive50i. It returns average EU fuel consumption of 11.2L/100km, CO2 emissions of 263g/km and a claimed 0-100km/h sprint time of 5.5 seconds. It is the heaviest of the 5GT range at 2060kg.

Both petrol variants are electronically speed-limited to 250km/h, while the 535d’s claimed top speed is 240km/h.

All three EU5 emissions-rated engines will come standard with the same eight-speed automatic transmission that debuted in BMW’s new V12-powered 760Li flagship.

BMW’s Drive Dynamic Control is also borrowed from the 7 Series, allowing drivers to choose between four positions of steering assistance, throttle response and gear change characteristics.

Aerodynamic drag coefficients range between 0.30Cd for the 530d to 0.32Cd for the 550i, while all models have a smallish 70-litre fuel capacity, a wide 12.2-metre turning circle and an average maximum towing capacity of 2100kg (750kg unbraked).

Both six-cylinder versions of the 5 Series GT run on 18-inch alloy wheels, but the 550i flagship features 19-inch alloys.

Australian engines and specifications are yet to be revealed, but UK versions of the 5GT will come standard with heated leather seats, four-zone climate-control, a panoramic sunroof and metallic paint. British market options will include a reversing camera, side-view camera, night vision, head-up display, active cruise control and active steering.

The 5 Series GT will be produced at BMW’s Dingolfing plant in Germany, where the 5 Series, 6 Series and new 7 Series are manufactured.

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