2010 BMW 5 Series GT — A Blend of Luxury, Practicality

February 13, 2010/Steve Tackett

MOTOR MATTERS DOWN THE ROAD BY DAVE VAN SICKLE

Those of us who were around in the 1950s might recall that the term Gran Turismo (or Grand Touring) was used to describe Italian-built cars that combined the performance, handling, and styling of a luxury sports car.
Well, today’s 2010 5 Series Gran Turismo, or GT, carries on this definition with, style, luxury, comfort and the performance of a BMW. In reality, the 5GT is a very clever variant of the 5 Series sedan that offers important features not found on the sedan.
It’s built on the new-generation BMW architecture used for the just-launched 7 Series, and will be used for the next-generation 5 Series and 6 Series models. With the same wheelbase and track as the new 7 Series, the GT is 3 inches shorter and over 3 inches taller.
It is the interior of the 5GT that makes it special and desirable. The front seat height is about 2 inches higher than that of a 5 Series sedan, but about 4 inches lower than that of an X5.
There’s no such thing as stepping into a 5GT. Instead, you slide in behind the wheel without sinking down or having to climb up. BMW calls it a “semi-command” driving position.
Optional rear seating features individual, multi-adjustable power seats. This configuration with its center console transforms the cabin into a sportier, strictly 4-seater cockpit for four.
Instrumentation is a high-resolution black panel display, where four classic circular instruments are most prominent. As the user enters the vehicle, the circular instruments’ rings become brighter. When the ignition is activated, the numerals and other displays and warnings illuminate.
The most unique feature of the 5GT is its cargo space — yes, the trunk. Below the rear window is a conventional sedan trunk lid that opens to reveal a fully enclosed trunk, sealed off from the passenger cabin by a movable partition.
To expand cargo capacity, a liftgate, including the trunk lid and rear window, can also be opened. There are two releases, one for the trunk lid alone, the other for the entire liftgate, including the trunk lid and partition.
Load-carrying capacity can vary from 15.5 cubic feet with everything in place, to 63.6 cu.-ft. with the seats and partition laid flat, and the parcel shelf stowed. The U.S. model of the 550i Gran Turismo comes standard with a new version of BMW’s dual-panel Panoramic moonroof.
The Gran Turismo debut model is the 550i, powered by BMW’s 4.4-liter, 400-hp twin turbocharged V-8 engine.

2010 BMW 5 Series GT

Compared to BMW’s normally aspirated V-8, displacement is reduced from 4.8 to 4.4 liters, and incorporates twin turbochargers and direct injection. The result is 0-60 mph in just 5.4 seconds. A smaller engine, a turbocharged inline-six, in a 535i will be available the spring.
An all-new 8-speed automatic adds the two additional ratios with no increase in size or weight. The wider spread of ratios allows the engine to run at lower speeds, mainly in the “tallest” gear, 8th. Yet even with this wider spread, the steps between adjacent gears are reduced for smoother shifts.
To save energy and reduce fuel consumption, BMW’s brake energy regeneration system controls the alternator so it charges only when the vehicle is decelerating or braking. Otherwise, it freewheels, drawing virtually no power from the engine.
Electronically controlled shock absorbers provide three standard settings, Normal, Sport and Sport+. Vehicle parameters affected include: throttle response, transmission shift characteristics, power-steering assist level and dynamic traction control mode (Sport+).
The 5GT is a genuinely clever example of true BMW luxury and performance, combined with remarkably versatile load-carrying features. Starting prices range from an estimated $57,000 for the 535i to $63,900 for the 550i. Adding some of the many pricey options can run the price up to well over $70,000. — Dave Van Sickle, Motor Matters

Copyright, Motor Matters, 2010

BMW GT Rear Opening