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.