Vehicle Overview from Edmunds.com
Edmunds.com 2010 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo Overview
We're not quite sure what to make of the 2010 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo. Now, that's not to say it's a bad car -- far from it. No, our conundrum lies in two basic questions: "What is it?" and "Who is it for?" One might call this new 5 Series Gran Turismo a wagon, but you could call it a luxury hatchback, too. And as for the intended audience, is the 5 GT intended for sedan shoppers looking for added cargo space, or is it meant for crossover SUV drivers desiring something smaller? These are questions not easily answered. One doesn't learn much just by looking at the car's specs. The Gran Turismo rides about 2 inches taller than a 5 Series sedan but almost 4 inches lower than an X5 crossover SUV. Even the car's name is misleading; the 5 Series GT actually uses many of the same underpinnings as the 7 Series and has just as roomy of a cabin. Yet the GT's ride quality isn't as luxurious as that of the 7 Series, and what initially feels like sporting intentions when driving quickly fades due to the car's large size and added heft. The main draw for the GT is undoubtedly its fastback-like rear hatch. The two-section rear hatchback gives owners the choice of opening the back like a conventional sedan trunk or like a larger, wagonlike liftgate. This sort of trunk-or-hatchback utility is unique in the American automotive marketplace. Split-folding rear seats allow for a crossover-like 60 cubic feet of maximum cargo space, and you even get a few extra cubic feet of trunk space out of the deal (as compared to the 5 Series). However, the raked rear hatch limits utility when compared to true wagons or crossovers that can haul bulkier items. Initially, the 5 Series Gran Turismo will only be offered in a 550i GT guise that's powered by a twin-turbo V8 (the same one found in the 7 Series) paired to a new eight-speed automatic transmission. Later in 2010, BMW will expand the range by releasing six-cylinder and all-wheel-drive variants. With all of the design variations inherent in the 5 Series Gran Turismo, it's pretty obvious that this car exists in a specialized automotive niche without any direct competitors. In the end, you'll have to ask yourself one simple question: "Do I have a need for a luxury hatch/wagon like the 2010 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo?" If the answer is "Yes!" BMW has the car for you. If your reply is "No," conventional wagons with better handling (Audi A6 Avant, BMW 5 Series wagon, Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon) or crossover SUVs with more utility (Acura MDX, BMW X5) will likely be better choices.
Body Styles, Trim Levels and Options:
The 2010 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo is a luxury sedan with a large, fastback-style rear hatch that can be opened like a traditional trunk or as a large tailgate. It can seat up to five passengers and is offered in a single, well-appointed trim level. Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, heated exterior mirrors, a panoramic sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, wood interior trim, leather upholstery, full power accessories, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, auto-dimming mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, 10-way power front seats and sliding and reclining rear seats. Also standard are BMW's iDrive interface, a hard-drive-based navigation system, Bluetooth and a 12-speaker sound system with a CD player, auxiliary audio jack, digital music storage and HD radio. Most Gran Turismo options are grouped into packages. The Sport package adds 19- or 20-inch alloy wheels with performance tires, an adaptive suspension, multicontour seats and a sport steering wheel. The Driver Assistance package adds a blind-spot monitoring system, lane departure warning and automatic high beams. The Premium Sound package upgrades the stereo and adds a USB port and iPod integration, and the Camera package adds rear- and sideview cameras. The Convenience package adds a power tailgate, soft-close doors and keyless ignition/entry. There also plenty of options relating to seating upgrades. The Cold Weather package keeps passengers cozy with heated front and rear seats and a heated steering wheel. The Active Ventilation Seat package adds heated and ventilated multicontour seats, while the Luxury Rear Seating package includes heated and ventilated rear seats, four-zone climate control and rear and side window sunshades. In addition, this package gives buyers the choice of replacing the rear middle seat with a permanent center console, making the GT a four-seater. Stand-alone options include many of the above-listed items, plus four-wheel active steering, a head-up display, advanced Bluetooth phone connectivity, a ski bag, satellite radio, rear-seat DVD entertainment and night vision with pedestrian detection.
Powertrains and Performance:
The 2010 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo comes standard with a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8. This engine produces a healthy 400 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control directs power to the rear wheels. BMW estimates 0-60-mph acceleration in the mid-5-second range, and the EPA estimates fuel economy at 15/21 mpg city/highway and 17 mpg in combined driving. In an effort to increase efficiency, the 550i GT incorporates a regenerative braking system that charges the battery when the vehicle is coasting or braking. Unlike a hybrid, though, this system does not provide added power to propel the car. Instead, it augments conventional battery charging for powering the GT's many electronic accessories.
Standard safety equipment for the 2010 BMW 5 Series GT includes antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. The brakes also feature brake fade compensation, hill-hold and brake drying functions. Optional blind-spot detection, head-up display, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, rear- and sideview cameras and night vision with pedestrian detection are also available.
Interior Design and Special Features:
The 2010 BMW 5 Series GT's cabin is on par with the brand's luxurious 7 Series flagship. Almost every surface is adorned with supple leather, rich wood trim or well-textured plastics. BMW's latest-generation and greatly improved iDrive interface is standard, simplifying control of the navigation and entertainment functions. The front seats easily accommodate larger folk and offer seemingly endless seat adjustments. The rear seats are just as comfortable and can be optioned with many of the same amenities as the fronts. As expected, the rear seat middle position is less comfortable than the outboard positions, but it comes in handy when needed. The GT's distinctive rear hatch is the real star of this show, and its functionality proves it is more than a styling flourish. The dual-access tailgate consists of two sections that allow for a traditional trunklike opening or a full hatch. The smaller trunk section holds up to 15 cubic feet and allows for speedier loading. A removable rear package tray creates a substantial partition between the trunk and cabin and stores neatly under the trunk floor when not in use. With the rear seats folded and package tray stowed, the GT can handle much bulkier loads -- up to 60 cubic feet.
On the road, the 2010 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo rides a bit more stiffly than the big 7 Series on which it is based. Ruts and bumps are transmitted more readily into the cabin, but this also translates to a more connected feeling to the road. Power from the turbo V8 is strong and the eight-speed automatic seems well-matched to this engine, providing quick, almost seamless shifts when driven conservatively. The steering is well-weighted and lightens up considerably at lower speeds. When combined with the optional four-wheel active steering, the GT feels much more maneuverable in parking lots, thanks to a smaller turning circle. Around town, the 5 Series GT remains calm and composed, insulating passengers from the harshness of the world much like any 5 Series would, with wind and road noise going largely unnoticed. When taken on winding mountain passes, the GT initially feels confident and nimble, but if driven closer to the limit, the taller ride height and added weight make themselves known. Body roll is more pronounced compared to that of the 5 or 7 Series, but the advanced suspension components and electronic aides should compensate enough to please all but the most demanding of drivers.