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The Top Gear car review:BMW 5 Series GT
For:Typically BMW-like to drive, well made, well-performing engines
Against:Just look at it...
520d M Sport 5dr Step Auto [Professional Media]
Huge, good to drive, frugal, fast enough: could this 520d be the most complete car on sale today? Clue: yes
Impressively digital, but likeable in an analogue sort of way. Looking forward to the lower-specced versions.
Nice idea - tall, roomy luxury hatch - that’s been over-complicated. But the Gran Turismo is a pleasure to ride and drive in.
What we say:
Good to drive and more versatile than a standard 5-Series, but the 5GT remains one of BMW's biggest mistakes. Buy a 5-Series Touring instead
What is it?
The 5-Series GT is one of BMW’s biggest mistakes. The large hatchback-style body is meant to hit the middle ground between the 5-Series saloon and Touring, but doesn’t succeed. Mainly because it looks utterly ungainly. BMW has facelifted it and extended the haunched rear, but it’s a bit like putting make-up on a pig. This is a very ugly car indeed, particularly from the rear (although the M-Sport trim does help lift the front end, a little).
Remarkably good for a vehicle that’s above average in height. Usual BMW balance and huge grip. Feels more agile than a two-tonner ought to, but very stable on motorways too. Opt for the Adaptive Drive which helps handling as well as ride, but avoid the active steering - it’s better than it used to be but still noticeably artificial. Strong brakes help, also.
Spec the Adaptive Drive chassis for a smooth ride, and the Executive Pack option for a pair of electrically adjustable rear seats, and you have a four-seater with four really comfy roomy chairs. It’s quiet and refined too.
BMW’s usual excellence in the engine and transmission department is stifled in the GT by its two-tonne weight. Because of the weight, there’s no harm in opting for one or other of the super-torquey diesels. Eight-speed auto is smooth and easy to use. Just as well as there’s no manual.
On the inside
Inside not as good as you’d think. There’s lots of room and the rear seats slide and fold forward. But the two-part bootlid is a joke - you’ve the choice of using the pointlessly small one or the ridiculously big, heavy one.
Still, it has the same instruments and switchgear as the 5 and 7-series, which is BMW’s best ever. Everything in the body, the furniture and the mechanics feels solid from the driver’s perspective. But it loses a point or two because the complex rear seat-fold-and-moving-bulkhead arrangement is a bit floppy in places.
The excellent diesels in the 5 GT don’t only give good performance - they’re relatively economical too. But it’s expensive to buy, and to insure. And all those expensive options will soon depreciate to nothing.