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Motoring 31


The term Gran Turismo has a rich and storied history, but also remains one of the most abused in recent memory. What started as rapid and luxurious two-door cross-continental transportation ended up as nothing more than a trim level on unforgettable econocars. So when BMW talks about reviving the GT badge on a vehicle with suitable charisma and performance, you can imagine the shock when photos released were of a four-door vehicle that shared its profile with the X6 SUV. BMW calls it “combining the characteristic


features of a prestige saloon, a modern, highly versatile Sports Activity Vehicle, and a classic Gran Turismo in brand-new, unprecedented style.” So really, the new 5 Series GT is another BMW


‘reinterpretation’ that confuses more than clarifies. A drive doesn’t glean many answers. Those looking for a preview of the new-generation 5 Series sedan will be disappointed as the GT shares most of its hardware with the larger 7 Series. The 550i GT that we drove shares the same 407-hp 4.8-litre TwinPower Turbo V8 found in the 750i, and sends power to the rear wheels through a standard eight- speed automatic transmission that debuted in the V12-powered 760i. The wheelbase equals the 750i, meaning more legroom than you could expect in a 5


Series-based vehicle. The elevated seat height is halfway between the sedan and an X5 – or about equal to the lofty perch afforded a Rolls-Royce Phantom driver.


That translates into a large, wide and heavy vehicle that’s difficult to define.


The twin-opening tailgate design that combines both a traditional trunk and a wide-opening hatchback defies description. The trunk design provides added security by preventing access to the cabin through reinforced cargo covers and dividers, while the hatchback gives full access to 590L of cargo space. Folding the rear seats down expands that to a gargantuan 1,700L of room, enough to haul an apartment’s worth of IKEA furniture. Most of the cabin features are taken directly from the 7 Series, including the Black Panel gauges, HVAC and audio controls, updated iDrive unit and centre console. That equates to luxurious materials and exquisite finishing. Our tester’s two-tone leather interior was brightened immensely by the optional twin-panel panorama moonroof. The GT can be ordered with an optional Comfort package that removes the three manually adjusting rear seats and inserts two powered, heated and cooled thrones with a large fixed armrest between. Regardless of how many


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