Chris Miller road tests and reviews the 2014 BMW 5 Series GT.
BMW’s 5 series Gran Turismo epitomizes the concept of a grand tourer. Designed with high speed, spirited long-distance driving in mind, it is equally at home here in Australia as it is on Europe’s Autobahns.
The styling is polarizing, with a love or hate attitude generally adopted by anyone that encounters it.
Spend some time with it however, and even if your outlook towards the styling falls into the latter category, you’ll almost certainly fall for its charms, and will likely be prepared to forgive its sometimes ungainly proportions.
The BMW 5 Series GT is a great option if SUV’s aren’t your thing. With almost as much interior space as the X5, there’s little need for one, particularly if a dirt road is as far off road as you’ll go.
The great thing about the GT is the wonderful dynamics, found also in the 5 Series sedan. For a large car it is nimble, changes direction with great poise and balance, and always feels firmly planted on the road.
The ride is generally good, but riding on big 20 inch rims and 275/35 R20 run flat tyres, deep ruts and corrugations in the road surface can at times disrupt the cabin.
Vision is excellent in all directions with parking maneuvers aided by a reverse camera, animated graphics and plenty of audible sensors.
The driving position can’t be faulted; the intelligent dash architecture has everything falling easily to hand. The electronic gear selector is a thing of beauty and the latest edition of BMW’s famed iDrive is intuitive and easy to use.
The enormous 10.25 inch central screen integrated beautifully into the dash can be personalized to display pretty much whatever you want; Album covers from songs streamed via Bluetooth gracefully pop up adding a nice touch.
The main digital dash changes to reflect what mode you’re driving in; Sport turns everything red and gives you a large tacho together with a digital speed read out.
Comfort mode displays a more traditional looking speedo & tacho combination, while Eco Pro mode has the colour scheme turn blue with a monitor that suggests when to lift the right foot to maximise economy.
The cabin is a lesson in understated elegance. Attention to detail is impressive and the quality of the materials employed is second to none. In the Luxury model as tested, the optional $1,300 ivory white Nappa leather seats contrast beautifully with intricate timber veneers and accents of faux stainless steel, all combining to provide a real WOW factor.
Interior space is abundant, swimming in head, shoulder and leg room regardless of the seat you choose to occupy; the cargo carrying space, accessed by an automatic tailgate is impressive…more so with the rear seats folded flat.
Whilst a luxurious cabin is a highlight, it is the on road performance of the 530dGT that provides the biggest thrill.
Powered by a 3.0 litre twin turbo inline 6 cylinder diesel developing 190kw and a locomotive like 560Nm, and mated to BMW’s utterly brilliant 8-Speed auto, progress is rapid and effortless.
The soundtrack is one of a highly tuned petrol V8 from within the cabin, outside you’d be hard pressed to pick the diesel power plant. Smooth all the way to the red line, the big diesel almost completely eliminates turbo lag normally found in modern diesel cars.
0-100km/h happens in a tidy 6.2 seconds, and the way it piles on speed becomes almost addictive. Drop the right foot at 80km/h and within what feels like milliseconds, 110 km/h flashes up. Equally from low speeds the 530d GT winds up in an unfussed manner, allowing for effortless overtaking.
Fuel economy is nothing short of staggering. Our test average over a week was an impressive 7.7 litres per 100km/h, achieved in mainly city driving, although on longer runs it was normal to see usage around 5.0litres per 100km.
Economy is aided by a sharp stop-start system that is quick on the uptake and never noticeably impacts heating or cooling systems.
In typical BMW fashion the option list is long & expensive. The base price for the car is $108,900 before on roads, and while that is far from cheap, you can feel your hard earned dollars in the engineering when you get behind the wheel.
The 530d GT is a car that is hard to catergorise. It’s not a station wagon, not a sedan, not an SUV: more like a really big hatchback, allowing for real flexibility.
It has a real presence on the road and driving one has you feeling like you’re in a pretty exclusive club; you’ll rarely see one coming at you in the opposite direction.
The 530d GT is an accomplished car that is just a little left of centre; and that plays a big part in its appeal. For driver satisfaction, luxury, performance and exclusivity the BMW 530d GT ticks all the boxes.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 6-Cylinder Twin Turbo Diesel producing 190kW and 560Nm
Transmission: 8-Speed automatic
Safety: Five Stars
Warranty: Three years
Price: From $108,900.
For further information, please see Recalls and faults: BMW F07 5-Series Gran Turismo.