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2015 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo REVIEW logo 4/3/2017

Con: Less cargo space than a crossover SUV; less agile than a sedan; pricey.


Interior: The 5 Series Gran Turismo is at its most charming when you're settled inside. The design and materials match the standards of BMW's 7 Series flagship, with liberal applications of supple leather, rich wood trim and nicely textured plastic. The 535i's standard front seats are pretty comfortable in their own right, but the 20-way multicontour chairs (standard on 550i) are worth every penny, providing superlative support and an incredible range of adjustments. The roomy rear seats are nearly as comfortable, thanks to tilt-and-slide adjustability and copious passenger space. We also like the standard iDrive interface, though compared with some rival systems, it sometimes seems to require a few more twirls and clicks to get what you want.

The Gran Turismo's distinctive tailgate has two sections. The upper section is a typical hatchback tailgate with an integrated window, but if you only need to access the trunk area, you can leave the upper section in place and open just the lower section, which is top-hinged like a sedan's trunk lid. A removable package tray creates a partition between trunk and cabin, stowing neatly under the load floor when not in use. Why did BMW bother? Because opening only the lower section keeps the cabin sealed, enabling stress-free loading in inclement weather.

In terms of capacity, the trunk section can hold up to 17.7 cubic feet of stuff, while folding down the 40/20/40-split rear seatbacks opens up a maximum of 63.6 cubic feet. The maximum figure is actually on par with the BMW X5 crossover, but most midsize luxury crossovers have more space.

Body: The 2015 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo is a tall, four-door luxury hatchback with seating for five. The tailgate features a segmented rear window and deck lid, allowing either full hatchback access or conventional trunk access that doesn't disturb the cabin. There are two trim levels: 535i (with the six-cylinder engine) and 550i (with the V8).

Standard 535i features include 18-inch alloy wheels, a self-leveling rear air suspension, adaptive xenon headlights, LED foglights, auto-dimming mirrors with exterior heating, a panoramic sunroof, front and rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers, leather upholstery, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, 10-way power front seats (with four-way power lumbar), driver memory settings and sliding, reclining and split-folding rear seats. Also standard are Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, BMW's iDrive electronics interface, a navigation system, BMW Apps smartphone integration (including Facebook and Twitter feeds) and a 12-speaker sound system with HD radio, a CD player and an iPod/USB interface.

Besides the V8 engine, the 550i adds different 18-inch wheels, keyless ignition and entry, hands-free tailgate operation (with a foot sensor under the rear apron), 20-way multicontour front seats and a rearview camera.

A number of packages are offered on the 5 Series GT, starting with the Luxury Line and M Sport. The Luxury Line includes 19- or 20-inch wheels, upgraded leather upholstery and special interior trim. The M Sport package features the same leather upgrades but adds different 19- or 20-inch wheels, an aerodynamic body kit, dark ("Shadowline") exterior trim, expanded interior trim options and an M steering wheel.

The Premium package for the 535i consists of keyless ignition and entry (including the hands-free power tailgate), soft-close doors and satellite radio. The 535i's Driver Assistance package adds the rearview camera and a head-up display. On the 550i, an Executive package combines the non-standard contents of those two packages with ceramic-trimmed controls and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system.

Available on all Gran Turismos, the Lighting package includes LED headlights and automatic high beams. The Dynamic Handling package adds adaptive suspension dampers and active roll stabilization. The Driver Assistance Plus package includes adaptive cruise control, a blind-spot monitoring system, a lane-departure warning system, top and sideview parking cameras and a collision mitigation system with automatic braking. The Cold Weather package contributes headlight washers, a heated steering wheel and heated front and rear seats, while the Luxury Seating package adds ventilated front seats with an "active" function that provides a subtle massage treatment on long trips. The 535i also gains the 20-way multicontour front seats when equipped with the Luxury Seating package.

Stand-alone options include many of the above items plus four-wheel active steering, a self-parking system, a 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, power rear window shades, a rear-seat entertainment system and a night-vision camera system with pedestrian detection.

Driving: On the road, you can definitely detect the 2015 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo's 7 Series genes. There's a sense of supreme confidence at all speeds, and the ride is supple and nearly silent, even on rough surfaces. It's as if you're driving a more advanced form of transportation. Well, in a straight line, at least. If you try to get frisky going around a bend, as some BMW drivers are inclined to do, the 5 Series GT's high center of gravity yields substantial body roll and a burly, crossover-like feel. The handling remains secure, to be sure, but it may disappoint those who are drawn to BMW's high-performance image.

The engines, however, have impeccable performance credentials. Although the 535i GT tips the scales at over 4,500 pounds, its turbocharged inline-6 delivers smooth, linear acceleration that makes its 300-hp rating seem quite conservative. As for the 550i GT, its sublime V8 whisks it to 60 mph in an estimated 5 seconds flat -- a full second ahead of the 535i. Either way, the eight-speed automatic provides quick, almost seamless shifts that are fully consistent with this level of luxury.

What’s New: All 2015 5 Series Gran Turismo models come standard with a sport steering wheel and LED foglights, while the 550i gets standard keyless entry and ignition. Also, the Modern Line package has been discontinued.

The 2015 BMW 535i Gran Turismo is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine rated at 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. The 550i's 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 increases output to a prodigious 445 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive are standard, but buyers can opt for xDrive all-wheel drive with either engine. Automatic engine stop-start is also included for both models.

The EPA estimates the 535i GT's fuel economy at 22 mpg in combined driving (19 city/28 highway), while the 535i xDrive drops to 21 mpg combined (18/26). The 550i is rated at 19 mpg combined (16/25 with rear-drive and 16/24 with all-wheel drive).

Safety: Standard safety equipment for all 2015 BMW 5 Series GTs includes antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. The brakes also feature fade-resisting, hill-holding and drying functions. A rearview camera is standard on the 550i GT and optional on the 535i GT. Also standard is the BMW Assist emergency communications system, which includes automatic crash notification, an emergency response button, remote door unlock and stolen vehicle recovery.

Optional safety features include a blind-spot warning system, a head-up display, a lane-departure warning system, automatic high beams, a collision mitigation system with automatic braking, top view and sideview parking cameras and a night-vision camera with pedestrian detection.

In government crash testing, the 5 Series Gran Turismo received the top overall rating of five stars, including four stars for frontal impacts and five stars for side impacts.

Pro: Innovative dual-mode tailgate; remarkably strong and refined engines; high-end interior appointments; exceptionally comfortable seats.

Edmunds Say: The 2015 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo gets points for originality and refinement, though this high-riding luxury hatchback isn't quite as versatile or sporty as advertised.

Introduction: With all the different options in BMW's vast vehicle lineup, the 2015 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo can be seen as an attempt to simplify. Want cargo-carrying versatility? The 5 Series GT's tall hatchback body is much more capacious than any sedan, and its unique tailgate has a hinged rear panel that can open like a sedan's trunk if you prefer. How about a commanding driving position? The GT's elevated driver seat keeps you comfortably above the fray. Responsive handling? In theory, at least, this 7 Series-based hauler retains its platform-mate's dynamic excellence. What about a sumptuous interior? The GT's cabin is one of the nicest you'll find.

But it's hard to be everything to everyone, and a closer look at the 5 Series GT bears that out. Sure, it's got decent cargo space, but most similarly sized crossovers offer more. And with its relatively high center of gravity, it actually feels like a crossover from behind the wheel despite those 7 Series roots. Then there's the styling: BMW builds a lot of sleek vehicles, but "sleek" isn't quite the right word for the GT's upright profile. When you're spending this much money, you might want a bit more fashion sense in return.

No other automaker offers a vehicle quite like the 5 Series Gran Turismo, so in a way you're going to love this niche vehicle or you're just going to have to go for a more conventional choice. Among those, you could check out the more cargo-friendly 2015 BMW X5 or the 2015 Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon, which nearly matches the 5 Series GT's cargo capacity and adds a handy rear-facing third row seat. If hauling stuff isn't a high priority, the swift and stunning 2015 Audi A7 beckons. Overall, we think the 2015 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo is an impressively engineered car, but its odd mix of traits makes it something of an acquired taste.


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