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BMW 5 Series GT Review: The BMW 530d Gran Turismo - the Connoisseur's Choice!

The BMW 530d Gran Turismo - the Connoisseur's Choice!

By Roger D'Souza; 3rd September, 2011
Introduction

The BMW 530d Gran Turismo – The Connoisseur’s Choice!

BMW is aggressively launching its tall cars these days such as the BMW X1, X3, X5, and X6. Now, yet another tall model has been thrown into the mix – the BMW 530d Gran Turismo. Confusingly called the 5 series, it actually doesn’t look like one. The New BMW GT is another one of those crossover vehicles which tries to get the best of all worlds - the first time you look at the car it looks part SUV, part saloon and part coupe!

Thus, BMW has once again defined a brand new segment in the Indian automobile market and the company hopes it will create a premium field with practicality, comfort and style.  The BMW GT has got all the legroom like the 7 series, the headroom of an x5 and the shape of an X6, which of course begs the question - who will this car will appeal to? Let’s take a closer look at the BMW GT!    

 

 BMW 5 Series GT
Exterior

When you first look at the BMW GT, you will see a unique combination of sportiness and styling elegance. The stretched silhouette, the four doors with frameless windows and a coupe like roofline come together perfectly.

BMW 5 Series GT

The front has a strong presence with the low slung BMW kidney grille, the large air intakes and the dual round headlights. The wheel arches are flared far out to the sides while the downward-pointing outer flanks on the engine compartment lid boast a cascade – they give contour to the front end with a wide and powerful look. This look is further enhanced by the bright matt titanium bars which divide the air intakes and extend over the fog lamps, which are positioned in the outer edges of the air-intakes.                                                               

The dual round headlights of the BMW GT extend far into the side panels where they further merge into a matt trim panel acting as the headlight cover. The corona rings in the headlight are formed by LED lights; in combination with the bi-xenon light the front has an aggressive look. However, I was a bit disappointed to see that the headlights and fog lamps already had a bit of moisture in them.                                                                                    

The front and the rear are well connected by nice smooth flowing lines. The waistline comes in the level of the door openers, extending from the outer edge of the headlights and rising slightly along the entire length of the car, continuing all the way to the contours of the rear light clusters.     

BMW 5 Series GT                                                       

The rear light clusters merge far into the side panels which bring out the full width of the GT giving it a very distinctive look, especially at nights. The brake lights and indicator lights are also made up of LED lights which creates a homogenous illuminated look.

The coupe like outer rooflines and the shoulder lines come together in the airflow spoiler lip on the tailgate giving it a fastback like rear end look. We were not too impressed by the dual round tip exhaust – they could have been replaced with separate exhausts.

The BMW GT is surely an impressive looking car. We will let the pictures do the rest of the talking. 

BMW 5 Series GT

Interior

The interiors of the BMW GT are just as impressive as the exterior. For a car with a coupe like silhouette, it offers generous interiors for the driver and passengers. The ambience of the car is borne out in particular by the spacious, high quality interiors with its many features.   

BMW 5 Series GT                                                               

The cabin of the BMW GT provides generous freedom to all occupants with extensive leg and head space. The unique feeling of space is further enhanced by the interior shapes, the color schemes and the materials used.

The interiors of the car come in dual tone and high glossy wooden trims, while the dashboard is grained and comes in black, Ivory white and Veneto beige. The seat upholstery comes in Dakota leather in various colors. 

The displays and control elements in the dashboard are clearly separated from each other and are grouped according to their specific functions. Information and control units which are relevant to the drive actually face the driver so that everything is within arm’s reach, while the other controls, displays and switches are in the middle of the dashboard.

BMW 5 Series GT

The control display for the iDrive system is integrated in the middle of the dashboard as a standalone element. The iDrive display screen is about 10.2” in size.

The dashboard also holds the audio system, the central air vents and climate control. The instrument cluster is made up of a high resolution colour display and has dual lighting mode - during the day the instruments have a cool white backlight and at night when the lights are on, the color changes to a nice soft orange.                                                                  

The panels display the speed, rpm, distance, service requirements, Kms done and warning signs. The functions to be displayed on the instruments panels can be change as per driver requirements.                

The steering wheel has a three spoke design and feels just great. It also houses the control units which follow the same logic.  

BMW 5 Series GT

The overall design of the cockpit makes it easy to interact with the instrument panels, control units, lights and the engine start stop button which are on the centre level of the dashboard.

The Trim bar stretches together with the metal band over the entire width of the dashboard and continues on to the door panels.                                                                   

The door panels have nice flowing surfaces which accentuate the length of the interiors creating a homogeneous look and an optical connection from the front extending all the way to the rear seats. The driver’s door houses the mirror controls, central locking and the rear window curtains. All four door panels have up to 2 memory options for the seating positions. 

BMW 5 Series GT                                                                                               

In the dark, the feeling of space is not lost - the cabin comes with ambient lighting and bands of lights are integrated in the dashboard and door panels beneath the trim bars. There are even more light bands in the centre console both front and behind, the door pockets and on the backs of the front seat backrests.                                                

Let’s not forget the large frameless windows and the panorama glass roof which further add to the space ambience throughout the interior of the cabin. The glass roof measures 116 cm in length and 94.2 cm in width with an opening of 44 cm.   

The front seat area is pampering with soft but well-bolstered chairs that sit at just the perfect height for getting into and out of the car. The BMW GT comes with standard three seats at the rear, while the one I had was for 2 people only. All seating can be electronically adjusted for individual requirements and two sets of settings can be saved through memory options in the door panels. The backrest angle, the height of the headrest, fore and aft, the lower back support and the under thigh support are all electrically adjustable.

BMW 5 Series GT

The seats feel luxurious and provide really good long distance comfort. No matter how the seats were adjusted, all offered the same space of that of a 7 series. All seats come with three-point inertia-reel seat belts.  

With a cabin like this, there is nothing but space in the BMW GT - the front seating can make it easy to sit for a 6 foot+ tall person and so can the rear. Indeed, the rear seat can recline up to 100 cm making ample leg and head room. The centre console has cup holders which are within arm’s length no matter how your seats are positioned. The arm rest and the glove box have decent storage though not the biggest or the deepest.                                                                  

Apart from this, there are also storage boxes in the door panels and around the centre console, pockets on the back of the front seat and additional compartments between the driver’s door and the steering wheel which provide space for loose change.The rear arm rest comes with glass holders – you can sip on champagne while looking at the stars J.

BMW 5 Series GT

The most unique feature is the two piece tailgate, something first time seen on BMW.                                                 

The two sections offer the choice of a small opening beneath the rear window and a large lid like on the BMW’s X models. Both sections can be opened and closed individually. The small and larger tailgate comes with bracket hinges turning to the outside .The large tailgate comes with an auto soft close feature. The unique partition between the passenger compartment and the luggage compartment ensures unrestricted comfort while loading.

The luggage compartment capacity is 440 liters and by moving the seats forward and unfastening the partition we ca increase the capacity to 590 liters. When the rears seats are folded down (which is electrically adjustable from the booth itself) the compartment offer no less than 1700 liters of space. The only problem is that the seats don’t fold down fully and there remains a bit of an incline.

BMW 5 Series GT

 

Performance

Everything in the BMW GT - besides the engine compartment lid and front spring supports on the body – is made from aluminium.The use of aluminium doors alone have helped reduce the weight of the GT by 28 kgs. A central pressure-cast aluminum frame ensures supreme strength and stiffness.

BMW 5 Series GT

This car is indeed one of the safest interiors as it is equipped with curtain airbags in the front, rear and for the hip/thorax. As per BMW, depending on the type of collision and its severity, integrated safety electronics mastermind the restraining effect and deploy only the airbag that are required, while the remaining airbags are still available in case of a follow up collision. Further, all seats come with three-point inertia-reel seat belts. Also, the engine compartment and the side walls are made in such away to take all the impact away from the passenger cabin in an event of a collision.                                                          

The Bi-xenon headlights of the car are typical of the brand and ensure excellent illumination of the road. Another feature is the rain sensors, which automatically starts and adjust the speed of the wipers as per the intensity of the rain.

With regards to features, I kept discovering things every now and then. The most striking is the HEADS-UP display on the windscreen which displayed the Kmph reading, though there could have been something more in the display, especially if I was paying a little more than 1 lakh for this.   

BMW 5 Series GT                                                                                                

The BMW GT comes with the standard idrive control system for all entertainment, information, navigation and telecommunication functions. The controller is convenient to use and simple to figure out. It measures 10.2 inches and is integrated at the right height and distance from the driver seat so you don’t need to even take your eyes of the road to figure the system out.                                                                                     

The idrive comes with selection buttons functions like Cd, Menu, Back, and option keys. They serve as an alternative to the idrive system, though the idrive has the same features. Another key feature of the idrive is the voice entry controller - I could navigate through the idrive using my voice as well as using the controller at the same time.

Settings high speed warnings, lighting in the car, trip distances, vehicle information, the reverse camera display and service details can be checked and controlled from the idrive controls. The GT comes with standard cruise control and PDC i.e.

BMW 5 Series GT

The Park Distance Control system also comes with reversing assist camera that provides a 360 degree picture of the car when maneuvering at slow speeds.

The automatic air conditioning comes as a standard feature in the BMW Gran Turismo; the climate control panel has five stages of intensity for personal preferences. The ac console is spilt into 2 sections and four zones, where each zone has individual control over temperature, air volumes and distribution. The rear has a separate control panel for the same in the rear centre console.                                                                                      

The entertainment system is standard and it comes with a cd player,6-dvd player, AUX-in ports and TV module and bluetooth connectivity for calling and streaming of music from your phone. In the rear there are 8-inch displays in the front –seat backrest, two earphones, though there was no equalizer setting not. Fortunately, the sound was good and the acoustics are superb.     

BMW 5 Series GT                                                  

The rear displays are unfortunately not touch screen and the usb ports are hidden away in the center arm rest, which was a bit inconvenient to access. What was nice is that I could use the BMW system to control my phone via bluetooth connectivity.                                                                                                        

Auto Hold function is a much need feature specially in our stop and go traffic. When active, the car automatically comes into the park hold position whenever the car comes to a standstill, so the driver doesn’t always have to keep his foot on the brake pedal all the time while the car is held in position. The hold is released as soon as you step on the gas pedal; this is very helpful in cases of steep gradients. The Auto -Hold function is activated and deactivated by a separate knob in the centre console.

Another function is the Dynamic Drive Control. This control is operated by a button on the centre console. It comes in 3 modes Normal, Sport and SPORTS+ where each activates a pre-configured set-up for the throttle response, transmission shift characteristics, the level of power-steering assist and shock absorber firmness.

BMW 5 Series GT

BMW is the first car maker in the world to use FlexRay technology in production cars; it’s a high-speed data transmitter, 20 times higher than a conventional Transmission system. With FlexRay, the on-board systems and computer react and change instantly. The GT comes with this technology.

Some of the other features offered by the Gran Turismo include Brake Energy Regeneration, Sunblind for rear window, Warning triangle, Interior and exterior mirrors with automatic, anti-dazzle function, Electrical Seat Adjustment front, Lumbar support for driver & front passenger, Headlight washer system, Park distance control, Electronic Owner’s Manual, Side airbags for driver and front passenger, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Active headrests front, Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Brake Assist, Crash sensor, Run flat indicator, Safety battery terminal clamp, Integrated side-impact protection, and 3-point seat belts.

The GT comes with Efficient Dynamics technologies including Brake Energy Regeneration which recharges the vehicle’s battery during engine over-run. 

BMW 5 Series GT

 

The BMW Gran Turismo comes with an all aluminum crankcase, 3.0-litre diesel CRDi with piezo-injectors delivering max output of 180 Kw/245HP@4000 rpm and a peak torque of 540 NM at just 1750 rpm. It comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission with 5 Clutches. The 8 gears reduce the gap between the individual gears offering a wider range of increments so you can use all 8 gears at low engine speeds. While shifting up and down one or two gears only one clutch is opened, so the direct determination of the right gear ensures extremely short response and gear shift time, even while shifting more than 2 gears. The gears flow smoothly into each other resulting in a consistent and smooth build up of speed on the road. The transmission is so smooth that you can’t feel the gears change, regardless whether you’re at low speeds or suddenly put the pedal to the metal. All you will get is sheer JOY.

The Gran Turismo complies with EU5 emission standards, and it churns out an average of 6kmpl in city and 10kmpl on highway with an overall of around 8kmpl.                                                                                                    

We mentioned that the GT comes with DDC. This control is operated by a button on the centre console. It comes in 3 modes Normal, Sport and SPORTS +, where each activates a pre-configured set-up. The Modes tighten up the engine, increase the revs and response time. On road, the difference between each mode is very noticeable. The SPORTS mode for example makes the steering and gas pedal more responsive, and the car feels alive and ready to shoot. In SPORTS+ mode - Hell gets ready to break loose! The engine instantly roars and the revs go higher, your heart rate increases, and the smile becomes bigger. The car becomes a Rocket instantly and reaches higher speeds in less time than in the normal or sports modes.

BMW 5 Series GT

The wide front end and high engine compartment lid makes it a bit difficult to judge the sides specially the left front of the car. The overall drive of the BMW GT is very smooth, and the car took on all what Mumbai roads could throw at it, be it potholes or speed breakers. For a car that nearly weighs in at 2 tons, it’s quick, agile and handles like a sports car. The steering is well weighted and responsive at low and high speeds; it made it easy to maneuver in traffic. The suspension of the BMW 5-series is designed for both racing and touring comfort.

On the highway, I pushed the car to 230 kmph and couldn’t even feel the speed, the cabin was quiet, no tire or road noises and overtaking was a breeze.

Tech specs
Technical Specifications
 Make BMW
 Model GT
Variant 530d
Engine 2993, 6 Cylinder, CRDI
Power 245 Bhp @ 4000rpm
 Torque 540NM @ 1750 rpm
 Transmission 8-speed automatic
Top Speed 240 kmph
Acceleration 6.9 seconds
Fuel Consumption 6 kmpl (City), 10 kmpl (highway)
Fuel Type Diesel
Tyres 245/50/17 Run flat
Brakes All 4 discs
Safety ABS, EBD, 6 (Front & Curtain) Airbags
Length mm 4998
Width 1901
Height 1559
Turning Radius 12.2m
Boot Volume 440/590/1700 liters
Fuel Tank Capacity 70 liters
Kerb Weight 2035
Conclusion

Most people who will buy this car will go in for the 3.0-litre diesel engine just for its refinement and smoothness. The GT comes with a price tag of around 65 lakhs so the company has by no means been greedy, when you consider the level of luxury in the car.

BMW 5 Series GT

We can’t find any fault in the way the car is put together or the materials BMW has chosen to trim it with. The GT feels as plush as the 7 Series, but has its own distinctive and appealing style. Equally, the quality of engineering is hard to fault.

For those people who have the budget and are looking for a cross over car with a distinct choice, the BMW GT is an excellent choice.