This is the new BMW Concept 5-series Gran Turismo. Munich has just issued these first photos of its novel newcomer – an executive car with the space of a 7-series in a taller, swoopier 5-series body. Remember the much-vaunted Progressive Activity Sedan (PAS) codename? Those three words spell out BMW's hopes for its new Grant Turismo. Another controversial BMW could be three more...
The Concept 5-series Gran Turismo is a carbon copy of the production car that bows in at this autumn's 2009 Frankfurt motor show and goes on sale this autumn for around £2k more than a Five Touring. The show version revealed here will make its public debut on Tuesday 3 March 2009 at the Geneva motor show.
BMW Concept 5-series Gran Turismo: the lowdown
Typical of a fragmenting market, the 5 GT pinpoints a new uber-niche. It packs the practicality of four seats and 430-1650 litres of boot space under that coupe-inspired arcing roofline and frameless doors; owners will be able to juggle boot and bum space by sliding the rear seats back and forth by 100mm. Another example of this car's split character is its Skoda Superb-style twin-hinged boot that opens like a hatch or saloon trunk.
The thinking in Munich positions the 5 GT as a halfway house for people who admire the raised 'command' seating position and practicality of the X5 and X6, but are deterred by their unwieldiness and Europe's creeping anti-SUV sentiment. The cabin packs as much rear legroom as a 7-series limo and the headroom of an X5, BMW promises, but the car's character is less intimidating.
We've sat in the car already and can vouch for its roominess. It's limo-big in the back, and those rear seat backs fold down at the touch of a button. Airy, too – with a panoramic glass roof available.
Tell me more about the 5-series Gran Turismo's design
Take note of the GT, for this is our first hint of how the 2010 5-series saloon and wagon will look. It's an evolution of today's style, with rechiselled kidney grilles, lights and regulation Hofmeister kink in the DLO. For the first time, the day-running corona rings around the headlamps are powered by LEDs, and there's a new variation on BMW's L-shaped rear lights too.
In size, the 5-series GT sits slap bang between the 7-series and X5, at 4998mm long and 1552mm tall. It's a b-i-g car, explaining why those 21-inch rims don't look too dwarfed by the concept largesse.
The design master speaks
Perhaps we should give the final say on the 5-series GT to Chris Bangle, the recently departed design chief, under whose watch this car was conceived. ‘It’s not a 5-series fastback,' he told CAR recently. 'We wanted as much limousine character as possible for those people trading up out of big saloons. The combination of space and luxury is what sets this car apart.’
It certainly will set the car apart. BMW execs admit in private that the difficult-to-categorise GT will be a challenge to communicate to a more nervous buying public. But if they get it right and find a small niche of buyers eager for this versatility, they may just cash in.
>> For more on the BMW Concept 5-series GT buy the new April 2009 issue of CAR Magazine out 25 February
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