I’m not entirely sure what’s going on in the BMW design department at the moment, but I can guarantee that not a single thought process of late is a rational one. The company recently have developed a real talent for designing cars that are completely unnecessary, the appalling X6 and its infantile sibling the X1 are two clear examples. The X6 has been deigned to look and drive like a sports car but deliver the high driving position of a 4X4. The result is that the supposedly sporty handling is ruined by the car being so tall thus making it horse manure for the road, and the sports suspension and tyres make it more than useless on anything other than tarmac. The X1 is in principle a 1 Series with the ugly X3 body plonked on top, creating an ugly midget 4X4 that is crap off-road because it’s too low and poor on the road thanks to the wrong underpinnings. What supervisor signs off these designs? I can only imagine one that aspires to be the mad hatter’s best friend. Regardless of this we must continue with reviewing this, the BMW 5 Series GT. Can BMW redeem itself?
In short, no, no it can’t. The 5 Series GT is designed to be a luxury saloon with increased practicality and usability. The car is allegedly meant to carry the elegant lines of coupe whilst being appropriately aggressive. Well to anyone who has eyes this car is only aggressive in its lack of elegance as innocent bystanders are visually clobbered by the cars sheer ugliness. You must question yourself as to who would consciously go out and buy one of these?
Ok, one of the cars specifications is practicality and thankfully that is one of the few things the GT can boast about. The boot, much like the Skoda Superb, can both function as a hatch or a standard saloon boot. This makes it useful for awkwardly shaped loads as its hatch function prevents the rear windscreen from blocking your camel shaped lampshades from entering the boot. An over exaggeration with the lampshades? Not in my opinion as your taste must be questionable to buy this car in the first place… Rear legroom is also something to be phrased as it is on par with the company’s luxury saloon the 7 Series. In truth the rear is a pleasant environment with ample amounts of head room along with some rather snug seats that are perfect for long journeys. However, if you are looking for those BMW toys and gadgets you had best turn your attention to the options list. Almost everything is an optional extra and this being promoted as an executive saloon, not one item is what you would call value for money. Up front the cockpit layout is the standard BMW functionality over aesthetics as ergonomically the layout is sound, but it does have a rather sterile look to it. This is much the same for the interior as a whole as it has about as much character as Gordon Brown.
On the road the 5 Series GT drives well but not to the same standards as a normal 5 Series, which I might add is cheaper by £6,000! The chassis is firm but not overly hard which makes for a pleasant ride but rather vague responses to inputs from the driver. The gearbox itself is one of the few things to marvel about this car as its 5 clutches, yes 5, make gear changes so secretive you barley notice them. Pared with BMW’s rather well balanced 6 cylinder 3.0 litre diesel, it makes for a good motorway cruiser. 242BHP is a rather feeble amount of power for this engine but this car has an ulterior motive of pleasing the green folk. The GT if fitted with a break energy recovery system that stores energy lost through deceleration in the cars battery. It may please the environmentalists but the car as an overall driving package is soul destroying thanks to its unrivalled dullness.
At £41,000 the 5 Series GT certainly isn’t cheap and I can think of many cars that tick all the boxes that this does for less as well as create a few new boxes of their own. To buy one of these you would have to either work for a bank and turn down the superior yet cheaper standard 5 Series, or just be criminally insane. I feel that if this car didn’t wear a BMW badge it would be the sort of car that would be stolen but then returned with a “sorry we don’t want it” note in the morning. In the circumstance of the 5 Series GT 530d it’s a case of go away BMW, and try harder.