Exactly two months ago, BMW has unveiled one of their most controversial concepts in the last decade, the BMW 5 Series GT. With the launch of this new model that will be part of the upcoming 2010 5 Series family, BMW has created a new marketing name, Progressive Activity Sedan, following the same path as the unusual models released in the last few years: Sports Activity Vehicle or the Sports Activity Coupe.
I have to admit from the beginning that I was one of the people that opposed the design and direction BMW was heading towards and I said many times that I didn’t see the purpose of this “Progressive Activity Sedan” gimmick. But since I have to keep a neutral stand, I decided to wait and see the actual model before I pass any judgment.
So, the official photos came and went and after everything cooled off, including my initial excitement, I decided to take a step back and analyze the 5er GT.
What demographic audience is BMW targeting?
Based on studies conducted by BMW, the results show that the 5 Series GT will be a vehicle appealing to those that are looking for luxury, space and performance, but are not willing to spend money on a full 7 Series nor like the SAV models. Adrian van Hooydonk confirmed that the study revealed an aging customer base who find the traditional seating position of the BMW 5-series Sedan too sporty, but at the same time consider the elevated seating in the X5 or X6 too high.
Before he left, former BMW Chief of Design, Chris Bangle, stated that “This is the most customer-centered car we’ve ever done. We discovered a group of BMW buyers we were failing to reach out to at a sales level. We wanted to build a car to suit their everyday needs. There were no preconceived ideas. Everything you see is customer driven.”
In the end, BMW 5 Series GT has the same leg room and rear space as the new 2009 BMW 7 Series, combined with a higher seating position. Place the 5er GT against the X6 and you will notice a far more improved headroom.
The exterior was created by the young designer Christopher Weil and it includes the body surfacing and design elements which will be seen in the next-generation 5 Series due out in 2010. Some minor design cues were imported from the CS Concept into the 5GT, as seen by the shape of the headlamps and the very aggressive front-end. The front-grill is smaller than the one found on the new 7, but far more sportier.
The hood with the two creases ending above the headlights and into the kidneys, remind us of the new Z4, and it clearly indicates a trend that we will see in other future models as well.
All four doors are frameless which in my opinion it gives the car a cleaner look and in the same time, it shaves some pounds of the overall weight.
At the rear, the styling appears to be similar to the X6, with a “coupeish” roofline, but quite significant higher which gives more headroom in back. The biggest exterior design innovation is the two-mode hatch opening mechanism. A regular mode where the entire rear trunk frame lifts up, allowing for more than needed cargo entry and a second mode, where only the hinged top part of the trunk is being lifted , allowing for quick access to the trunk.
The L-Shape taillights blend in with the semi-sporty rear and in my opinion, they’re just perfect for this design approach. Not surprising to see the square exhaust pipes, similar to the ones on the 7 Series.
This is the area that the BMW 5 Series GT shines. The 7 Series was the first vehicle launched by BMW in a while that brought back the interior design quality expected by its fans, followed shortly by the BMW Z4 and now, the 5er GT. It was designed by Oliver Heilner with luxury and comfort in mind. “We wanted a car you could enter without difficulty and feel comfortable in over long journeys.”
The concept is a four-seater, but the production model will have five, losing the center console in the rear. The displays and controls are grouped according to their functions. The instrument panel enhances the very good visibility provided by the high seating position. The colors and materials for the interior design give the impression of total luxury, spaciousness, in my opinion, a very elegant approach which sends the right message to its potential buyers.
The impression of luxury is further enhanced by the ceramic elements integrated within the solid wood trim.
The panoramic sunroof comes to complete this image.
Engines and technical details
The initial BMW 5 Series GT will be powered by six cylinder engines, the 272 horsepower naturally aspirated motor or the 326 horsepower updated 3.0 liter twin-turbo engine from the 7 Series.
BMW plans to follow up with the impressive 407 horsepower 4.4 liter V8 and also two diesel choices: a turbocharged 232 horsepower engine and 282 horsepower 3.0 liter twin-turbo. Transmission will be available in both manual and the new ZF eight-speed automatic. The Active Damping control will be standard. We also expect the 7 Series’ four-steering wheel option sometimes in the near future.
Since BMW is all about EfficientDynamic these days, expect to see features like start/stop technology, KERS and BMW’s new thermal-electric generator technology.
In conclusion, BMW makes the right move by targeting a specific set of customers, as described above, and I believe the car will fit perfect and do well in its niche. As a young professional, I am more inclined to purchase a different BMW, most likely a far more sportier and “younger” car e.g 335i, M3, etc..
But as some of you might expect an overall rating, I will say that the BMW 5 Series GT turned out to be a better looking car that many expected and even though it was received with a fair amount of criticism, it will grow on people after things settle and everyone gets a chance to see it or drive it.
From a neutral point of view and leaving my personal preferences aside, I would say the 5er GT gets a 7 out of 10 from me.
Photo Gallery BMW 5 Series GT Geneva Motor Show
Photo Gallery BMW 5 Series GT
BMW 5 Series GT Photo Gallery (Source: Automarket.ro ]