In the past 6 months or even more, we have heard many people criticizing the idea behind the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo and shortly after, the design language chosen for this new invention coming out of the Munich gates. But in our opinion, we need to look past the design and move away, at least for a while, frorm all those heated discussions on whether this car will appeal to anyone or not.
What we need to do next is to focus on what the 5 Series GT brings to the table, there are many new technologies in this new concept and they seem to have been overlooked by many of us, including the media publications. The scope of this article is to show you the “real” 5 Series Gran Turismo and the things that got us excited.
So, let’s start with the design. The 5 Series Gran Turismo is also the first four-door/sedan BMW to have frameless doors, a feature available at this point only on the Coupe and Convertible models. The famous Hofmeister Kink gets a new form and it appears in “6-window” (3 windows per side) form in the rear quarter windows aft of the rear doors.
As we announced recently, BMW is moving towards building cars with plenty aluminum elements and the four aluminum doors on the 5 Series GT save about 62 lbs compared to a steel frame. Another new design elements is 2-piece bi-modal trunk with independent functionality. The system consists of two pieces: a trunklid-like opening under the rear window and a large liftgate.
The Panaromic moonroof which debuted in the first generation BMW X3 comes standard on the 550i model and it’s the first of this kind to be featured on a non-X model.
Moving inside, the 5 Series GT supports variable seating accommodations where the 4-seater configuration can turned into a 5-passenger cabin.
The highly awaited Instrument Panel in Black Panel Technology has just made our day. The entire instrument cluster is “in a high-resolution Black Panel display, in which four classic circular instruments are most prominent; other driving-relevant displays and readouts – including Navigation if present, vehicle-monitoring functions, upcoming service requirements and other information.”
Add the Head-Up Display to this already amazing technology and we have the dashboard we have never dreamed to have.
Now let’s continued with performance and technical elements. The top model, dubbed 550i, is powered by the twin-turbo V8 engine matted onto an 8-Speed automatic transmission. The new engine delivers 400 hp and does so over a range from 5500 to 6400 rpm. Maximum torque is 450 lb-ft., and available over the extremely broad range of 1800 to 4500 rpm. The high-end 5GT can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.4 seconds. Compared to the exemplary 6-speed automatic offered in most current BMW models, the 8-speed’s “taller” cruising gears make a significant contribution to reduced fuel consumption and carbon-dioxide emissions as well as quietness. The wider spread of ratios allows the engine to run at lower speeds, mainly in the “tallest” gear, 8th.
To continue down the same efficiency path, for the first time in an U.S. BMW model, the new 5 Series GT comes equipped with the Brake Energy Regeneration system which reduces fuel consumption. Atypical to the regular alternator system, the system charges the battery only when the vehicle is decelerating or braking.
BMW introduces a new type of front suspension that achieves even better results, particularly in a large, relatively heavy and very powerful vehicle. In place of the strut, this new system has an upper lateral A-arm. The double-pivot lower arms are retained, so that on each side there are three links or arms. While the two lower arms preserve the double-pivot strut system’s advantages, the new upper arm facilitates the system’s handling and riding comfort by relieving the strut of its geometric duties. Some of the immediate advantages of this new multi-link system are large steering caster, more space for larger brakes, reduced friction and small positive steering offset.
As we suspected and mentioned many many times on here, plenty technologies and ideas have been imported from the recently launched 7 Series. The 5 Series Gran Turismo is the first 5er model to have electronically controlled shock absorbers, introduced under the name Dynamic Damping Control, an evolution of the EDC. Combine the DDC with ARS, which stands for Active Roll Stabilization and you have one of the best handling BMWs out there.
Now, let us throw another buzz phrase at you: Integrated Chassis Management and FlexRay. You might be wondering what this is and what it does….don’t worry, you weren’t the only one. BMW’s Integrated Chassis Management is an electronic control scheme which oversees several other components (DSC, DDC, ARS and Integral Active Steering) to ensure maximum stability. This is where FlexRay comes in: “Developed by a consortium of which BMW is a leading member, FlexRay achieves heretofore unheard-of communication speed, some 20 times that previously possible. In the 5 Series Gran Turismo, up to 16 electronic control units can be networked; in no other competitive automobile can longitudinal, lateral and vertical vehicle motions be so precisely monitored and influenced”.
Other 7 Series technologies are included as well, from the optional Night Vision Camera and Camera Package, to the Lane Departure Warning and even Rear Seat Entertainment.