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BMW 5 Series GT hatchback (2009 – ) expert review

By Richard Dredge, 23rd January 2010

The verdict

BMW’s 5 Series GT successfully combines flexibility, comfort, kit, space and pace in a unique package.

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Expert rating:

3.8

Pros

  • Smart, spacious interior
  • Great equipment levels
  • Well-weighted steering

Cons

  • High running costs
  • Unnecessary boot/hatchback arrangement
  • Awkward looks

Full Review

1. Exterior

The BMW 5 Series GT has presence, with its large kidney grille and unusual profile. However, the supposed coupe-like roofline isn’t as neat as the one on the Mercedes CLS. The main reason is that one of BMW’s aims with the GT was to offer the same level of headroom as in an SUV such as the BMW X5 – which has been achieved, but at a cost to the exterior looks.
Our rating: 3

2. Interior

As with the exterior, the interior of the 5 Series GT is pure BMW, which means it’s well laid out and everything is clear. However, because the GT has so much equipment it can be hard to find what you want without having to search for it. The orange ‘mood’ lighting looks classy though, and the large screen which is integrated into the dashboard works superbly. Controlled by the i-Drive dial near the gear lever, most of the car’s functions can be controlled from here, such as the radio, CD player and sat-nav.
Our rating: 4

3. Practicality

The GT’s hatchback configuration means it has more carrying capacity than the regular 5 Series saloon. However, the 1,700 litres available is only 50 litres more than in the 5 Series Touring, while the sharply sloped rear window reduces its usability. Unusually, the GT’s rear end incorporates a hatchback and a saloon boot, similar to the Skoda Superb. This seems unnecessary as access is restricted when using it. It would make more sense simply to have a conventional hatchback. Of more use are the sliding rear seats, which allow rear seat legroom and boot space to be optimised.
Our rating: 4

4. Ride and Handling

The 5 Series GT is supplied with run-flat tyres, which don’t help the ride. The fact that the car is so big and heavy means minor road blemishes are smothered, but the ride is still on the firm side. The 18-inch alloy wheels with low-profile tyres makes the ride even firmer, but it’s never uncomfortable. These wheels and tyres help with the handling though. There’s plenty of grip and in typical BMW fashion the steering is well weighted, even if it isn’t as communicative as in some of the company’s other models. After all, this isn’t an enthusiast’s car.
Our rating: 4

5. Performance

Even the slowest 5 Series GT can manage 144mph and 0-62mph in just 6.5 seconds. Those figures are for the 530d as tested here, but if you want serious performance you’ll want the 550i GT. With its 407bhp 4.4-litre V8 engine, the 550i GT is limited to 155mph but can scorch from 0-62mph in just 5.5 seconds. In between is the 302bhp 535i GT, which also tops out at 155mph, and which takes 6.3 seconds to run from 0-62mph.
Our rating: 4

6. Running Costs

The cheapest 5 Series GT costs nearly £42,000, so expect running costs to be high. It’s the diesel models which are predicted to be the cheapest to run and they’ll also retain more of their value. The 530d GT sits in insurance group 42, as does the entry-level petrol car, the 535i. The 550i GT though is in group 45. Fuel bills are likely to be steep, with the 535i and 550i officially averaging 31.7mpg and 25.2mpg respectively. The 530d is claimed to average 43.5mpg, but in the real world this is more likely to be around the mid-30s.
Our rating: 3

7. Reliability

BMW has an enviable reputation when it comes to the reliability of its cars as well as how well it looks after its customers. While areas such as electronics and tyre pressure monitoring systems have caused problems on the outgoing 5 Series, BMW dealers are usually quick to sort things out if issues arise.
Our rating: 4

8. Safety

BMW has thrown everything in its safety armoury at the 5 Series GT, from anti-whiplash head restraints for those in the front and airbags galore for everyone, to stability control (ESP). There’s also an excellent head-up display which projects the car’s speed onto the base of the windscreen, for quick and easy reference. However, there isn’t a EuroNCAP rating available yet.
Our rating: 4

9. Equipment

The BMW 5 Series GT is a premium car, so even entry-level models are loaded with standard equipment. All cars get an eight-speed semi-automatic gearbox, 18-inch alloy wheels, self-levelling air suspension, parking sensors all round, leather trim, plus front seats which are heated and electrically adjustable.
Our rating: 4

10. Why buy?

The 5 Series GT’s flexibility, comfort, space, standard equipment and pace are all impressive. Whether or not it really is a completely new type of car is the subject of fierce debate, but you can’t deny that it’s a desirable machine.
Our rating: 4

Expert review 3.8stars

  • Exterior3
  • Interior4
  • Practicality4
  • Ride and handling4
  • Performance4
  • Running costs3
  • Reliability4
  • Safety4
  • Equipment4
  • Why buy?4

Our recommendations

Best on a budget:
530d SE
The most cost-effective way into 5 Series GT ownership
Best-seller:
535d SE
The most popular GT, with a great diesel engine and kit
Blow the budget:
535d M Sport
Money no object? Then plump for the 535d M Sport

You can’t deny that the BMW 5 series GT is a desirable machine.