When the BMW 5 Gran Turismo was launched some two years ago, many thought its name was a misnomer when parked next to sleek, proper GT cars!
The bulky rear quarters drew the most flak. Reacting to this criticism, BMW has modified the profile of the tailgate, making it blend better with the roofline. There’s a bonus, too – the redesigned hatchback offers 60 litres more boot space than before, for a total of 500 litres. Minor changes have also been made to the front end, and there are new wheels and fresh body colours.
On the inside, the dashboard meters have been digitised, with “computer graphics” for the speedo, tacho and their moving needles. When Sport or Sport+ mode is selected, the instruments are digitally transformed to look more purposeful, and they’re bathed in a reddish light.
Comfort+ is the default mode for this car. Its ride is supple, with good insulation from road irregularities. The suspension feels a bit under-damped, but select Comfort and its slightly firmer ride setting will remove any sensation of floatiness.
Sport mode would be overly firm for normal commuting, with the 535i GT’s limo-like ride all but banished. Throttle response is more urgent in Sport, however, with higher-rpm gearchange points. This is the mode to use for fast touring over country roads with lots of curves.
To exploit this vehicle’s handling potential, select Sport+. This turns off the traction control, making the overall experience more dynamic and delightful. However, it does call for greater concentration, and it’s certainly not recommended for novices!
For such a heavy car, the 535i GT is surprisingly agile. Its lane-change response is decent, and its handling is well balanced and secure. Steering feel, feedback and response cannot be faulted, either. All these attributes aren’t surprising to me, since it is a BMW after all.
The 535i GT tips the scales at a portly 2015kg, a full 250kg heavier than the equivalent saloon. This blunts the outright acceleration, with the yardstick sprint to 100km/h taking 6.3 seconds, 0.6 of a second slower than the 535i “non-GT”.
At $370,800 (correct at time of writing), the 535i GT costs $10k more than the 535i saloon. That extra outlay buys more interior space, in addition to standard equipment that includes a panoramic glass sunroof, electric roller blinds for the rear side windows, a rear view camera and a fine sound system with full connectivity. But BMW left out a blind-spot warning system, which would have been welcome in this big model.
Even with the restyle, the 5 Series Gran Turismo still isn’t as good-looking as its saloon counterpart, which might explain why the 5 GT remains more “exclusive” in Singapore.
This article was first published in November 2013.
2013 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo 535i 3.0 (A)
ENGINE 2979cc, 24-valves, inline-6, turbocharged
MAX POWER 306bhp at 5800rpm
MAX TORQUE 400Nm at 1200-5000rpm
GEARBOX 8-speed automatic with manual select
0-100KM/H 6.3 seconds
TOP SPEED 250km/h (governed)
CONSUMPTION 12.2km/L (combined)
CO2 EMISSION 192g/km