Comfort and Quality » 9
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QUALITY | 9 out of 10
a genuinely useful piece
height is "perfect for the everyday
the best seat in the 5GT's haus is in the back
no reason why you'd buy an X5 instead
BMW pitches the Gran Turismo as a car for people with occasional needs for cargo space and more frequent needs to carry adults in first-class accommodations in the back. It succeeds: "It's a genuinely useful piece -- truly luxurious and impressively spacious inside, with astonishingly versatile load carrying capacity," Motor Trend agrees.
The evocative shape wraps around a flexible interior, with a slightly elevated seating position and a second-row seat that slides on a track to change its position by up to 4 inches, as passenger and cargo needs change. At 196.8 inches long, with a wheelbase of 120.7 inches, the new 5-Series GT's "wheelbase and both track widths are identical to those of the new 7 Series," Motor Trend adds, "but it's three inches shorter overall...and, more critically, just over three inches taller." From the front seats, there's a sense of height that's shared with the X6-the "command" driving position-and a wide range of adjustments to what are already comfortable, well-fitting chairs. The GT "perfectly splits the difference in seat height between BMW's 5 Series Sedan and its X6 SUV," Kelley Blue Book points out, and Edmunds calls the height "perfect for the everyday." Elsewhere, the console is narrow enough for driver and front passenger to expand their footprint, and the shoulder room and headroom are superb.
In back, it's even more luxuriant. "BMW has made the 5 GT's rear environment a first-class experience," Edmunds says, "offering the legroom of a 7 Series and the headroom of an X5." Kelley Blue Book observes the GT has "a supreme feeling of spaciousness." A bench seat is standard on cars sold in the United States, and Motor Trend describes how the "standard rear seat slides 3.9 inches fore-aft, and its backrest, which is spilt 40-20-40 is rake adjustable from 15 to 33 degrees." The Gran Turismo offers an optional pair of bucket seats in back, separated by a console, and they're like the best airline seats you'll find. "For a marque that has prided itself on being the Ultimate Driving Machine," Autoblog wryly asserts, "it's perhaps a bit ironic that the best seat in the 5GT's haus is in the back." Though "you can't control the front passenger seat or huge panoramic sunroof from the rear," as Car and Driver reports, the 5-Series GT almost obsoletes other BMWs. "Unless you simply must have third row seating," Motor Trend advises, "there is absolutely no reason why you'd buy an X5 instead."
Amping up the 5-Series Gran Turismo's usability is a bifold tailgate and a low loading height for cargo. "You can open the lower portion of the liftgate or the entire liftgate itself," Car and Driver explains. The rear seats can be powered forward from trunk-mounted buttons, and the angled cargo dividers behind them can be raised to vertical or folded almost flat ahead. With the rear seats up, the GT has 15.1 cubic feet for luggage in the trunk. With the rear seat positioned far forward, luggage space increases to 20 cubic feet. "Fold the rear seats and the bulkhead down, and cargo space expands to 63.6 cubic feet," MSN Autos says, "about the same as a Ford Escape or Jeep Liberty." The seats can fold individually for split cargo/passenger room so that a backseat passenger can access the trunk space without leaving the car. There's also a cargo cover that detaches and stows under the cargo floor. In theory and in practice, the flexible cargo hold probably offers more storage options than many crossover vehicles. And while the tailgate itself isn't heavy-it's "mostly made of stamped aluminum...so there is no great effort in managing the opening and closing of this showpiece," Edmunds reports-"in the end, it really just adds weight to this already heavy machine," Car and Driver asserts.
Fit and finish in the 5-Series GT is "first rate," Autoblog says. "Superior isolation of wind and road noise from the cargo area" makes it better than an SUV or wagon, contends Kelley Blue Book. Car and Driver remarks "the interior is so quiet you'd never guess you were sitting in something with a huge hatch out back," though they note the "new engine sounds a bit coarse in the midrange."
The 5-Series Gran Turismo's rear seats are a regal place to ride; the flexible cargo area adds weight but offers innovative alternatives to even heavier SUVs.