So...what is it?
The striking 2010 BMW 5-Series Gran Turismo, abbreviated to "GT" on its tailgate, blends some station-wagon and SUV cues into a shape that's not quite sedan or crossover. It's most accurately called a fastback, a vehicle description that's all but lost its meaning since the 1970s. Kelley Blue Book asks the same question, noting, "it's certainly not an SUV," while Motor Trend points out, "to the enthusiast a Gran Turismo is something low and fast and usually made in Italy."
For the sake of argument, TheCarConnection.com calls the GT a wagon, and it's likely the EPA will do the same. That settled, it's not quite attractive to most reviews around the Web, though TCC's editors have warmed to the tall roof. There's a reason for the proportions: "BMW executives decreed it should offer the legroom of a 7-series and the rear headroom of an X5," Car and Driver reports, and "given those two goals, it's no wonder this new model is no classic beauty." Autoblog says, "we wouldn't use the word 'elegant' to describe this vehicle's styling," and Edmunds snipes, "If anyone looks straight on at the rear end of the BMW 5 GT and uses the adjective ‘sexy' or 'handsome,' then we must have changed planets." Though its proportions lean toward those of the BMW X6 sport-ute, the GT sits lower to the ground, and its frameless doors emphasize the long descent of the roofline. Like the X6, it has a thick, tall tail, though here designers visually decrease the rear end's heft with downturned taillamps and chrome details. Kelley Blue Book observes it "lacks any sense of ruggedness or off-road pretense," while also noting it "features a sloping roofline that greatly reduces its functionality compared to a wagon." Edmunds states bluntly, "the full-on rear view is just not pleasing to the eye." Still, reviewers like Kelley Blue Book appreciate the GT more than in photos, asserting it "works better in person than pictures might imply."
Inside, the 5-Series Gran Turismo's dash and door panels are a great leap ahead of the former 5-Series and even the X6; it reads more cleanly, thanks to simple metallic trim that delineates control areas into logical groups, as well as plenty of lavish wood and leather that arc and curve to take visual mass out of the cockpit. "The dashboard is a study in horizontal layers that emphasize the interior's width," Autoblog agrees, "and the 5GT has genuinely inspired door panels whose undulating lines flow uninterrupted between the front and rear passenger compartments." In all, "The cabin has an open and airy feel to it," says Kelley Blue Book, and "the interior is beautifully laid out." The gauges are bright and readable, and information and navigation directions are well integrated into LCD readouts placed below the dials. It's "is laid forward to create a feeling of space," observes MSN Autos, adding "the soft-touch, sturdy materials exude quality, and the wood trim looks like wood." Even with its punctuation mark of a shift lever, the 5-Series Gran Turismo's cabin feels mature, warm, and more upscale than ever.