Grafting a fast, coupe-like roof onto sedans and crossovers has become the thing to do. It adds youthful flair and style to what are otherwise conservative vehicles. BMW was an early adopter of this trend with their X6 utility. But now they’ve dared fiddle with the revered 5-Series, one of the world’s premiere sport sedans. The result is the five-door, 5-Series Gran Turismo. While it looks like a coupe, and may work like a hatchback, is it still an ultimate BMW?

Even with its new, swoopy roof, the 2010 BMW 5-Series Gran Turismo’s twin-kidney grille, quad halo headlights, and rear side window Hofmeister Kink, make it instantly recognizable as a product of the Bavarian Motor Works. But this GT is defined by a deep side crease and, of course, that arched roof, which is really a sloping hatch, ending with a prominent deck lid spoiler. Sectioned LED tail lamps are an evolutionary vision of BMW’s traditional L-shaped housings. 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in run-flats are standard, with 19- and 20-inchers available.

Observed broadside, the GT’s long wheelbase-120.7 inches or seven more than the sedan-doesn’t seem at all out of proportion with most of the bulky visual weight squarely over the taut rear haunches.

The Gran Turismo’s interior is decidedly more spacious than the 5-Series sedan. Frameless windows, and the panoramic moonroof standard on the 550i, allow lots of light into the classically understated cabin.

Ingress is easier than the sedan too, and the front seats are firm with reassuring lateral and lumbar support. The instrument panel is virtual, except for the chrome rings and hash marks. A jab at the ‘start’ button lights up the entire IP.

The Gran Turismo gets BMW’s fourth-generation iDrive system, which plays nicer with other in-dash functions. While the optional fighter jet style head-up display keeps the driver’s eyes on the road. Our tester came with optional USB/MP3 connectivity, and satellite navigation, replacing the standard 7-inch screen with a 10.2-inch display.

The 5-Series GT’s generous rear legroom is on par with the 7-Series. On our tester, the middle seat folded down as an armrest storage bin. A fixed rear center console is optional, making the 5-Series Gran Turismo a cozy four-seater.

The trick two-piece rear hatch can open like a conventional trunk- or as a true hatch- each with the touch of a button. Partitions behind the split folding rear seat keep passengers separated from 15.5 cubic feet of luggage. With everything folded flat, there’s 63.6 cubic feet of space, or more than the X5!

The Gran Turismo shifts with BMW’s new eight-speed automatic transmission, which has an incredibly wide spread of ratios. Power for the base 535i comes from BMW’s new single-turbo, direct injected 3.0-liter straight six engine, making the same 300 horsepower and 300 lb-ft as its twin-turbo predecessor.

Our 550i tester’s twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 also features direct injection, and makes 400 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque. It’s shared with the X6, 7-series, and the all-new 2011 5-series sedan. BMW’s all-wheel drive xDrive system will be available soon on both the 535i and 550i GTs.

So, just how does this lumpy 5-Series drive? Well, the V8’s quick spinning turbos make for aggressive throttle response throughout the power band, and the eight-speed delivers quick, positive shifts. We recorded 0 to 60 in a succinct 5.4 seconds. With a curb weight just shy of 4,600 lbs, the Gran Turismo feels solid and planted even as we passed the quarter mile in 13.7 seconds at 107 mph.

The new multi-link front suspension couples with the optional Adaptive Drive’s roll stabilizer to easily control the big GT in corners. The available Integral Active Steering is very nicely weighted, and completely slack-free, long BMW hallmarks we favor. The car feels hefty, but not in a bad way.

And, even putting the traction and stability control system in it’s most forgiving setting doesn’t change things much. When the tail steps out, the computer steps in before things get too spirited.

But spirited stopping is no problem. All-ventilated disc brakes snapped it down from 60 to zero in a short 117 feet. The GT is the first US BMW with regenerative braking that recharges the battery only during stops and deceleration.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 2010 BMW 550i Gran Turismo are 15 mpg city, 21 highway. Our premium fueled loop was 18.1. Add in an Energy Impact Score of 20.1 annual barrels of oil, and a sizable 11.0-ton Carbon Footprint, and it’s clear our V8 GT is a pretty heavy drinker.

Now in dealerships, the 535i Gran Turismo starts for $56,875. The 550i GT starts at $65,775. With all the best bits from the 5- and 7-Series, the 5-Series GT may not be the most pleasing to look at, but it sure is fast, comfortable, and ultimately, very connected to the road. As a BMW, the 2010 5-Series Gran Turismo earns its stripes.


  • Engine: 4.4-Liter V8
  • Horsepower: 400
  • Torque: 450 Lb Feet
  • 0-60 MPH: 5.4 Seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 13.7 Seconds @ 107 MPH
  • 60-0 MPH: 117 Feet
  • EPA: 15 MPG City/ 21 MPG Highway
  • Mixed Loop: 18.1 MPG
  • Energy Impact: 20.1 Barrels Oil/Yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 11.0 Tons/Yr