Review: BMW 5 Series GT (2009 – 2017)

Rating:

Refined and spacious alternative to a 7 Series or an X5. Usefully large boot with clever twin opening. Very comfortable and quiet with great performance from all engines.

Doesn't handle as well a 5 Series saloon. Unusual styling looks awkward from certain angles. Limited rear visibility.

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BMW 5 Series GT (2009 – 2017): At A Glance

Whenever a new type of car is launched, it's always interesting to see how the manufacturer in question tries to sell it to us - the public. Getting the message across isn't necessarily easy and when the car is the BMW 5 Series GT it's even harder. This is one car where it's far from obvious who it's aimed at.

BMW says it has identified three key buyers for the 5 Series GT. First are those who like the idea and practicality of an SUV but who do not like the traditionally bulky styling. Then there are people who want the luxury of a 7 Series in a design that's more coupe in profile and finally those that just want to be different and stand out from the norm.

While it's called the 5 Series GT it's more a cross between the luxury BMW 7 Series saloon and the BMW X5. It's also bigger than it looks at five metres long, but the well-proportioned coupe profile helps to disguise the sheer size of it. The exterior styling divides opinion and it's certainly not what you'd describe as a traditionally attractive shape, but it does stand out from the rest of the BMW range, even if it does look awkward from certain angles.

It's when you get inside that the 5 Series GT really starts to make sense. It has an amazingly spacious cabin for four or five adults with acres of rear legroom and superbly comfortable seats. And then there's the clever twin-opening boot which can operate like a standard saloon boot, or open up larger like a hatchback. If you want to carry four adults - and a large amount of luggage - in supreme luxury, the 5 Series GT is a perfect choice.

And this is where it's really at home - long distance cruising. The ride is smooth and quiet, all the engines offer effortless performance and it's incredibly cossetting to travel in.

BMW 5 Series GT Road Test

What does a BMW 5 Series GT (2009 – 2017) cost?

List Price from £37,595
Buy new from £28,631
Contract hire from £290.39 per month
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BMW 5 Series GT (2009 – 2017): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4998–5004 mm
Width 1901–2140 mm
Height 1559 mm
Wheelbase 3070 mm

Full specifications

The 5 Series has a superbly spacious cabin, as you'd expect given the considerable size of the vehicle. It feels even more roomy inside than the 7 Series with great headroom in the back and acres of legroom - enough to make it feel limousine-like in fact. If you're lucky enough to be driven, you'll be able to appreciate the back with its wonderful seats - although it's worth noting that while the SE model comes with a standard rear bench which can fit three across, the Executive model has two seperate seats with a large (immovable) armrest between the two.

Like the Skoda Superb, the boot can be opened as either a conventional saloon or like a hatchback. It may seem a bit pointless, after all why isn't the hatch tailgate enough, but the boot-opening is useful in tight spaces such as underground car parks. The full tailgate option provides a large opening ideal for big suitcases or pushchairs.

The back seats slids forward by 10cm to increase boot space further and they also fold down to create a level area of 1,700 litres - similar to the BMW X5. You can take out the hefty rear parcel shelf and stow it neatly in a special compartment under the load floor. Then, depending on whether the car has electric folding rear seats or not, you can convert the whole back into load area by pressing buttons and pulling catches. A split rear bulkhead folds on top of the seatbacks giving a solid load floor.

In the Executive version the two electric rear seats each slide forwards and recline. In the standard version, the seats slide and recline manually, but not by as much. Mention must be made of the optional head up display that projects your speed digitally onto the windscreen. And the first panoramic satnav screen we've ever seen, perched in line-of-sight right at the top of the dash, clearly conceived as part of the dash in the first place rather than as an afterthought.

As you'd expect of a BMW at this price, the quality of the interior is impeccable and it has a true luxury feel to it, from all the high-grade materials used to the feel fo the switches and buttons - there are certainly no corners cut here. It's easy to get on with too with a stylish but simple layout. The main stereo and sat nav are controlled through the iDrive dial next to the gear lever, so the main dash isn't cluttered with buttons. It's a fairly easy system to get used to after a quick play, plus there are buttons on the steering wheel for quick access to the most common functions such as changing the radio station or turning the volume up.

Equipment from launch (October 2009):

SE is the standard model and gets an eight-speed automatic gearbox, 18-inch alloy wheels with run-flat tyres, self-levelling rear suspension, Dynamic Drive Control, cruise control, Dynamic Sability Control Plus (DSC+), parking sensors front and rear, rain sensitive wipers, automatic headlights, Dakota leather upholstery, heated front seats, part-electric adjustable front seats, metallic paint, four-zone air conditioning, electric windows, multifunction leather steering wheel, panoramic glass sunroof, CD stereo, iDrive controller, an auxiliary input for MP3 players or iPods and an on-board computer.

550i SE gets more equipment to reflect its extra performance, including 19-inch alloys, electric adjustment with driver memory on the front seats plus electric reach and rake adjustment for the steering column.

Executive models have comfort seats, a four seat arrangement, rear seat adjustment controls in the boot, front and rear electric seat adjustment with memory and rear heated seats.

Child seats that fit a BMW 5 Series GT (2009 – 2017)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

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What's the BMW 5 Series GT (2009 – 2017) like to drive?

Make no mistake, the 5 Series GT is a big car and so it's not surprising that it's powered by BMWs most powerful engines, all of which are paired with a new eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard. Initially there was one diesel available - the punchy 530d which produces 245bhp and 540Nm of torque. This 3.0-litre V6 diesel is incredibly smooth, delivering good low down pulling power along with fuel economy of 43.5mpg - good for a car this size.

It's certainly the most obvious engine to go for, not only because it's the best when it comes to economy, but it's such an easy car to drive with little engine noise and strong performance where it counts. It also has the edge over the 535i even though the petrol uses twin turbochargers to boost power to 306bhp, giving it a swift 0-62mph time of 6.3 seconds - around half a second faster than the 530d.

Because while the 535i is one of the best engnes around and an absolute gem in the BMW 3 Series Coupe and BMW Z4, it's not at its best in the 5 Series GT and lacks the sheer grunt of the 530d model. Economy isn't bad though at an acceptable 31.7mpg, but the engine has to work much harder then the diesel equivalent.

The other engine is a 407bhp twin turbo V8 monster with 600Nm torque. It is in fact a 4.4-litre engine but badged as the 550i (the idea being that the two turbochargers boost power to that of a 5.0-litre engine) which gives a 0-62mph time of just 5.5 seconds - an amazing feat when you remember that this is a car that weighs more than two tonnes. It's a thunderously quick engine with a great rumbling engine note and a perfect top of the range version.

In July 2010 the 535d model was introduced and immediately usurped the 530d as the best engine in the line-up. It's the same 3.0-litre V6 diesel, but with twin-turbos added to increase maximum power to 299bhp along with 600Nm of torque. The extra power makes quite a difference, particularly when accelerating from 50mph to 70mph, while overall there's an extra urgency. It's just as smooth though and economy is still 42.2mpg.

The 5 Series GT is designed primarily for long distance travel and in this respect it excels. There's barely any wind or road noise, it's immensely refined and rides very smoothly. The 530d and 535i GTs have standard 18-inch alloy wheels with Runflat 3 tyres that give a far more cosseting quality than anyone familiar with RFT3s could ever imagine. Even on the optional 20-inch wheels, the ride is surprisingly good.

Thanks to the rear air suspension, which maintains a consistent ride height, whatever the road conditions, the GT deals well with rough surfaces, even with a full load of passengers and luggage. All models have Drive Dynamic Control - a system that lets you change the suspension stiffness, steering feel and gear changes. There are three pre-set modes - Normal, Sport and Sport+ while a further system called Adaptive Drive is available which adds a Comfort setting with a softer ride.

In normal mode, the GT can feel a little soft and isn't as agile as the latest 5 Series, with its considerable weight more obvious due to the higher profile. It corners with good composure but the steering could do with more feel. However in Sport mode it feels very different and is far flatter in bends with quicker steering. There's always plenty of grip and at Autobahn speeds the 5 Series GT feels amazingly stable. The brakes are responsive too, although it can pitch and dive a little under sharp braking.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
520d 50–51 mpg 8.9 s 144 g/km
530d 49 mpg 6.2 s 153 g/km
530d Automatic 44–47 mpg 6.2–6.9 s 153–173 g/km
535d 48 mpg 5.7 s 154 g/km
535d Automatic 42–48 mpg 5.7–6.1 s 154–175 g/km
535i 34 mpg 6.1 s 192 g/km
535i Automatic 32–34 mpg 6.3 s 192–209 g/km
550i 31 mpg 5.0 s 214 g/km
550i Automatic 25–31 mpg 5.0–5.5 s 214–263 g/km

Real MPG average for a BMW 5 Series GT (2009 – 2017)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

78%

Real MPG

26–48 mpg

MPGs submitted

102

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the BMW 5 Series GT (2009 – 2017)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

BMW Warranty Support BMW 530D GT

In March 2015 I bought an approved used 2011 530D GT. It has, since then, needed a new window regulator, headlight control module and is booked in for a new headlamp (full of water..). All 4 alloy wheels have been replaced due to corrosion around the center caps. Now, for the third time in 2 months, it is sitting on my drive at a drunk angle... The rear offside suspension has 'sat down'. The first time it did this, I called the dealership. They were not surprised to hear it was a 5 GT, and told me to start it up and bring it in. When the engine ran, the air pump brought the suspension back up and off I went. 'No fault found Sir - £72 for diagnostics please'.... When I asked what to do if it re-occurred, they told me to use BMW assist. It did, so I did, 2 weeks later. Same suspension point. Different dealer, who once again found no fault and wanted £72 (and I understand that, not a dealers responsibility to work for free). After 3 weeks, BMW UK covered the cost when I made it clear I did not consider myself liable. So, Boxing Day, my wife carefully asks me if I want to look at my car....?? Yep, offside rear has sat down again. This time I do not use BMW assist for recovery, I wait 4 days for their customer service people to be in. 'Please send someone to look at the car, as it sits now, so they can see this fault (again..) before the engine and air pump are started again'. I am now lost. They will recover the car, but they cannot force a technician to come and view it. Diagnostics are not covered under warranty. I have tried to be 'fair and reasonable', I waited 4 days over xmas with no car, I followed BMW's own advice to use Assist. But if this is an intermittent fault, how can I show it to them if turning on the engine gets rid of it for a few weeks?? Your thoughts, and any advice, would be much appreciated. Thanks for the column and your video reviews, much appreciated. RG
Presumably it has a year's BMW 'Approved Used' warranty. You can take photos with your phone whenever it settles down and use them as evidence. The BMW dealer who supplied the car to you is legally bound to fix it, so any nonsense from him, tell him you will take the car elsewhere, have the offside rear suspension airbag replaced, and will sue him for the bill in the Small Claims Track of the County Court. BMW is having a lot of problems with the standard rear airbags in 5 Series Tourings and there may be a parts shortage, which is ironic because the new 7-Series is all on air ride.
Answered by Honest John
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