BMW product communications manager Michael Blabst said there were many ways the new 5 Series could develop that would depart from the new design of the liftback GT models. “There are even many options just with the slant of the kidney grille,” he said.
The GT is based on drawings by Christopher Weil which won an internal company design competition five years ago. Wolfgang Stadler, who runs the Dingolfing plant where the car will be produced, said the design merged a sedan with a station wagon and an SUV.
The car features four doors with frameless windows, a coupe-like stretched roof line and a two-part tailgate that works like the new Skoda Superb. The chunky rear end of the vehicle is reminiscent of the old Rover Vitesse and SD 3500. It will be available in Australia in March with pricing and specifications available closer to the release date.
BMW Australia product manager Tim James said it would cost more than an X5 or 5 Series starting at about $140,000-$150,000. It comes with three engine variants, two petrol and one diesel, mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox from the 7 Series.
James said it was difficult to determine customers and the mix of petrol to diesel because the GT was “a whole new category of vehicle”. He said it was a “niche vehicle” like the X6, not a volume seller like the X5. “But in saying that, X6 volumes exceed those of Porsche Cayenne,” he said.
The engines are featured elsewhere in the BMW line-up, but the straight-six petrol 535i GT has been updated. It also comes as the 530d with a three-litre turbo diesel delivering fuel economy of 6.5 litres per 100km and CO2 emissions of 173g/km.
Outside, it features the prominent nose of the 7 Series, LED daytime running lights and the two-part liftback that allows the boot to be used like a normal sedan, or as a one-piece, powered tailgate on a hatchback or station wagon.
It will come in five and four-seat options, although the middle rear seat is suitable only for children or short stints. The back seats can individually recline and move forward and rear by 100mm. BMW claims the rear legroom of a 7 Series and the rear head room of an X5.
The seats are also set higher than a normal sedan in what BMW describes as a ‘semi-command position’ which allows easy entry and exit from the vehicle without having to ‘climb’ up into it. The rear seats also fold flat in a 60-40 split to reveal a large cargo area.