Many consider the BMW 5 Series GT to be the ugliest BMW of the modern era. They prolly never heard of the E65. Personally, it’s my favorite BMW and the irony is that the BMW 5 Series GT is the least “BMW” of the BMWs.
The basic idea is very simple for the BMW 5 Series GT. BMW and others have noticed that occasionally people come in with their S-Classes and 7-Series, knock on the factory gate and ask if they can convert their limo into a station wagon version for them. Which is blasphemy to the car industry, to have a 7 Series or S Class estate. But look, there are still people who want the comfort of a 7 Series but also want space for family luggage. And if they are turned down by official dealerships, then these rich people go to independent garages and throw money at them. And if you’re wondering why I didn’t bring the Audi A8 into the discussion, it’s because the Audi A6 estate is very close to and prolly already a potential Audi A8 wagon.
And that’s what got BMW thinking. However they didn’t seem too eager to stain the presidential character of the 7 Series but decided to build a 7 Series hatchback and give it the 5 Series name – and so the BMW 5 Series GT was born. And that created quite a issue for BMW. First of all those few owners who wanted a 7-Series station wagon ran to the BMW 5-Series GT which was the main purpose of the car in essence, but the real concern was that many people who would have bought the 7-Series decided to go for the BMW 5-Series GT which is the same car, just cheaper and more comfortable.
The issues get even worse for the 7 Series when you talk about comfort. The BMW 7 Series has always been famous for being the sportiest of the three German limousines, the Mercedes S Class being the most comfortable but least sporty, and the Audi A8 being the middle way. And the BMW 5 Series GT is a 7 Series set on comfort so it also attracted buyers who wanted a 7 Series but didn’t want a sports limousine but wanted something comfortable.
BMW 5 Series GT Engines
- 3.5 twin-turbo of 302 horsepower – Water pump, seals, high-pressure pump, oil leaks, oil sump, and other general issues for the N55 engine. Still, you get 300 horsepower of consolation and this is the most popular petrol on the BMW 5 Series GT.
- 4.4 V8 of 402-horsepower – One of BMW’s worst engines in terms of reliability but at least it delivers performance on the rare occasions it works. Famous for its performance in the X5, 5 Series, and Range Rover, because the BMW 5 Series GT and this engine go together like the nail clippers and teeth.
- 2.0d of 184 horsepower – Cute but not enough for the BMW 5 Series GT. It’s like putting Graham Norton in the ring up against Connor McGregor. Or Boris Johnson up against Vinnie Jones. Or american beer versus european beer. As for the issues, we’re gonna talk about them in the General Issues section.
- 3.0d of 245, 258, 300, and 313 horsepower – The most suitable engine for the BMW 5 Series GT, a comfort car that’s made to transport VIPs over distances of thousands, possibly millions of miles at a time. You have so many power options because you have a non-facelift and a facelift engine version, each again with an xDrive and a non-xDrive version. But the engine is the same in all of them.
BMW 5 Series GT General issues
- The classic timing sitting at the back of the engine issue remains and applies to all engines. The idea was that BMW considered the timing to be lifetime and never havs to be replaced, which is why they mounted it at the back of the engine. Which is partially true. A new car comes with a 150.000 kms warranty and the timing chains have to be replaced somewhere around 200-250.000 km, so you as a new BMW buyer will never replace them. But as an used car buyer, you will have to replace it and that means the engine has to be taken out and that means a quote worthy of London night clubs.
- The automatic gearbox is in the same situation, even though some argue that the oil is never to be changed, the reality is that a change every 60,000 km is beneficial and necessary so don’t cheap out.
- The bootlid is 2 miles long and when you open it you have a good chance of hitting the ceiling. Fortunately, you can set the height at which the hatch opens from the iDrive, so you don’t scratch all the ceilings and walls in all the possible parking spaces. What’s interesting though is that you can open either the hatch or just the boot, like the Skoda Superb. That means extra weight but also extra components that can break down.
- A major difference from the normal 5 Series is that they went for the aluminum suspension which is more comfortable but less durable. Basically, pretty much the same concept as the Passat B5 or A6 C5 and the multi-link aluminum suspension, except they quickly dropped the idea when they saw that the suspension didn’t cope with bad roads.
BMW 5 Series GT Verdict
The 5 Series GT sits alone in the tree, in its own world. Too expensive for those who want the normal 5 Series and comparable in price to the 7 Series, it’s pretty hard to justify the 5 Series GT. But there are probably people who still want a more comfortable but more anonymous 7 Series. Not very many, because there are less than 250 models for sale on mobile.de, but they do exist. Would I buy one? If it didn’t cost so much, no doubt about it.
Which engines do you recommend? For petrol, it’s like asking me to choose between dark beer and rum but probably the 302hp 3.5 would be more civilized, but a 5 Series GT feels best with a 258hp 3.0 diesel. With or without xDrive.