BMW 5 Gran Turismo in India test drive

Did you know what is meant by Progressive Activity Series or even Progressive Activity Sedan. Me neither. But then when you are in BMW world, these are the languages or rather the words that get thrown around pretty much. Yes, the entire day has gone with BMW cars especially after the heady Mercedes experience. The better part of the day was spent in the BMW Z4 and now the BMW 5 Gran Turismo in India. Didn’t I tell you earlier that BMW is the master at creating segments. Just when you thought that estate cars were yore, here comes another and this time from Germany. Well, it has been almost a year since the Bavarian manufacturer launched this car in India but then since we are only 4 months old, got our hands on it just now. It seemed as if the day was all spent checking BMW designs and been amazed at their odd-ball looks and be perplexed at their performance. People who have been crying hoarse that the 5 series was the ultimate car in the BMW lineup have started taking a second look at the BMW 5 Gran Turismo. To cut the story short, I only had time enough to bring to you a test drive of this car but then it should be fine, isn’t it? Check on Road Price

I assume you are still reading and here comes the verdict of its looks before I have even started describing it. It looks oddball. But then isn’t that the basic reason as to why one should be buying it. The exclusivity factor. The front of the car looks like the regular 5 series with some steroids injected into it. Seriously, this car looks and feels huge from any angle. I wouldn’t be wrong to say that it has the X5’s width. Actually BMW have confirmed that this car has that girth. Head turner, anyone? Oh yeah, it is. Chris Bangle may have exited BMW but then his flame surface design elements abound in plenty. The hood is sloping but then it has been designed according to European standards.

The wheels are 20 inchers with a certain degree of different boots at the front and rear. While the side profile reveals a coupe like sloping roof line, the boot is anything but small. The tail lamps are split by the heavy looking boot. The chrome strip on the boot is a good distraction from the rump of the car. The reflectors are placed just below where the boot ends. Oh well, the Hofemeister kink is also present towards the rear windscreen. The rear in particular seems to be borrowed from the X6. Moreover, BMW have taken the 5 series as well as the X6 and have tried to make the design more palatable. The twin tail pipes are closely huddled together.

Ahh well, the BMW 5 Gran Turismo in India is based on an extended 7 series platform. It means space galore. Unlike the Z4, this one gets the typical beige with high quality leather interiors. And there is a wooden strip running across the length of the dash board. It has got a driver centric dash with those simple to read dials. Unlike the Z4, this one gets fully dark leather covered three spoke steering wheel. Needless to say, the usual cruise control, audio and Bluetooth controls are present on it. The amount of space is similar to what one can find in the 7 series. There is a 6 CD changer system and mind you, this is audiophile heaven. I had a hearty time in the car with my whole lot of CD collections bundled in. Not that there wasn’t a provision for USB as well as AUX input but it just happened that I didn’t have a USB stick handy on me that day. I could very comfortably plonk myself in the driver’s seat of this car. It has got the latest Idrive system with a screen which though not pop out, shares its resolution with the one in the Z4. The uncluttered layout of the cabins looks very much good and there are enough storage spaces to keep a smuggler happy. The automatic climate control, as expected had a good flow of air directed and cooled the cabin in no less than 40 seconds.

Cut to the rear seats. They are exactly angled in the same way as the ones in the 7 series. This means comfort is the top priority here. Moreover, the rear seat passengers get their individual seats and this means one seat less for the middle passenger. Needless to say, there is a climate control option even for the rear passengers. At the back of the front head rests lies TV screens which can be linked to the one in the front playing Doordarshan channels or better still can be plugged into individual USB or DVDs to be entertained. The boot space as expected is humoungous in its capacity at 510 liters. The individual rear seats are also split ones, contributing to the loading of luggage. Another novelty feature is that the boot is bimodal in its operation, much like the one found in the Skoda Superb. This means that the boot can be opened via the hatch glass just to put in some knip knacks or even lifted by its complete door to have much better access while loading it. Quality all around is a notch above that of the 5 series and infact is much in the league of the 7 series.

This is a BMW after all and be it size or girth, it has to handle well. The BMW 5 Gran Turismo in India is no different. There is body roll which is similar to the X5 and it is more due to the elevated stance that the GT possess. It has got the double wishbone/multi-link suspension setup. This means that you can drive it as fast as on the roads as on off roads. Like all the BMWs, even this one is setup on the slightly stiffer side. But then with the run flats, one never as much had any problems in India. I am sure many would be debating this statement and thinking of switching over to normal tubeless ones. But then BMW India says that their cars are designed to take only run flats and any other tyre configuration would create a big problem. I am sure that they had a big reason behind saying this. Steering as always is first rate and there are no issues about it. But unlike the Z4 which has a light steering, this one has the typical BMW steering which is heavy at low speeds and then somehow lightens up a bit (not enough to lose confidence though). NVH is also on the lower spectrum of decibels and upto speeds of 120 kmph, there is absolute silence inside the cabin. But then onwards, you are treated to a glorious wail of the engine. The drivetrain by the way is 4 wheel drive or Xdrive in BMW speak. Wind noise as well as others like tyre noise are literally absent. Due to the high ground clearance and the 4×4 option, it should be easy taking the car to one’s farm house as well.

Been a tourer, this car has been blessed with a diesel engine. So the BMW 5 Gran Turismo in India has a 3.0 liter diesel engine. It makes 245 PS of max power at 4000 rpm whereas the torque is a huge 540 Nm which is available all the way from 1750 to 3000 rpm. It get an eight speed transmission to complement for its long leggedness. The first three gear ratios are short and this give the near two tonne car an agility in and around the city. Whereas on the highway, the other 5 ratios ensure that the car can utilize the engine’s potential to the full. There is no turbo lag at all and this can be attributed to the variable geometry turbo which gives the ECU better engine control and hence seamless power delivery. The clutch system is the twin clutch system which allows for lightning fast up shifts as well as down shifts. It is also very seamless in its operation. Since I had an open stretch of road in front of me, I could actually time the machine and it raced from 0-100 kmph in only 6.2 seconds. The top speed, I am been told is in the regions of 250 kmph.

Brakes are the standard ventilated discs at front and solid ones at the rear. ABS, EBD, ESP, Brake Assist, Dynamic Drive Control, Dynamic Stability Control as well as Dynamic Traction Control makes up for the braking aids. 4 air bags, central lock disabler in the event of a crash, active head rests, collapsible steering column, side intrusion beams and even 3 point seat belts complete the safety package.

Well, fuel efficiency is something which I couldn’t check out on this test drive of the BMW 5 GT but then the trip computer displayed it as 12.6 kmpl. This was due to the combined driving both in the city as well as on the highway.

The BMW 5 Gran Turismo in India boasts of an exclusive factor as far as station wagons go. It was widely speculated that Volvo was planning to introduce its station wagon based on the Volvo S60 in India. As and when it would be launched, it would be the true competitor of this car. For those looking for something more than the 5 series, they better keep their eyes peeled open for the GT. It has got lots more space than the 5 series plus more storage options as well as the same performance as the 5 series. But then you pay substantially more. Infact, I feel that this car is one of the most value for money products in the BMW stable. There is only one variant available but then there are multiple options with which you can stack up your purchase. The BMW 5 Gran Turismo price in India starts at Rs 62.7 lakhs. This price is ex-show room, Mumbai. As for me, I would take this anyday than the Z4 roadster. Practicality as well as exclusivity granted. Like they say, Joy is a BMW. I would like to echo BMW’s sentiments on it. The 5 GT managed to plaster a big smile on my face and I am sure that I would want to go on a drive on this again, atleast once.

Technical specifications of the BMW 5 Gran Turismo

Engine details: 3.0L In-Line diesel Engine with 6 cylinders
Maximum Power: 245 Ps @ 4000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 540 Nm  from 1750-3000 rpm
No. of Cylinders: 6
Valves Per Cylinder: 4
Fuel Supply System: CRDI
Transmission details: 8 Speed Automatic
Front Suspension: Double joint spring-strut axle
Rear Suspension: Aluminium integral axle
Steering details: Electronic power assisted with rack and pinion
Front Brake Type: Ventilated Discs
Rear Brake Type: Solid Disc
Top Speed: 250 kmph
Acceleration (0-100 kmph): 6.2 Seconds
Mileage overall: 12.6 kmpl
Fuel Type: Diesel
Fuel Tank Capacity (litres): 70
Tyre Size: 245/50 R 20
Tyre Type: Run flat tyres
Alloy Wheel Size: 20 inches
Seating Capacity: 5
No of Doors: 4

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