Oh look, it’s a BMW 5 Series. Nothing to see here. Except it isn’t any old 5 Series, it’s a 5 Series hybrid. And not the electric kind. The coupe kind. A 5 Series GT. Admittedly, when we say coupe that’s being as loose with the truth as our dear leaders are these days. There’s naff all that’s sleek and low and swoopy about the 5 GT. Its big back end looks like someone’s built a block of flats on the boot of a 5 Series saloon – indeed, there were rumours that BMW had to apply for planning permission to make it. Maybe. Still, there are reasons not to cast aside this car with a dismissive flick of the wrist.
For starters, there’s the boring practicality stuff. If you want a big car to lounge about in the back of, the 5 GT is a flippin’ Tardis. It's miles roomier than a 5 Series saloon, because it wasn’t based one. The F07 was based on the F01 7 Series. Therefore it uses the same suspension arrangement and also shares its massive wheelbase. At just over three metres, the wheelbase was nearly 10-centimetres longer than the saloon’s. And then there’s the boot.
Now, the F10 saloon’s 520-litre boot was already big, so no complaints there. Indeed, it was 20 litres more than you got with the 5 GT. Except that the 5 GT has a party piece. You can slide the rear bench back and forth, and when you moved it all the way forward you released up to 650 litres of wonderfully long load bay. Of course, the other big advantage over the saloon is its hatchback. You could crane boulders in there if you wanted to, while you had to post objects through the saloon’s narrow opening. And if you folded the 5 GT’s rear seats down flat, you ended up with more space than the 5 Series Touring of the day.
If all this is sounding a bit too MPV for your liking, fair enough. It’s a certainly a litany of humdrum reading about boot volumes and rear-seat legroom. But even if you view the 5 GT as a glorified MPV, how many of those, outside the US, came with a V8 motor? Well, that’s what makes this car a wonderful oddball that’s worth commemorating. Underneath its frumpster looks is an updated N63. The N63B44O1, in fact, which from 2013 was the 4.4-litre V8 with an extra 42hp and 37lb ft of grunt.
The improvements were the result of adding Valvetronic, along with uprated turbochargers, lighter pistons, and a forged crankshaft and connecting rods. It’s a bit stupefying to look at this car’s arguable ungainliness and contemplate it’s got 450hp lurking up front, powering the rear wheels only. Sure, it wasn’t technically an M Car – the V8 may be powerful but it’s missing the S63 designation required to claim that – yet having the ability to whazz up to sixty-odd in five seconds is M-emulating levels of poke. This one also has a generous list of kit to amuse its passengers. Electric seats and steering column, a panoramic roof and self-levelling air suspension, which, being an M Sport trim, is set up to be a bit more dynamic. The 14-spoke, 19-inch M Sport wheels look rather appealing, too.
So there you go. A bit of a stealth performance weapon with practicality and luxury thrown in for good measure. If you like your performance cars to slip under the radar, then it’s well worth bearing this particular 5 GT in mind.
Specification | BMW 550i GT
Engine: 4,395cc, V8, turbocharged
Transmission: 8-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 450 @ 5,500-6,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 480 @ 2,000-4,500rpm
First registered: 2016
Recorded mileage: 39,000
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £25,990
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