January part 1

* BMW 5GT tested * Year-long review * Tested by John Bradshaw...

January part 1

BMW 530d GT SE
List price 42,225
Target Price 38,825
Run by John Bradshaw, chief photographer
Why its on test The first of the latest 5 Series range is an unusual mix of an estate, crossover and saloon, with a boot that can be opened two different ways but is it as practical as it sounds?

I have a feeling BMW took a bit of inspiration from the Superman comics when it came to the 5 Series Gran Turismo. Is it a hatchback? Is it a saloon? No, its neither. Or both, depending on how you see it.

Let me explain: the 5 GTs boot can be opened one of two ways, either with the whole of the tailgate lifting up (like a hatchbacks) or just the boot lid (like a saloons). I was impressed with how easy it was to use when salesman Adam Basheer at Cooper Thames Ditton (0845 128 2623) showed me around my new car when I picked it up a year ago.

Ive always wanted to own a BMW, but I wanted something a little less conventional than a 5 Series Touring, so the 5 GT looked like a good fit for me.

The cars large size suggested that fitting my photography kit into it wouldnt be a problem, while cabin space would be more than adequate whenever I took out my wife and two sons.

Added extras
The standard equipment available with the entry-level SE trim I picked was plentiful, and included four-zone climate control and leather seats, but I also wanted to raid the options list. The Professional media pack (2415) included sat-nav and Bluetooth, which are necessary for me because Im out on the road a lot.

The Visibility pack (1200), with the xenon headlights and adaptive beams, was equally useful. The 5 GT is a large beast, so I thought it would be a good idea to get a few cameras, including one for reversing (310) and the side view system (300). I also picked the electric seat adjustment (885) and the 20-inch alloys wheels (2430), which I thought looked better than the standard 18-inch ones.

Inside story
I never got tired of getting into my BMW. The cabin was such a good place to be especially if you were the driver. The dash was fantastic because it was perfectly laid out, and it looked and felt luxurious.

Rear camera sensors were good, but they could be fooled by oddly shaped objectsThe large sunroof made the cabin airy, while space for all the passengers was good, too my 12- and 15-year-old boys always had plenty of room in the back and the front passenger was well catered for. The iDrive was also a doddle to use; little things such as getting to the sat-nav screen quickly made my life easier.

However, the boot space was disappointing. It takes 440 litres with the rear seats in place which, compared with the boots in the latest 5 Series Touring (560 litres) and the 7 Series saloon (500 litres) the GT is based on, isnt as good as Id hoped for.

The boot was wide enough for my needs, but it wasnt quite deep enough. Whenever I had to take my work gear with me I had to slide forward the rear seats as far as possible to have a chance of getting everything in. Sometimes I had to fold down the seats to make life easier.