Used 2016 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo Review
Edmunds expert review
The 2016 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo is an odd mix of midsize and full-size luxury sedans, crossover SUVs and hatchbacks. There is much to like but also much to scratch your head about.
What's new for 2016
Somewhere in the rolling green hills of Bavaria, deep within the nether regions of BMW R&D, guarded by surly blond men in crisp uniforms is a three-story Cuisinart known as the Ultimate Blending Machine. It was here where the 2016 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo was concocted: A 5 Series, 7 Series and X6 were dropped in, someone pressed "Mix" and a curious Italian name was applied. Like one of those odd tropical fruit smoothies on the right side of a Jamba Juice menu, the 5 GT is an automotive mixture that blends some of the best elements of its ingredients, but is ultimately a bit odd and not to everyone's tastes.
While everything you just read is an obvious fabrication, the metaphor rings true. The 5 GT may be called a 5 Series, but it is in fact based on the larger, previous-generation 7 Series platform, imbuing it with enough stretch-out legroom to accommodate your typical Golden State Warrior. It has more of an SUV-like ride and seating height than its sedan siblings, though, plus a larger cargo area. That's made possible by an X6-like sloping rear tailgate, which in car form makes more sense and has the added benefit of a novel dual-mode opening mechanism. Meanwhile, the 5 GT boasts the same impeccable build quality, remarkably strong engines and long features list that make BMW such a desirable luxury brand.
Photographing the 5 GT next to handsome furniture and well-dressed men is not a sufficient distraction from its ungainliness.
Those would be the tasty bits, but now for the aftertaste. Sure, it has extra cargo space, but a similarly priced crossover SUV would have even more, while providing an even more commanding view of the road ahead. Plus, with its higher center of gravity and extra girth, its driving dynamics are far more akin to a crossover SUV. And then there's the styling, which easily could've spawned a Frankenstein metaphor if we hadn't already gone with the blender one.
Really, we think there are more successful blends out there. The Audi A7 provides extra cargo room courtesy of its hatchback, but maintains its car driving dynamics and looks pretty sensational to many an eye. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon is an old-school blend, but a great one, with SUV-like cargo space and even a third row tacked onto its 100-percent car underpinnings. SUVs like the BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne provide greater utility and truly impressive agility for their size. Plus, there are always regular old sedans like the 5 Series and redesigned 7 Series.
In the end, though, no other automaker offers a vehicle quite like the 5 Series Gran Turismo, so if you're attracted to its specific mixing and matching of automotive ingredients (especially its extra rear legroom), then your car shopping spree is bound to end after trying out the result of the Ultimate Blending Machine.
Trim levels & features
The 2016 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo is a five-passenger hatchback available in two trim levels that correspond with engine size: 535i and 550i.
The 535i comes standard with 18-inch wheels, a self-leveling rear air suspension, automatic and adaptive xenon headlights, automatic wipers, front and rear parking sensors, LED fog and running lights, power-folding and auto-dimming heated mirrors, a power liftgate, a panoramic sunroof, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 10-way power front seats with driver memory functions and four-way lumbar adjustment, a 40/20/40-split folding rear seat and leather upholstery. Standard technology features include BMW's iDrive electronics interface (knob/button controller and 10.2-inch screen), a navigation system, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, BMW Assist and Remote Services emergency communications, and a 12-speaker sound system with a CD player, HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack, a USB port, a media player interface and 20GB of digital music storage.
A panoramic sunroof is standard.
The 535i's Premium package adds keyless ignition and entry, soft-close automatic doors and satellite radio.
The 550i gets standard xDrive all-wheel drive (optional on 535i) and a bigger engine, plus a rearview camera, keyless ignition and entry, 14-way "multicontour" front seats, satellite radio and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. These items are available as options on the 535i. The 550i's Executive package adds a head-up display, the soft-close automatic doors and special ceramic-trimmed interior buttons and knobs.
For more equipment, pick the Cold Weather package for heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel and retractable headlight washers. The Luxury Seating package adds ventilated front seats, a seat bottom massage function and on the 535i, the multicontour seats. There's also a Lighting package that adds adaptive LED headlights and automatic high beam control.
The Driver Assistance package (535i only) adds a rearview camera and a head-up display. The Driver Assistance Plus package includes those items plus side- and top-view parking cameras and blind-spot, lane-departure and frontal collision warning systems with automatic braking and pedestrian detection. The Dynamic Handling package adds an adaptive suspension for improved ride and handling.
Stand-alone options include bigger wheels, the rearview camera, side- and top-view cameras, adaptive cruise control, a night vision display and warning system, an automated parallel parking system, power rear sunshades and manual rear sunshades, heated front seats, a dual-screen rear entertainment system, the ceramic controls and a 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system. Also available is Integral Active Steering, which provides the rear wheels with the ability to turn for improved stability and maneuverability.
With a much longer wheelbase than the regular 5 Series, the GT has a much larger backseat.
Performance & mpg
The 2016 BMW 535i is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 good for 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive are standard; "xDrive" all-wheel drive is optional. BMW estimates it will go from zero to 60 mph in a little longer than 6 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 22 mpg combined (19 city/28 highway) with rear-wheel drive and 21 (18/26) with all-wheel drive.
The BMW 550i xDrive has a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 good for 445 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque. The eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive are standard. BMW estimates that it'll hit 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. The EPA estimates 19 mpg combined (16/24).
Standard safety equipment for all 2016 BMW 5 Series GTs includes antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. The brakes also feature fade-resisting, hill-holding and drying functions. A rearview camera is standard on the 550i GT and optional on the 535i GT. Also standard are BMW Assist and Remote Services emergency communications, which include automatic crash notification, an emergency response button, remote door unlock and stolen vehicle recovery.
Major safety options include blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning and forward collision warnings, along with pedestrian detection and automatic braking. There is also the Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection system that uses an infrared sensor to detect people and objects outside of headlight range.
In government crash testing, the 5 Series Gran Turismo received an overall rating of five stars, including four stars for frontal impacts and five stars for side impacts.
No surprises in here: BMW at its best.
On the road, you can definitely detect the 2016 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo's 7 Series genes. There's a sense of supreme confidence at all speeds, and the ride is supple and nearly silent, even on rough surfaces. It's as if you're driving a more advanced form of transportation. Well, in a straight line, at least. If you try to get frisky going around a bend, as some BMW drivers are inclined to do, the 5 GT's high center of gravity yields substantial body roll and a burly, crossover-like feel. The handling remains secure, to be sure, but it may disappoint those who are drawn to BMW's high-performance image.
The engines, however, have impeccable performance credentials. Although the 535i GT tips the scales at more than 4,500 pounds, its turbocharged inline-6 delivers smooth, linear acceleration that makes its 300-hp rating seem quite conservative. As for the 550i GT, its sublime V8 whisks it to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds flat, which is astonishingly quick for anything this spacious inside. The eight-speed automatic provides quick, almost seamless shifts that are fully consistent with this level of luxury.
The 5 Series Gran Turismo is at its best when you're settled inside. The design and materials match the standards of BMW's 7 Series flagship, with liberal applications of supple leather, rich wood trim and nicely textured plastic. The 535i's standard front seats are pretty comfortable in their own right, but the 14-way multicontour chairs (standard on 550i) are worth every penny, providing superlative support and an incredible range of adjustments. The roomy rear seats are nearly as comfortable, thanks to tilt-and-slide adjustability and copious passenger space. We also like the standard iDrive interface for its crisp graphics and logical menus, though compared with some rival systems, it sometimes seems to require a few more twirls and clicks to get what you want.
The Gran Turismo's distinctive tailgate has two sections. The upper section is a typical hatchback tailgate with an integrated window, but if you only need to access the trunk area, you can leave the upper section in place and open just the lower section, which is top-hinged like a sedan's trunk lid. A removable package tray creates a partition between trunk and cabin, stowing neatly under the load floor when not in use. Why did BMW bother? Because opening only the lower section keeps the cabin sealed, enabling stress-free loading in inclement weather.
In terms of capacity, the trunk section can hold up to 17.7 cubic feet of stuff, while folding down the 40/20/40-split rear seatbacks opens up a maximum of 63.6 cubic feet. The maximum figure is actually on par with the BMW X5 crossover, but most midsize luxury crossovers have more space.
Seats-up trunk space isn't much different from a sedan's, but lowering the seats yields greater versatility.
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.