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Famous for performance sedans and, more recently, for a lineup of highly regarded SUVs, BMW through the years has also included in its offerings some very popular station wagons and, well, the 2017 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo. Intended to mix the attributes of a luxury sedan with a crossover SUV and a hatchback car, the GT is aimed at shoppers who need more cargo space and easier loading than a sedan but don't choose to wander into SUV territory. Since their introduction in 2009, GT models have never been top sellers, so presumably the target market is fairly narrow.
The 5 Series GT is being phased out, soon to be replaced by a similar 6 Series version, so updates for the 2017 model year are few. Along with the rest of the 5 Series, it now features enhanced USB and Bluetooth connectivity.
Power for the base 535i GT is supplied by a 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that produces 300 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque, while the 550i gets a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 that generates 445 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque. Both engines drive the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The BMW xDrive all-wheel-drive system, standard on the 550i GT, is an option on the 535i GT.
The base model with two-wheel drive is rated by the EPA at 22 mpg combined (19 city/27 highway). And moving up to the 550i GT will drop the rating to 18 mpg combined (15 city/24 highway).
On the road, the 5 Series GT reveals some of the reasons for the mixed market reaction. The engines are nearly faultless. Even the standard six-cylinder powerplant will prove more than powerful enough for most buyers, and those seeking even better acceleration can move up to the V8 model. The GT's handling, however, might not impress quite as much. Less like a sedan than an SUV in nature, it doesn't quite live up to the best attributes of either. But it does deliver a smooth, relaxed ride, and its cornering ability can be improved with the addition of optional adaptive suspension and BMW's four-wheel steering system.
Inside is where the 5 Series GT shines. The interior boasts the quiet atmosphere and extensive appointments of many upscale luxury sedans. Standard features include leather seats, a navigation system and a panoramic moonroof. And even though it doesn't have the cargo capacity of an SUV, the GT is still capable of carrying more cargo than a typical sedan, and loading is made somewhat easier by a power tailgate that can open as either a trunk or a hatch.
The base 535i GT comes standard with more than enough comfort and convenience features to satisfy most buyers, and the 550i GT adds still more luxury and technology. But enough add-on packages and stand-alone options are available to allow buyers a considerable amount of latitude for personalization. Whatever your preference, let Edmunds help you find just the right 2017 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo to meet your needs.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.