Thursday, March 24, 2011

Car review: BMW 530d GT F07

Model (Code / Model Year): BMW 530d Gran Turismo (F07 / 2009)

Engine: 3 liter 6-cylinder (in-line) diesel engine
Transmission: 8 speed automatic transmission
Paintwork & Interior + interior trim + wheels: Sapphire Black Metallic; leather Dakota Ivory White / Black + Anthracite Ash-grain woord trim + styling 235 19-inch alloy wheels
Optional Equipment: Cruise control (standard), 6-disc DVD-changer, BMW Assist online portal, Head-up Display, Telephone USB audio interface, Voice Control, Loudspeaker System – BMW Professional, Navigation System – BMW Professional Multimedia, Bluetooth phone prep + telematics, Exterior mirrors auto dimming, Tailgate operation (automatic), Panoramic glass sunroof, Ambient lighting, Floor mats (velour), Lumbar support driver and front passenger, Rear-view mirror auto dimming, seat heating (front), Ski bag, Automatic Air conditioning with four-zone control, Smokers package, Comfort seats (front), High-beam Assistant, Lange change warning system, Tyre pressure monitor, Xenon headlights, ParkDistanceControl (PDC, front and rear), Headlight wash, Adaptive Drive, Comfort Access, Integral Active Steering, Reversing Assist camera, Speed limit display, Side View Camera
Performance: 245hp / 540nm
0 to 100km/h: 6,9sec
Top speed: 240km/h (150mp/h)
Weight: 1935kg
Fuel tank (US gallons): 70 liter (18.49 US gallons)
Fuel consumption in liter / 100km (U.S. miles per gallon): 10,6 liter / 100 kilometer (22,19mpg / US)
Price (Germany): €81.740
F07 engines driven: 530d, 535i

BMW has introduced a new “big brother” in the 5-series range, but what exactly is hiding behind the “Gran Turismo” badge? Is it really a 5-series, or does it share more then just the platform with the larger 7-series? Carry on reading this review and you will find out!

1. Exterior

Unmistakenly the Gran Turismo is a BMW, it features the typical kidneys and the Angel Eyes that have been common on other BMW's already. One minor change can be noted here, the previous Angel Eyes always had a “yellow glow” in it, while the GT was the first to feature a more “blue glow”, which now also can be found on the 3-series (with the optional LED-package) and the regular 5-series.

The main difference is the back of the car, it is in between a regular sedan and an estate. This body shape has its advantages for the rear passengers, which will be discussed in section 3. Furthermore the back also features the BMW typical LED-bars with the “L-shape that can be found throughout the model range.

2. Engine, Transmission & handling

BMW's 3.0 liter 6-in-line diesel engine (245hp) powers the 530d Gran Tourismo. For regular driving this engine is more then enough, although the weight and height of the car make it somewhat slower at high speeds compared to the regular 530d or 730d. The same applies for the fuel consumption, which is slightly higher then that of a 530d and on the same level as the 730d.

Although the Gran Turismo and the 7-series share the same engine (and a 7-series derived platform), the GT already is fitted with the new 8-speed gearbox which is not yet available on all the 7-series. More gears mean that the engine can shift down faster which results in less engine noise / revs and therefore fuel consumption.

Comfortable travelling is at the basis of the Gran Turismo concept, it handles not that dynamic as other BMW's (partially due to the high weight) but compensates by having an extremely comfortable ride. Adaptive Drive enables the driver to alter the characteristics (suspension, engine, steering, pedal response) of the car according to the “comfort, normal, sport and sport+” mode. In the sport and sport+ mode the aforementioned elements are firmed up and respond a bit faster, while in the normal and comfort mode the car softens more in order to provide a more laid-back feeling that tries to filter the nuisance of everyday traffic.

But make no mistake, due to its size and ride comfort, the 5-series Gran Turismo more resembles the 7-series then one might expect from the badging.

3. Interior

More similarities can be found in the interior, not only the cockpit layout is almost exactly the same, also the interior design and build quality of the 5-series Gran Turismo and 7-series is very comparable.

BMW 750Li F02

BMW 530d GT F07

The only critique is the position of the buttons for the seats, as the driver cannot see them he / she has to feel what button is used. Especially the buttons for the lumbar support are hard to find and can create some annoyance. Another small point of bother are the comfort seats, they are praised as to be one of the best seats on the market, because of the many positions it can be put into. To my experience however, it can take a while until one can find the perfect seating position, that why I usually prefer regular sport seats, they lack the options and one can almost find immediately a good seating position.

4.Optional Equipment

This section discusses (part of) the optional equipment available on the F01. Ranking from 1 (definitely a yes), 2 (nice to have, but not a minimum requirement) to 3 (not worth the money).

BMW Assist online portal (ranking 2) = provides the driver with a helpdesk to assist with any questions or issues, from the next Italian restaurant to the nearest dealership. Definately a must for the driver that travels a lot.

Head-up Display (ranking 3) = Is a very nice feature, but not absolutely necessary, especially undesirable because of the high price.

USB audio interface (ranking 1) = Allows a direct (iDrive) navigation of your iPod / iPhone / Blackberry with just the “plug of a button”.

Loudspeaker System – BMW Professional (ranking 2) = Only the professional ear / music listener needs the “big” audio system, otherwise the normal system is sufficient.

Navigation System – BMW Professional (ranking 1) = The business navigation comes with a small screen and look optically less attractive, so I'd prefer the Nav Pro as one is likely to use it every day.

Tailgate operation (automatic) (ranking 1) = The boot lid of the 5-series GT is quite heavy, some assistance is very helpful, another advantage is that one can keep his / hers hands clean when opening the boot when the car is dirty.

Panoramic glass sunroof (ranking 2) = Let's a huge amount of light into the car giving the car a roomier feeling, but with a large price tag it should only come second to other important features.

Ambient lighting (ranking 2) = Should also come second, but is relatively cheap and provides a nice atmosphere in the (dark) car.

Automatic Air conditioning with four-zone control (ranking 2) =

Comfort seats (front) (ranking 2) = I'd prefer the sport seats and free up some budget for other items.

Lange change warning system (ranking 1) = Every driver is bound to make a mistake at one point, this system helps when the driver is does not pay enough attention when changing lanes. Very helpful feature and might save you one accident at one day!

Xenon headlights (ranking 1) = Apart from a minor advantage in the lighting of the road and the increasing the visibility, xenon headlights give a car a more business like look and therefore is one of the most important options on my list.

ParkDistanceControl (front and rear) (ranking 1) = The car is hard to oversee, in order not to hit obstructions the PDC is absolutely vital.

Reversing Assist camera (ranking 1) = As the rearward vision is minimal, the camera is vital to for the driver.

Final thoughts:

Gran Turismo, the name says it all, the 5-series GT is a car designed for “grand tours” and succeeds very well in this job. It is a very comfortable car to drive long distances in, while the space inside allows passengers to have an equally comfortable ride. From my experience, the 5-series GT is on the same level as the 7-series, it matches its bigger brother not only in terms of comfort but also has the same level of build quality. The main difference between the 530d GT and 730d is the price tag, with the Gran Turismo you get (almost) the same for €20.000 less, therefore making the GT a very good buy.

For video´s on the performance (acceleration and flat out) of the BMW 530d Gran Turismo, please watch the two video´s below:


Pictures of the BMW 530d Gran Turismo can be viewed by clicking on the gallery below:

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