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Styling Misfires:
The BMW 5-Series Gran Turismo

August 5, 2013 by Matt

BMW 5-Series GT Gran Turismo

What on earth, BMW?

So the Mercedes CLS had already established the “4-door coupe” niche in massive fashion a few years before, and BMW’s response was…this? Either the Bavarian automaker’s market research had somehow shown car shoppers were hungry for a quasi-backpack-toting, deformed version of their handsome 5-series sedan, or the “attractive” part of the 4-door coupe equation was totally lost. It seems BMW thought the awkward grafting of a hatchback onto a typically well-proportioned shape would exploit an unexplored corner of the market, but it’s difficult to imagine who would gravitate toward such a stunted shape.

BMW 5-Series GT Gran Turismo

In a way, the 5-Series GT represents the most cynical demonstration yet of its manufacturer trying to coast on brand capital alone. Sure, it might drive well enough, and with the 400-hp, 4.4l twin-turbo V8, the 550i specification can certainly move along at a decent clip, but what about the 5-Series GT, above all else, communicates “Ultimate Driving Machine?” Precious little, and it’s that slogan and mindset that established the BMW brand in the public eye as the premier choice of driving enthusiasts, and by extension those who wanted to convey an impression (real or no) that they appreciate sharp-driving cars. Sadly, with experiments like the 5-Series GT (among others), the focus that made BMW’s reputation is slowly being chipped away. The open question is how long the brand’s luster can remain untarnished with the general buying public after the enthusiast community has moved on to greener pastures.

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Editor’s note: This post is part of an ongoing series wherein we discuss unsuccessful cars whose styling was their overlooked (or denied) Achilles heel. Read the other installments here:

Filed under: Aesthetics, BMW, Styling Misfires


  1. John says:

    Strangely similar to the equally ugly Honda Crosstour/Acura ZDX. Definitely a trough in the cycle of automotive design. To me, all three could be considered the unfortunate grandchildren of the Chevrolet Citation of the early eighties.

    • Matt says:

      The only reason one would buy a 5GT over a Honda Crosstour is the brand cachet. The ONLY reason. They’re remarkably similar cars in overall look and intent.

      The ZDX I lump into the Infiniti FX / BMW X6 worst-of-all-worlds category. Too high to be sporty, too small to be practical, too carlike to be useful offroad…

  2. Ryan says:

    I have to agree. Just looks like an unfinished small SUV.

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