5 Series Concept GT: BMW's big hatchback?

  • 19-Mar-2009 12:02 EDT

Coupe body design of BMW's 5 Series Concept GT incorporates a split tailgate, offering sedan or hatchback flexibility.

Hatchbacks take a large slice of the European market, dominating the volume sectors. But shift up in size to large cars and there is a marked shift to sedans. Volume manufacturers have dabbled with large hatchbacks, but few can claim success.

So it was surprising to see the BMW Concept 5 Series Gran Turismo at Geneva—the company’s take on the large hatchback. BMW is no stranger to hatchbacks; there was the 1960s 2000 Touring and more recently the 2008 X6, from which the Concept draws a few influences.

The Concept 5 Series GT sits on a 3070-mm (120.9-in) wheelbase. The car offers a slightly raised seating position for its four occupants—574 mm (22.6 in) from the ground for front occupants—a height falling between those of the X6 and 5 Series sedan.

A split tailgate adds versatility, calling on a design feature seen on the Skoda Superb last year. With the top section closed, the lower section opens like a conventional trunk lid. A removable partition wall keeps cabin occupants separate from the outside world.

How much trunk space is available depends on the position of the individual electrically adjustable rear seats, which slide back and forth through 100 mm (3.9 in). With the rear seats in the regular position, BMW claims that rear legroom matches the 7 Series sedan with almost as much headroom as the X5, while providing 430 L (15.1 ft³) of trunk space. Shift them forward and trunk space grows to 570 L (20.1 ft³) while rear legroom matches a 5 Series sedan. Fold down the partition wall that separates the cabin and trunk, then fold the rear seats, and it will open up 1650 L (58.3 ft³) of trunk space accessed with the complete tailgate raised.

The center console runs the length of the cabin separating the rear seats, while above, a panorama glass roof of similar length lightens the interior. The dashboard features a black-panel instrument display and central 10.2-in control display.

Front and rear doors feature frameless windows, whose aluminum body surrounds are milled from one unit, says BMW. LED lamps are used for the daytime running light corona rings around the headlights for the first time on a BMW.

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