2011 BMW 535i Gran Turismo xDrive
On the road, the 535i GT is as quiet as a mouse – the driver can use the ‘Normal’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Sport+’ settings with a console-mounted switch that alters transmission, suspension and steering settings in real time.
The 2011 BMW 535iI Gran Turismo is BMW’s attempt to redefine the classic Italian two-door ‘Gran Turismo’ into a four-door interpretation. It combines disparate elements and ends up in a typical, efficient BMW design, which combines the best of a coupe, sedan and SUV. The advantages are the higher seating position, increased luggage capacity, and a rear tailgate that can be opened like a sedan or a hatchback. The front end is strong and dramatic looking, while the side profile is sleek and high with a short angled coupe type rear end. Best of all is the entry and exit allowing you to slide into the cabin via the generous side doors and the GT’s wide body makes for a roomy interior.
The BMW GT arrives with two engine choices, a three-liter straight six engine with a new ‘Dual Power’ turbocharger system to generate 300 horsepower. A twin-turbo V8, with 400 horsepower is also available. Both engines are mated to a superbly engineered eight-speed automatic transmission with a manual mode feature allowing clutchless shifts. The cabin is a work of art, creamy white, plush, with gleaming wood trim, leather and soft-to-the-touch materials throughout.
The amazing dash has a multitude of dips, valleys and channels and is quite the sight to behold with its large center display and wide center console featuring the advanced information and control command system. The partially digital instrument cluster features beautifully integrated multifunction LCD screens, and there is a massive panoramic central-command screen, our tester also came with an optional heads-up display, which projects info such as speed onto the windscreen like a fighter jet.
There is ginormous room for five, with an optional rear-seating configuration that deletes the rear three-seat bench perch for two classy, individual seats and a neat centre-mounted organizer with cup-holders and other cool bits and pieces. Even second-row passengers get first-class treatment thanks to reclining perches, a giant sunroof, and heated leather at all outboard positions.
The GT comes with pretty much everything – voice command, navigation, advanced radar guided safety features of course the ‘around-view’ parking monitor and side-looking cameras to make parking a breeze.
On the road, the 535i GT is as quiet as a mouse – the driver can use the ‘Normal’, ‘Sport’ and ‘Sport+’ settings with a console-mounted switch that alters transmission, suspension and steering settings in real time. Choose your setting to the road conditions, driving style, and 535 GT turns from ultra-smooth boulevard cruiser to sporty, snappy handling sports sedan/wagon.
BMW’s excellent steering dynamics do not compromise compared to the bigger size and weight of the 535. In fact, it doesn’t handle as responsively as a three series for example, but then again this is not a svelte lightweight sedan.
Under the tester’s hood was BMW’s latest three-liter straight six engine with a new ‘Dual Power’ turbocharger system to generate 300 horsepower. The engine is exceptionally smooth, refined, and teamed with an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual mode. Time your shifts and the manual delivers perfect rev-matched shifts.
A big, grand looking majestic five-door hatch, offers rare looks, comfort, flexibility and superb long-distance driving dynamics.