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2016 BMW 550 Gran Turismo Overview

James Flammang
Contributing Editor - September 21, 2015

Picking a four-door sedan with a trunk isn’t the only way to enjoy the driving dynamics of BMW’s midsize 5 Series. Based on the long-familiar 5 Series, the 550 Gran Turismo is a four-door hatchback, whose tall body stops a bit short of typical crossover SUV height.

As a result, this distinctively-designed offshoot yields substantially more practical utility and cargo space than even the biggest luxury sedans. Best of all, you still get all the 5 Series’ mechanical and electronic elements that make for a precise and enjoyable road experience, including BMW’s brawny V8 engine.

What's New for 2016

Gearshift paddles now are standard. So are satellite radio and Harman Kardon surround sound. Enhanced USB and Bluetooth is now standard on all 5 Series sedans, including Mobile Office, an additional microphone, Bluetooth for a second phone, and library browsing. Turbine-style 19-inch alloy wheels now are optional. All 550 Gran Turismos have all-wheel drive.

BMW 550 Gran Turismo Front

Choosing Your BMW 550 Gran Turismo

While BMW’s 535 Grand Turismo holds a six-cylinder engine, the 550 version unleashes a 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 that makes 445 horsepower, matched with an eight-speed automatic transmission with sport and manual-shift modes. BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system is standard. An automatic stop-start function can shut the engine off at stoplights, for improved fuel-efficiency.

As expected, the Gran Turismo is lavishly equipped, with such features as leather-upholstered seating with 20-way power in front, driver’s memory functions, a power liftgate, rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio, and a panoramic sunroof. The 600-watt Harman Kardon surround-system has 16 speakers. Front and rear parking sensors are included, along with navigation, satellite and HD radio, dark wood interior trim, adaptive xenon headlights, and 18-inch V-spoke wheels. A full complement of integrated smartphone apps can assist with navigation and communications.

Two design lines are optional: Luxury and M Sport. For $2,000, Luxury models come with multi-spoke 19- or 20-inch wheels, a choice of two wood interior trims, LED foglamps, and exclusive seat stitching. Priced at $3,950, M Sport gets an aerodynamic body kit, 19-inch V-spoke wheels, dark exterior trim, “M” steering wheel, anthracite headliner, and a higher top-speed limiter.

You can also customize your Gran Turismo with option packages:

  • The Executive package adds automatic soft-close doors, a head-up display, and ceramic controls.
  • A Cold Weather package provides heated front and rear seats and a heated steering wheel, as well as headlight washers.
  • Safety is the theme of the Driver Assistance Plus package, which includes blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, a side- and top-view camera system, plus collision warning and mitigation with pedestrian detection. Adaptive cruise control is optional.
  • The Dynamic Handling package firms up the suspension, using adaptive dampers and active roll stabilization.
  • Ventilated and massaging front seats make up the Luxury Seating package.
  • A lighting package includes adaptive full LED lights and automatic high beams.

CarsDirect Tip

If you don’t really need V8 power, the six-cylinder 535i Gran Turismo is worth considering. Priced at least $9,300 lower, it’s available with either rear-drive or all-wheel drive. Most options and packages for the 550 Gran Turismo are a matter of personal taste. An exception is the $3,500 Dynamic Handling Package, which effectively compensates for the Gran Turismo's additional height and weight, helping it handle much like a 5 Series sedan.

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