The BMW 5 Series GT range comprises two petrol options – the 535i and 550i – and three oilburners 520d, 530d and 535d. The 550i has under the bonnet the same 444bhp V8 as in the X6 xDrive50i. It has a healthy 479lb ft of torque from 2000rpm, meaning plenty of low-end grunt. It's best described as deceptively quick; the numbers on the head-up display always register far higher than you expect, and the V8 is silky smooth all the way through to the red line.
The 3.0-litre, six-cylinder engine installed in the 535i was BMW’s first engine to combine high-precision direct injection with both mechanically driven variable valve timing and lift (Vanos and Valvetronic in BMW-speak) and a twin-scroll turbocharger.
Even though it’s only got one turbo, the new engine slots in where Munich’s twin-turbo petrol six might have in this particular model range, producing 302bhp and an incredibly accessible 295lb ft or torque, available all the way from 1200rpm to 5000rpm. It feels game, precise and surprisingly fast for a two-tonner; 62mph comes up in a hot hatch-besting 6.3sec. There’s abundant torque throughout almost all of the usable rev range, and urgent performance on offer whenever you need it.
Raw figures (0-60mph in 6.3sec and 0-100mph in 17.7sec) understate how effortlessly the 530d GT picks up speed in everyday situations. Maximum torque is available anywhere between 1750 and 3000rpm, an operating range that is easy to maintain with eight forward ratios.