New Cars for 2010: Europe

Mark Bramley Greg Pajo
#BMW, #V-8

BMW 550i Gran Turismo

New: A tall wagon based on the next-generation 5-series sedan. It will debut as the 550i GT, with the twin-turbo V-8 familiar from the 7-series and the X6 attached to an eight-speed automatic and powering the rear wheels. A 535i GT follows, with a twin-turbo in-line six; all-wheel drive will be optional.
Noteworthy: BMW thinks there's a market for a practical vehicle for well-to-do empty-nesters that doesn't sacrifice glamour for the sake of practicality. (Yes, Mercedes-Benz R-class, BMW is taking a swipe at you.) The GT rides higher than a 5-series wagon for easier ingress and egress and offers a clever hatch design that really does let the owner decide whether to use the cargo hold as a closed-off conventional trunk or as a hatchback.

Either way, luggage capacity is copious, and depending on the position of the sliding rear seat, back-seat passengers are treated to more legroom than they would have in a short-wheelbase 7-series. And, trust us, the GT looks a lot better on the road than it does in pictures.

On Sale: November
Base Price: $65,000 (est.)
Specs: 4.4L twin-turbo V-8, 400 hp, 450 lb-ft; rear- or 4-wheel drive

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