Need a quirky-looking fastback/hatchback with plenty of go, plenty of posh, and all-wheel drive (AWD)? Check out the four-door, five-passenger 2011 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo 550i xDrive. Some 60 cubic feet of cargo area, with the rear seats folded, places this niche-defying Beemer a notch above the 5 Series sedan for usefulness and cabin comfort, while turbocharged power gives it the ability to more than get out of its own way.
On the outside, complementing its racy appearance, are standard 18-inch alloy wheels and a power glass sunroof, as well as a slick dual-action hatchback that can be opened in sections or in total for easier cargo access. Inside, standard leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and leather, wood, and alloy cabin accoutrements add a touch of posh, with the power-adjustable front seats complemented by dual-zone climate control. Standard techno-gadgetry, meanwhile, includes telescoping tilt-wheel steering, power accessories, including heated, reverse-tilting outside mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, and BMW Assist boasting roadside assistance, driving directions, and Bluetooth-aided hands-free communications. Entertainment is delivered with a 205-watt single-CD player and 12 speakers, and, along with the climate control system, is made more occupant-friendly with BMW's iDrive electronic interface technology. Finally, a voice-activated DVD navigation system, universal remote garage door opener, and auto-dimming inside and outside mirrors are added standard features that elevate the 550i xDrive a notch above its lesser siblings.
Options for this plush AWD hatchback include Integrated Active Steering, where all four wheels turn for more precise maneuvering, Nappa leather upholstery, four-zone automatic climate control, active cruise control, head-up windshield display, heated front seats, satellite radio, rear-seat entertainment, and smartphone integration. A total of nine options packages, meanwhile, add in a heated steering wheel, top, side, and rear camera systems, adaptable suspension system, 19-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels, heated, ventilated, and power-adjustable rear seating, and a 600-watt premium sound system upgrade.
Standard safety items for the traction-savvy 5 Series Gran Turismo 550i xDrive include four-wheel ABS, traction and stability control, front and rear head airbags, front head restraint whiplash protection, and dual front side-mounted airbags. Further safety equipment includes daytime running lights, front fog/driving lights, self-leveling HID headlights, a remote antitheft alarm, and emergency braking preparation, while the standard BMW Assist service adds emergency assistance, airbag deployment notification, and stolen vehicle tracking technology. Optional safety equipment, meantime, can include Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection, as well as Active Roll Stabilization with the Dynamic Handling Package and active front headrests that are part of the Sport Package.
A standard twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine, pounding out 400 hp, powers the 2011 5 Series Gran Turismo 550i xDrive. A standard 8-speed auto-manual transmission allows for some 450 lb-ft of torque, with a center-mounted mechanical differential as well as a center and rear limited-slip differential managing the full-time AWD (xDrive) system. Mileage is estimated at 15/22 despite variable valve timing, and the twin-turbo V8 burns only premium unleaded gasoline.