Did BMW ask anyone how they felt about the 5 Series GT?
We're starting to believe that BMW doesn't have anyone on its payroll paying attention to what customers want. BMW has made a conscious decision to move away from what helped make it great in the '80s, building comfortable cars that were a blast to drive. Modern day BMW cars have more technology and less driver feel, which has been a trend in the whole industry. We could forgive BMW for everything that it has done, but just last week BMW did something that was the final straw for us. It replaced the horrible 5 Series GT with a new model.
Ask any member of any BMW club in the US what the worst looking modern BMW model is, and the unanimous answer is the 5 Series GT: a weird, sort-of crossover that looked like a 5 Series that had been stung by bees. As much as it hurts us to say, the design did have some benefits for people who like to ride a bit high. It also had good storage space and BMW did offer it with a potent V8. Still, just take a look at the Audi A4 Allroad and you can see where BMW went wrong. The A4 Allroad was raised up to fool American consumers into thinking it wasn't a wagon, and has just seven cubic feet less storage (with the seats down) despite being a much smaller car than the 5 Series.
The wagon is making a huge comeback in the US thanks to awesome models like the Mercedes E-Class Estate and the Volvo V90. BMW already spent a ton of development dollars building the excellent 5 Series Touring, and it could have just stopped there. The wagon variant of the 5 Series looks fantastic, so instead of wasting money developing the 6 Series GT, it could have just crash tested the 5 Series Touring for the US market. We have had it with automakers telling us that there isn't any money to develop good wagons. If BMW thinks that Americans hate wagons that much, why does it already sell the 3 Series Wagon in the states? The decision making here completely baffles us.
We wish that BMW had made a better decision with the 5 Series GT, but we were certain that the company couldn't make the same mistake again after receiving so much backlash over the car's ugly looks. Clearly there isn't a person in charge of reading hate mail at BMW because the company has replaced the 5 Series GT with the same stupid design. The car is now called the 6 Series GT, and like the old model, albeit based on the normal G30 5 Series. For now, BMW is only offering the car as a 640i with a 3.0-liter inline-six, which will start at $70,695. That's about $14,000 more than a normal 540i, just to get an extra 12 cubic feet of cargo room and an ugly butt.
We never had the (let's call it) pleasure to drive the 5 Series GT, but we have been in the latest G30 540i. The 640i GT will probably drive very similarly with a ton of comfort and autonomous features. The 6 Series GT will likely have its handling compromised by the higher ride height, so anyone who is looking for a sports sedan should look elsewhere. We simply can't believe that BMW even listened to a single review of the 5 Series GT before revealing the new 6 Series GT. If so, it would have looked at the market and seen that other manufacturers like Audi and Jaguar are getting ready to make the wagon cool again in the US.
At some point, BMW must have stepped back from designing the 6 Series GT and though "crap, we built the same ugly car." While it is an improvement, we've never met anyone who asked us to recommend something that looks like a car and drives like an SUV, but with less storage capacity. We encourage enthusiasts to send angry letters to BMW, because whoever is in charge there has clearly lost touch with what made the company great in the first place. We don't dislike the 6 Series GT out of pure hate, rather because we know that BMW is capable of so much better. This could have been a wagon or a shooting brake, but instead it became something that no one asked for.
When it comes to finding a competitor, we're struggling with the 6 Series GT because there isn't really anything else like it on the market (perhaps for good reason). We could see it competing with luxury SUV-coupe models like the Mercedes GLE Coupe and BMW X6, or wagons like the new Jaguar XF Sportbrake. Either way, we would recommend considering almost anything other than this car. It has been a while since we've felt so strongly about a new car, but clearly BMW hasn't listened to anything we have to say, so we can only make a plea to everyone to help this car fail by not buying it.