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This BMW is a real PAS

Posted by Clifford Atiyeh  February 13, 2009 03:43 PM

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BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo(BMW)

So this, a lowered BMW X6, is Chris Bangle's latest, greatest, and final creation. Where is the media firestorm this time?

Bangle, the company's now-departed design chief, has been responsible for the most controversial cars in BMW's history, and despite the criticism, his work has helped sell more BMWs than ever.

His signature "surface flames" and infamous "Bangle butts" have turned every BMW product launch since the 2002 7 Series into a group session of electroshock therapy. Aside from Infiniti's wild FX, mainstream production cars haven't gotten much livelier than a new BMW.

But Bangle's 5 Series Gran Turismo concept looks very tame - and dare we say it - unoriginal, if only because the Z4, 6 Series, 5 Series, and X6 have completely desensitized the auto show crowd. We've seen the big nostrils before, and the body creases and flat, puffy rear ends.

The only bit of surprise comes from the marketing department, which never fails at adding new entries to the dictionary of useless automotive acronyms. Instead of admitting what the 5 Series Gran Turismo really is - a crossover, inflated station wagon, or Chrysler Pacifica clone - BMW has proclaimed it the world's first "Progressive Activity Sedan." According to the press release, that means it "combines the looks and appearance of a sporty BMW Sedan, a modern Sports Activity Vehicle, and a classic Gran Turismo."

Buyers still call the "Sport Activity Vehicle" X5 a plain-old sporty SUV, and still are figuring out what the "Sport Activity Coupe" X6 actually is. When the 5 Series PAS debuts in Geneva next month, Chris won't be there to explain.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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19 comments so far...
  1. It's a four door hatchback.

    Posted by Chris February 14, 09 12:16 AM
  1. All the criticism is understandable to some degree, but everyone follows in the footsteps of BMW. It's hilarious to me when people buy an Infiniti and say "it goes faster than a 3-series!!". Well the Infiniti comes with ONE big V6 engine, and the BMW 3-series has had up to THREE options for V6 engine in the same model year. An Infiniti G35 will probably go faster in a straight line than a BMW 325i from a few years ago, sure. But is it faster than a 335i? Probably not.

    In any case, BMW usually sets the standard, allows other companies to tag along for the ride, then leapfrogs everyone a few years later. BMW is expanding its offerings even as it keeps its full-maintenance warranty around - this is a great company, even if it'll take you a few years to warm up to this new model.

    Posted by FJ February 14, 09 06:25 AM
  1. Interesting how it isn't mentioned here that the Taurus and Taurus X are completely different cars, but somehow BMW isn't allowed to make what's essentially a hatch edition of its 5-series. Not sure why BMW would NOT differentiate the lineup there as it still sells very well.

    Posted by FJ February 14, 09 06:37 AM
  1. "a crossover, inflated station wagon, or Chrysler Pacifica clone"

    it is none of these - it is a hatchback. a grand tourer.

    and it's more utilitarian than a sedan. sedans are design flaws. anything with more than 2 doors should have a hatched opening in the back - be them hatches or wagons.

    Posted by mikeybigboy February 14, 09 09:08 AM
  1. it's ugly. No one posted otherwise in any forum or comments. You usually get mixed comments when something 'new' is out, but this manages to hit only one side of the crowd, the negative side. BMW sell for what they are, not for how they look. Sure they are original, but so can be a soap box. The genius is to be original and look better than the mainstream cars, like for example the original Z4. the 1 series, 6 series, 7 series and this look ugly to the general public.

    Want to see proper design artwork? Alfa romeo GTC, Maserati gran turismo, Aston Martin, Chevrolet corvette and new camaro etc....

    Posted by mimi February 14, 09 11:46 AM
  1. My husband bought me a 325xi as a surprise to replace a Saab convertible that I loved but broke down all the time. I loved it. After we had our second child the replacement came as a 530xi wagon. There is nothing like driving a BMW and I hope I drive it for 10 years. The service that you get at BMW is outstanding. They really make you feel like you are the most important on earth. We also have a 1992 convertible we call the jalopy and it is a blast to drive. There are no substitutes as far as I am concerned. In NE have you driven a car with a heated steering wheel? It seems so frivious but becomes such a necessary. These new models might not be for everyone but I will always find some model to fit my lifestyle. BWW drivers are loyal

    Posted by bmwenthusiast February 14, 09 10:11 PM
  1. mimi, everyone copies BMW's designs anyway, so does it matter if it's ugly or not? the answer is no. i personally like the look of it.

    Posted by FJ February 15, 09 08:16 AM
  1. its an inline 6... BMW doesn't make a v6

    Posted by bmwguy February 15, 09 02:01 PM

    Posted by REDLADY February 15, 09 04:54 PM
  1. NO V6 for BMW they only make Inline-6 but I get what your saying since its faster than a saying that it doest say much at all, since a 318 is only a four cylinder and a 335i is a twin turbo I-6, which I doubt and know Infinity wont beat

    Posted by Bimmer Tech February 16, 09 07:55 AM
  1. calm down, REDLADY.

    we need more hatches, wagons, and grant tourers in the US! new Audi A4 allroad wagon is a perfect example... a great new wagon that won't be coming to America.

    Posted by mikeybigboy February 17, 09 09:53 AM
  1. I was impressed with the G35, especially the interior, but chose a 330 coupe instead. Like the reader said before, the G35 may beat a regular 3-series off the line, but when it comes to handling and everyday driving, the 3-series is the king.

    Posted by kdilkington February 17, 09 10:15 AM
  1. Honestly people, get over your BMW egos. I had a 2005 545i and while it was fun to drive and looked great, it looked more "go" than it could offer. Too much doe and not enough go. I'm an Audi S6 fan now - interior, handling, performance far exceeds anything BMW offers.

    Posted by kenny b February 17, 09 04:52 PM
  1. It's another 5 workers from the US out of jobs.

    Posted by Jason February 18, 09 05:14 PM
  1. 330 coupe? uh you mean sedan? they only make 328 and 335 coupes.

    Posted by word February 18, 09 11:15 PM
  1. Kenny, you're comparing apples and astronauts.

    The S6 has 100 more BHP than the base 5-series Bimmer, but costs about 20 large more than the Bimmer. Run your S6 against an M5, and then you have a truer comparo....

    Posted by Kinky-Hoffmeister February 19, 09 11:57 AM
  1. You have to see this car in person to get a real impression of it's oddness - mostly it is a Scale-Model of a small Hatchback enlarged to SUV proportions. It does not make a lot of sense - it doesn't solve problems, but seems to create a few new ones relating to space/lack of space...

    Posted by Thehotch February 23, 09 08:45 AM
  1. I sold BMW's for 5 years and the big thing with BMW is quality of the product. The fit and finish is on another level as compared to Infinity. Infinity's a great buy if you don't want to spend the money.

    I don't understand the guy talking about style comparisons with manufacturers whose cars cost double and triple what a BMW costs.

    As manufacturers across the board get better at making aerodynamic cars the similarities are going to become more apparent. A car has to be a certain size and shape to perform a particular way. To avoid blending in, manufacturers will continue to try and produce radical designs.

    Posted by k February 23, 09 01:48 PM
  1. I don't understand the outcry for this was a no brainer idea for BMW to design and build it. The majority of the parts they already have from their 5 series, so design cost was minimal. They will sell a boatload of them because they are different, and they are actually more utilitarian than the 5. There is nothing better to drive everyday than a BMW. And like the other Bangle designs, they will grow on you and you will like them.
    And for the guy posting about the can't even compare these two cars as far as I'm concerned due to the fact that the Audi is a front drive platform and the BMW is rear comparison between the two.

    Posted by MJB February 23, 09 04:39 PM

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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
In the garage: 2006 Subaru Baja
AAA's Car Doctor, John Paul John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
In the garage: Hyundai Sante Fe, Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible
Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
In the garage: 1968 Buick Riviera, 1996 Buick Roadmaster, 1974 Honda CB450
Keith Griffin is president of the New England Motor Press Association and edits the used car section on He also writes for the Hartford Business Journal and various weekly newspapers in Connecticut.
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George Kennedy is a senior writer for WheelsTV in Acton, which produces video reviews for Yahoo, MSN, and other auto websites.
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