Crossover, Cross Tour, SUV, 4×4, POS, Urban Utility Vehicle… manufactures have come up with an endless amount of ways to set themselves apart from the competition. Try and picture it for a moment… 7 or 8 marketing executives all sitting in a conference room somewhere, all staring at and easel with stank coffee breath. Up on the board are dozens of acronyms that are supposed to reflect the name of the companies newest product. It’s a laborious process and one that I’d imagine is a nightmare to be a part of.
By the looks of it however BMW just left the conference room, because sitting on the exhibition room floor in front of me was their newest creation. The 2010 550i Gran Turismo PAS or Progressive Activity Sedan. Ladies and gentleman, I ask you… when is enough, enough? If memory recalls it wasn’t too long ago when there was only like 5 different vehicle types roving the streets. The 4-door family sedan, the station wagon (remember those) or mini-van, the sports car, the luxury car and the pick-up truck. That was it – end of story.
So back to the Bimmer. Basically what BMW did was take a 5-series, slap a hatchback on it and give it a new name… that’s it. Obviously there are those of you out there that will disagree with me and say this is the best thing since sliced bread – you would however, be wrong. The 550i GT PAS has everything you’ve come to expect from BMW. All materials are first rate as is the fit and finish. However this is where my compliments end. You see, BMW has lost me with this vehicle as I simply don’t know what it is and or, what it’s trying to be. For instance, if you wanted a sports car from BMW you’d by a Z4 or M3, if you wanted a sedan you’d buy a 7 or 5-series and if you wanted an SUV I would assume you’d check out the X5 or X6. So BMW, why build this thing?
This confusion continues throughout the interior as well. You’ve got this big hatchback that opens up to reveal a decent amount of storage space when the seats are folded down. Then upon inspection of the rear seating compartment you’ll notice the 550i GT only sits 4 as the big center console in the rear doesn’t fold away. Why do this? There are also video monitors integrated into the rear headrests… again, why? I mean is this where you’re putting your crayon carrying kids? If so, why not just go for something a bit more utilitarian like the X5 or X6, I mean at least you’d get AWD (YES! another acronym) with those.
Performance is everything you’d expect from a BMW as the 550i GT sports a 4.4 liter twin-turbo V8 delivering 400 bhp and 450 lb-ft. For some reason though, I feel than any sentence with “V8″ and “twin-turbo” in the same line should put out a heck of a lot more than 400 bhp… that’s just me though. Oh and its also got an 8-speed automatic gear box… ya’ll remember back in the day, when cars only had three or four speeds… crazy right?
At the end of the day the BMW 550i GT looks to be a very well engineered and well built automobile that is facing an identity crises. Hell, maybe that’s why the BMW marketing weenies decided to call it a “Progressive Activity Sedan”. They probably didn’t know what the hell they created either… oh and by the way, it’s $64,000.00.