Until recently, BMW seemed to have all the bases covered with its range of 18 distinct model shapes, surely the widest portfolio of any car manufacturer. From the two-seat Z4 to the 1-Series hatchback, to saloons, coup?s and estates, not forgetting the X-Series SUVs, there didn't appear to be a niche that wasn't covered. But BMW noted that some customers were looking for a vehicle that combined estate car and SUV practicality and load space with 7-Series room and comfort. Thus was born the new 5-Series Gran Turismo, a car that looks like no other on the road. The exterior design combines the front end of a 5-Series or 7-Series with the sloping roof of a coup? and the height of an SUV. Inside, there is more rear legroom than in a standard 7-Series and almost as much headroom as in an X5. The term 'Gran Turismo' describes a car that is designed for long-distance driving. A GT must be fast, comfortable and capable of covering long distances with the minimum of driver discomfort. The 5-Series GT ticks the fast and comfortable boxes, but its continent-crossing abilities are obviously a little tricky to ascertain in crowded Hong Kong. Available in either a four-seat Executive specification or a five-seat SE configuration, two engine choices are offered - the 535i GT with a turbocharged three-litre straight six and the 550i GT twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8. BMW's three-litre straight six is one of the world's great engines, and here it is offered with a single TwinScroll turbo, Valvetronic variable valve lift control and direct fuel injection that offer tremendous performance with low fuel consumption and emissions. The TwinScroll turbo overcomes the limitations of turbocharging a straight six by having two separate exhaust streams powering a single turbo vane, allowing better engine breathing and smoother supply of power with no turbo lag. The V8, also a much-lauded power plant, uses two parallel turbos and Valvetronic technology to provide impressive power across the entire rev range. Both models have an electronically limited top speed of 248km/h. The six powers to 100km/h in 6.3 seconds, while the V8 gets there in a supercar-baiting 5.5 seconds. BMW's new eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard on both models. The V8 generates some 600Nm of torque delivered across a wide range of engine speed, so by traditional standards it has about three gears too many. However, the all-new transmission is 6 per cent more fuel-efficient than the previous six-speed automatic, yet it is as compact and weighs the same. The gear change is incredibly smooth and linear. Drive Dynamic Control, a feature that allows drivers to fine-tune the chassis configuration to suit their needs, is also standard on both. Each setting changes the steering assistance, throttle response and gear change. Double-wishbone front suspension and an integral V rear axle with air suspension provide a composed ride. However, the high roll centre means the car feels a little top-heavy, and there is more body roll when cornering than with the standard saloon. So there's comfort and speed in abundance, but what about practicality? The extra height provides a commanding seating position and easier access, while the innovative dual-function boot has a tailgate that allows the rear seats to be folded down to provide up to 1,700 litres of load space. It can also be opened like a conventional boot, allowing the cabin area to remain insulated from the elements and noise. The downside of this trickery is that the gas struts for the tailgate take up a lot of room, drastically curbing the rear mirror view. The interior is typically BMW - simple, stylish and modern with exquisite touches. For the first time in a four-door BMW, the doors are frameless, giving the car a coup? feel. The large Panorama sunroof enhances the spaciousness and brightness of the cabin. The 5-Series GT should appeal to those who want to stand apart from the crowd or who regularly commute to Guangzhou. Prices start at HK$728,000 for the 535i GT and HK$978,000 for the 550i GT.