Tony O'Kane | Feb 16, 2009

BMW has released a handful of official images of its genre-straddling 5 Series Gran Turismo concept, and announced that the innovative fastback hatch will be getting its global debut at the Geneva Auto Show in March.

Don't let the generous proportions and presence of four doors fool you: the 5 Series Gran Turismo is strictly a four-seater. The Gran Turismo concept is, according to BMW parlance, a Progressive Activity Sedan. On the face of it, however, it's really a hatchback - and a fairly sizable one at that.

BMW 5 series Gran Turismo concept

It's bigger in all dimensions than its far more prosaic 5 Series sedan cousin, but rather than converting all that physical bulk into a maximum of passenger and cargo-carrying ability, BMW have instead opted to craft the Gran Turismo into a luxury car that trades utility for space, comfort and mod-cons.

They certainly haven't failed in that regard. The four occupants are cosseted by electrically adjustable leather-trimmed bucket seats, while rear headroom and legroom are a match for that offered by the BMW X5 and 7 Series. Getting in and out is also facilitated by the Gran Turismo's height, which allows passengers to simply step into the seats, rather than having to stoop into a low-ceilinged cabin or clamber aboard a high-riding SUV.

BMW 5 series Gran Turismo concept

A sizable centre console runs between the rear seats and carries air-conditioning buttons and controls for the two seatback-mounted LCD entertainment screens, while a panoramic sunroof stretches overhead.

Interior accoutrements aside, the Gran Turismo's real party piece is that sloping rear hatch. Like we mentioned before, the Gran Turismo's hatch utilises a dual hinge system that allows owners to open the bottom half only (like a traditional bootlid) for when only small items need to be carried. The hatch opens normally to accept larger loads, while the boot's 570 litre capacity can be expanded to 1650l by folding the rear seats down.

BMW 5 series Gran Turismo concept

The Gran Turismo concept will most likely preview a production version that may arrive later this year. This means that BMW's new direction of merging slightly disparate vehicle categories may extend beyond the somewhat perplexing (but inexplicably successful) X6.

Comprehensive tech specs, engine details and performance figures have yet to be revealed, but it won't be a long wait until the 5 Series GT makes its official debut at Geneva on March 5. We'll keep you posted.

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