A published design sketch for the 5er GT
Illustration: BMW

I have no doubt that BMW’s design team is one of the best in the world, given the best training and equipped with the best tools. But when your design brief is to make the 5 Series into the hulking quasi-crossover BMW 5 Series GT, there’s really nowhere to go but down.

As such, it’s interesting to see the whole early design process for—a new BMW!—knowing that it’s all going to go south. There’s so much promise! There are so many nice details, with super handsome headlights and well-sculpted fenders. It all looks so... so good, at least in the sketches.

And then we know that it will just end up with terrible proportions when it comes to actually translating into a production car, one meant to carry people around and be practical, but not so practical that it’s a wagon, more stylish, so with a sloping roof, but not too sloping, and big, but not so low and wide that it’s not usable, but again not too usable or else it would look like a brick, and so on and so on until you have the jack-of-all-trades 5er GT.

If anything, watching this video has given me a lot of empathy for car designers, whose skill is sometimes blown on a project that’s never gonna look right. And I also kinda like the 5er GT now. Nobody wants one. A cheap V8 BMW with a hatchback doesn’t sound so bad, at least.