What we drove: The 2010 BMW 550i Gran Turismo, a large sedan with luxury rear seating and a dual-action tailgate that functions either as a trunk lid or hatch.
With this combination, the car can carry four executives in exceptional comfort to a meeting in another city, or convert easily to a two-passenger station wagon carrying a booth, gear and samples to a trade show or for-sale signs to an open house. Either way, the 400-horsepower engine, 8-speed powertrain and sport package, convenience and entertainment options will make the trip fast and pleasant.
Best features: Comfortable, flexible rear seating; two-way hatchback access; excellent handling and performance.
Worst features: Limited rear visibility with small rear window and tiny side mirrors; two-wheel drive in a heavy car; low fuel efficiency.
Comments: This is a very practical car for the mobile executive, impressive in styling and practical in interior room and flexibility, but so different from other cars and SUVs on the road that it may have trouble finding its market. A smaller engine and all-wheel drive have been promised, which should lower the price, improve mileage and make the car more sensible for use both as a business deduction and as a family transport alternative to an SUV or minivan.
A more detailed review is posted at www.losaltosonline.com.