2021 BMW M550i xDrive overview: All of the M5 you actually need

Aventurin Purple is a chef’s-kiss-dot-gif colour.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The BMW M550i xDrive is 90% of the automobile the M5 is, and in some methods, it is truly higher. The M550i gives robust V8 energy and an extended checklist of tech and creature comforts. What it lacks in outright track-attack ferocity it greater than makes up for with larger general stability and a a lot nicer journey high quality. Given the selection, I might choose the M550i as my each day driver.

LikeBig V8 gives large powerChassis is properly tuned for each consolation and sportPlush inside with numerous amenitiesiDrive tech is simple to make use of

Do not LikeNumb steering feelDriver-assistance choices value extraPoor gas economic system

The M550i makes use of BMW’s twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8, with 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque working by an 8-speed automated transmission. All informed, the all-wheel-drive M550i can speed up to 60 mph in simply 3.6 seconds, which implies it is faster than its key rivals, the Audi S6 and Mercedes-AMG E53, each of which use extra sedate six-cylinder engines. The BMW even comes with a correct launch management perform, which I am certain most individuals won’t ever use.

Sure, the M5 makes use of a tweaked model of the identical V8 engine, and sure, it makes as a lot as 617 hp in Competitors guise. However the torque output is identical for the M550i, M5 and M5 Comp, and that quick-release turbocharged thrust is what you will depend on most whereas pulling away from stoplights and merging onto the freeway. The bottom M5 is 0.Four seconds faster to 60 mph than the M550i, and that is not a disparity you will discover 99% of the time, if ever.

The M550i makes use of BMW’s Steptronic Sport automated transmission, which is form of a best-of-both-worlds gearbox. It shifts with the quickness of a dual-clutch transmission however has a torque converter, which makes it smoother at low speeds and when partaking first gear. The gearbox additionally works with the M550i’s customary navigation system and non-compulsory adaptive cruise management to predictively downshift shift for corners or slower vehicles forward of you, all primarily based on info the varied techniques choose up. Steel, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters allow you to handle your individual shifts if you need, however that is one more case the place the transmission is smarter than I’m. I am completely glad to let it do its personal factor.

I will not low cost the M5’s capacity to hustle round a race course, however I additionally refuse to consider that something greater than a tin proportion of M5 consumers truly take their vehicles to the observe. The tradeoff for the M5’s sharp reflexes is an usually punishing metropolis and freeway journey high quality, even with the adaptive dampers set to Consolation.

BMW’s 4.4-liter V8 gives 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The M550i, alternatively, is much better balanced for on a regular basis driving. Put the M550i into its Sport or Sport Plus settings and it is obtained ample poise on winding highway. The usual sport rear differential retains the rear finish speaking whereas the xDrive all-wheel-drive system strikes energy the place it is wanted most. M Sport brakes provide numerous stopping energy they usually’re straightforward to modulate. In the meantime the Bridgestone Potenza tires are good and grippy. My solely beef is that the steering, whereas appropriately hefty, is completely numb. Similar goes for the M5, although; this unlucky steering attribute plagues most new BMWs.

Go away the M550i in its Consolation or Adaptive settings and the dampers soften up simply sufficient to easy out small to medium highway impacts whereas nonetheless delivering a managed and composed journey, even when fitted with my take a look at automobile’s 20-inch wheels (19s are customary). Admittedly, it is advisable to possibility the $3,600 Dynamic Dealing with Bundle to get the adaptive M suspension and lively roll stabilization, however it’s cash properly spent if you wish to celebration.

Clearly, no V8-powered BMW goes to be frugal, and the EPA says the 2021 M550i xDrive ought to return 17 miles per gallon within the metropolis, 25 mpg freeway and 20 mpg mixed. If that is a problem, I extremely advocate testing the 540i, which gives a turbocharged straight-six with mild-hybrid enhance, and can simply beat 30 mpg on the freeway.

This inside is tremendous cozy.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The M550i will get a variety of updates for 2021 that you will discover on different 5 Sequence fashions, together with new headlights and taillights and some up to date inside trimmings. You can actually criticize the 5 Sequence for being on the extra sedate aspect of engaging, particularly when in comparison with vehicles just like the Genesis G80 3.5T or Mercedes-AMG E53. However I just like the M550i, particularly on this wealthy shade of Aventurin Purple ($1,950) which appears to be like barely extra crimson or purple relying on lighting. Personally, I prefer to name it Chillable Purple.

The 5’s inside is sweet, however once more, boring. There are only some low cost bits of plastic to talk of, however they’re on surfaces you will not contact more often than not. Every little thing else contained in the cabin is nice, from the comfortable leather-based seats to the engaging steel inlays to my take a look at automobile’s non-compulsory ceramic controls. It is extremely quiet in right here, too, making the M550i a fantastic automobile for day-to-day commuting.

The M550i comes customary with the 5 Sequence’ full multimedia tech roster, starring BMW’s iDrive 7.Zero software program. A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster shows all types of related car knowledge, whereas a second 12.3-inch touchscreen handles the heavy lifting atop the dashboard. Touching the display is the best option to function this tech, although you may nonetheless use the rotary knob on the middle console or work through voice instructions. BMW’s silly gesture controls are a part of the $2,150 Govt Bundle and may fortunately be turned off. Aspect notice: I do suppose it is hilarious that, should you flip up the radio quantity through the steering wheel button or tuning knob whereas the gesture controls are activated, a bit show comes up on the display displaying you the hand movement you can be making. It is just like the automobile’s delicate means of reminding you that you just aren’t utilizing a perform within the latest and most attention-grabbing means. How German.

The M550i is a good different to the hardcore M5.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Personally, I favor to make use of the wi-fi Apple CarPlay interface, which is customary, together with Android Auto. Wi-fi charging comes as a part of the aforementioned Govt Bundle, as does a head-up show. You can even spec a bangin’ Bowers & Wilkins sound system for an additional $3,400, if that is your jam. A surround-view digital camera and park distance management are bundled into the $800 Parking Help Bundle and superior driving aids corresponding to lane-keeping help and blind-spot monitoring are a part of the $1,700 Driving Help Plus pack. The latter additionally provides BMW’s Prolonged Visitors Jam Assistant, which permits for restricted quantities of steering help on choose roads under 40 mph.

A 2021 BMW M550i xDrive begins at $77,795 together with $995 for vacation spot, and a loaded instance just like the one you see right here prices just below $94,000. That is some huge cash, however remember, you may’t get into an M5 for something lower than $104,495. Except you actually want the M5’s slight bump in energy and prowess, I say keep on with the M550i and revel in a way more livable — and reasonably priced — package deal.

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