BMW M550i xDrive (One Step Closer to an M5!)

When BMW recently introduced the updated G30 5-Series model line, I was glad to see the improvements. I love the uptick in technology as well as the increased luxury appointments. These are welcome changes to BMW’s midrange bread and butter vehicles. Especially in light of the advancements made by its cross country competition from Mercedes.

I’ve always been a “there’s no replacement for displacement” type of car guy. So I was a bit shocked when BMW premiered the 5-Series range that only included a 4 and a 6 cylinder offering for engine choices. Wait, What? Where’s my eight-cylinder 550i?

Well it’s a bit late to the party, but worth the wait in the form of a dedicated M-Performance model. The BMW M550i xDrive.

BMW M550i xDrive

The trend these days seems to be moving toward blending the high end performance versions with the normal range into a M badged model with some of the perks of a true M Car. The same is going on in Mercedes and their full-bore AMG editions. They too have offered a milder version of their vehicles in a still confusing naming sequence that if you understand it, you know that you have a regular Mercedes, but with some of the AMG appearance and maybe a tweak or two. Same here.

Thankfully this new M550i with xDrive comes with a powerful 8 cylinder power plant providing 456 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque. This is plenty fast and as BMW is being forced to reluctantly admit, they too need to somehow provide all-wheel drive to properly put that much power to use.

This model does indeed have some upgrades over the previous M-Sport packages which recently have appeared to be simply cosmetic. This model now has lowered the suspension by 10 millimeters or a little over a quarter inch. While this is not much, it is a step in the right direction especially since it’s an all-wheel drive set up.

Several other tweaks include engine mapping and gearing changes to help move the needle closer to making this a true high performance model.

Until we are treated to the inevitable M5. (which I’m waiting for).

This all-wheel drive offering is a perfect test bed to get some consumer miles on a high powered full drive unit. One that may be the basis for the M5 and any all-wheel drive it may offer.

I could go on forever, but here is the actual press release and information for your review.

BMW Announces the First Ever BMW M550i xDrive.

  • The Fastest 5 Series to date – 0-60 mph in under 4 seconds.
  • BMW M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology engine delivering 456 horsepower* and 480 lb-ft* of torque.
  • BMW M specially tuned chassis deliver even sharper steering responses.
  • BMW xDrive with rear-wheel bias allow sportiness and everyday practicality.

Woodcliff Lake, NJ-  December 17, 2016… BMW announced today, an first ever BMW M Performance version of the world’s most successful business sedan. The first ever BMW M550i xDrive will take the spot as the top of the line performance vehicle in the current BMW 5 Series line-up. Boasting a mighty M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology engine developing 456 hp* and 480 lb-ft*, the abundant torque reserves and high-revving characteristics serve up to an outstanding blend of performance and uncompromised everyday usability. Adding to this state-of-the-art engine are BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive with rear-wheel bias and a bespoke M Performance chassis set-up, help create the fastest and most agile BMW 5 Series to date.

The first ever 2018 BMW M550i xDrive will be available at U.S. dealerships in spring 2017 with pricing announced closer to market launch.

M Performance engine merges power with efficiency. 
The first ever BMW M550i xDrive is also the first M Performance model to be powered by a specifically modified M Performance TwinPower Turbo 4.4 liter 8-cylinder engine. This V8 unit is equipped with two twin-scroll turbochargers and features a High Precision Injection system, Valvetronic fully variable valve lift and Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing control. This technology adds up to an output of 456 hp* at 5,500 rpm* and peak torque of 480 lb?ft* from just 1,800 rpm* propelling the BMW M550i xDrive from 0 to 60 mph in under 4.0 seconds and then on to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.

BMW M550i xDrive

Steptronic Sport transmission and BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive. 
The all-new BMW M Performance 5 Series Sedan sends all its power via a specially tuned Steptronic Sport 8-speed transmission, playing a key role in the dynamics of the BMW M550i xDrive. The M Performance configuration of the shift modes has been tailored to the characteristics of the V8 engine, for even faster engagement across the entire rev range. The 8-speed Steptronic Sport transmission can also be operated using the shift paddles on the steering wheel or the shifter in the center console.

BMW intelligent xDrive all-wheel-drive system in the BMW M550i xDrive splits drive power between all four wheels as the situation demands – intelligently and with a rear-wheel bias. BMW xDrive is key to delivering two fundamental elements of the trademark M Performance driving experience under all conditions: increased driving performance and extremely precise handling. The Adaptive M Sport suspension lowers ride height by 10 millimeters and is paired to either the standard 19-inch M light-alloy wheels in Cerium Grey metallic matte or the optional** 20-inch M light-alloy wheels (in an exclusive design, also painted in the Cerium Grey metallic matte finish).

* Preliminary figures
** Scheduled to be available later in 2017.

In addition, the power steering with M-specific responses in SPORT and SPORT+ modes serves to highlight the crisp handling and precise driving characteristics of the all-new BMW 5 Series. Steering commands deliver the driver the necessary feedback when powering along on twisty roads maximizing the driving experience. The performance-enhancing specification of the BMW M550i xDrive is completed to perfection by the M Sport brakes with brake calipers in Blue metallic and M badging, which combine outstanding stopping power with excellent feel.

M Performance equipment.
The exterior of the first ever BMW M550i xDrive boldly expresses the sedan’s dynamic performance capabilities. The M aerodynamic kit, including an M rear spoiler on the trunk lid, accentuates the sporty lines and at the same time, it optimizes the airflow guiding the air around and over the car.

BMW M550i xDrive

The exterior mirror caps, the kidney grille frame, the special M Performance design accents on the front air intake and the two Air Breathers on the front fenders, exclusively feature Cerium Grey metallic finish, while the high-gloss Shadow Line trim around the windows gives added impact to this sport sedan’s undeniably dynamic appearance.


BMW M550i xDriveAn M sports exhaust system – with exclusive tailpipes in Black chrome are responsible for producing the unmistakable and exciting BMW M roar.

BMW M550i xDrive

BMW M550i xDrive

Additional elements include illuminated door sills bearing the “M550i xDrive” inscription. Standard Multi-contour seats are upholstered in Black Dakota leather with blue contrast stitching (Nappa Leather optionally available), the latest version of the M sports steering wheel, M design floor mats and pedals made from aluminum highlight the sporty exclusivity that is a hallmark of all BMW M Performance Automobiles.

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems.
Featured across the all-new BMW 5 Series line-up, the BMW M550i xDrive also offers a wide choice of assistance systems. These include the optionally available Active Driving Assistant Plus, including Active Cruise Control (ACC) with Stop & Go, Evasion Aid and Active Lane Keeping Assistant now featuring extended functionality.

BMW Connected – Forging an even closer link between man, machine and the outside world.
The latest generation of the BMW 5 Series enables close-knit connectivity between the driver, vehicle and outside world thanks to BMW Connected. This new system links up devices such as smartphones, smartwatches, computers and tablets, as well as the vehicle’s navigation system, via the BMW servers. This technology is capable of identifying driving patterns as well as personal preferences, turning it into a de facto personal mobility manager that helps users to overcome with ease the increasingly complex challenges of day-to-day mobility. Before the journey has even started, BMW Connected automatically factors in Advanced Real Time Traffic Information (ARTTI) for route-planning purposes, and recommends departing earlier if a detour has deemed necessary due to traffic hold-ups. BMW Connected uses the vehicle’s location as the basis for calculating the route in the usual way but it also considers the BMW driver’s location for its calculations too.

The new system also merges the functions and services of the familiar BMW Remote App and BMW Connected App. Now, users are able to access products such as ParkNow for digitized reservation and payment of parking spaces or use On-Street Parking Information to identify the areas of a town where drivers are most likely to find an available parking spot. The system provides the driver the information via the 10.25” iDrive Display. The optional Remote Control Parking system allows the driver to maneuver the BMW 5 Series Sedan into even the tightest spaces from outside the vehicle with the help of the BMW Display Key. Once the car has been parked, BMW Connected helps to guide users to their final destination on foot.

Sportiness and everyday usability.
The BMW M Performance Automobiles are exclusive products from BMW M GmbH positioned between the top-of-the-range BMW core models and the BMW M models built for maximum performance. “We develop the BMW M Performance Automobiles for customers who are seeking very sporty driving characteristics yet do not wish to sacrifice any of their BMW’s everyday practicality,” explains Frank van Meel, CEO of BMW M GmbH. “The experience and expertise garnered by BMW M in the world of motor sport and the development of high-performance sports cars are also channeled into the development of our BMW M Performance Automobiles. The sales success clearly demonstrates that we are on the right track. When you take a look at the BMW AG model portfolio, you will notice that not every model series includes a BMW M Performance Automobile. We will expand our product range wisely and close any gaps in the line-up strategically.”

The M Performance portfolio currently comprises of the BMW M240i Coupe, BMW M240i xDrive Coupe, BMW M240i Convertible, BMW M240i xDrive Convertible, BMW X4 M40i xDrive and BMW M760i xDrive.