Range-topping BMW M550i xDrive Unveiled
To coincide with the premiere of the new BMW 5 Series, BMW has unveiled what will be the range’s most powerful model until the inevitable M5 breaks cover. The sad news for UK consumers is that we probably won’t get it. For the time being, the new BMW M550i xDrive will assume the status of range-topper in the line-up with a heady mixture of a twin-blown V8, rear-biased four-wheel-drive chassis and plethora of features putting it firmly at the leading end of the performance business saloons currently available.
The most obvious feature of the M550i xDrive is its 4.4-litre TwinPower Turbo V8 which, thanks to direct injection, variable valve timing and Double-VANOS variable camshaft control, puts out a chunky 462hp at 5,500rpm. This is delivered with an equally chunky 479 lb ft of torque which is available from just 1,800rpm, all the while delivering an official 31.7mpg and a fully EU-6 compliant 204g/km of CO2. This power and torque combination, alongside the traction afforded by the xDrive setup, enables the M550i to hit 62mph in 4-seconds flat and continue on to the usual 155mph, electronically-governed top speed.
As standard power is transferred to all four wheels via the Steptronic Sport eight-speed transmission which aids everyday drivability, customisability and efficiency/emissions performance. Drivers can switch between numerous modes and either leave it to do its thing, or take control through the steering wheel-mounted paddles. Power can be shifted front or rear depending on the requirements albeit with a distinct rear bias in most situations to maintain BMW’s renowned chassis balance and handling characteristics. M Sport brakes with distinctive blue callipers keep the speed in check.
As with any top-of-the-rung M-Performance car there are design tweaks that help distinguish it from other cars in the range. An M aerodynamic package not only adds flare, but also offers true aerodynamic improvements. M550i xDrive logos around the car continue the nod to the car’s credentials.
Connectivity and driver assistance is obviously high on the agenda and as you’d imagine BMW has spared no expense in the level of both on offer. Driver assistance includes evasion aid, active lane change warning, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assistant and intelligent speed limit assist among others. BMW’s latest generation connectivity, BMW Connect, includes a host of features to keep driver and car connected at all times, as we previously reported on BMW Car.
As we said, it’s unlikely that the M550i xDrive will make it to these shores any time soon, if at all. But for our international readers, it’s looking like a highly impressive package in the super-saloon segment. It joins the rest of the range at launch in March 2017.