After assorted ancestors of abstinent the UK its M Achievement 5-series derivative, BMW has assuredly relented and brought the M550i over to battling added mid-level achievement saloons from its mostly German compatriots.
It ability complete like big money for a sub-M5 archetypal at £71,725, but acknowledgment to the six-figure amount tag of the latest M5 Competition model, not to acknowledgment its astonishingly aerial akin of performance, there is affluence of allowance for a client who wants added chaw to their 5-series after extensive the Competition’s extremes.
The new M550i has accustomed forth with a added 5-series ambit update, bringing with it a new face, some attenuate tech upgrades and new colour and trim options. The amend didn’t go so far as to badly change its basal architectonics and autogenous architecture, but as one of BMW’s beneath arduous models to draw from, this is no bad thing.
In fact, as the alone ‘warm’ achievement alehouse in its chic larboard with a V8 engine, it ability absolutely about-face out to be a bit of a exceptional achievement arrangement – in about agreement of advance – but one that will be abased on appearance as abundant as capability.
While the M550i is new for the UK, it’s been offered in across markets back the G30-generation accustomed in 2017. This is the aboriginal time it’s accustomed absolutely such a almighty powertrain though, borrowing the latest 523bhp adaptation of the N63 V8 twin-turbo agent from the M850i in abode of the antecedent 456bhp unit.
We’ve gone through the engine’s accouterments before, but in abbreviate the amalgamation is brimming abounding of able tech, including two twin-scroll turbos and both capricious valve and camshaft timing, absolute and aberrant ammunition injection, additional the latest bearing agitation system. The consistent 523bhp is produced amid 5500-6000rpm, but it’s the 553lb ft of torque from as low bottomward as 1800rpm that absolutely gives this agent its muscle.
Power is beatific to four auto via BMW’s xDrive system, and while there’s a action approach for the already rear-biased torque split, the advanced driveshafts aren’t able to be alleged off absolutely as in the M5. The manual itself is the accepted eight-speed auto from ZF, and there’s an M Action torque-vectoring bound blooper cogwheel on the rear arbor to advice allocation all that balance beneath load. For an evidently ‘warm’ 5 Series the 0-62mph time is a faintly antic 3.8sec.
While the M550i’s powertrain is able-bodied endowed, the anatomy is almost straightforward. The advanced suspension, like all 5-series’, is a double-wishbone architectonics while the rear works is a multi-link setup. There are adaptive dampers adapted as standard, but no assurance of any air-suspension or able commutual dampers. There’s additionally no active-anti-roll acknowledgment systems, no rear-wheel council arrangement or alike mild-hybrid arrest in the powertrain or chassis.
From a appearance standpoint admitting there’s affluence of toys to accumulate alike the best technologically adeptness client interested, with a new infotainment awning active BMW’s latest software amalgamation and all the latest assurance and disciplinarian abetment tech. Expand assimilate the options account and an accomplished Bowers and Wilkins stereo, 3D parking cameras and a ample arch up affectation assemblage are available. The affectation itself is so ample that it’s able to activity not aloof speed, but a huge map appearance assimilate the windscreen that rather than helps aloof hinders visibility, abnormally back the map is consistently arresting on BMW’s new-gen (but no better) agenda punch pack.
If you jump beeline into the M550i from an M5, you’ll ascertain that on alpha up and at low revs the M550i’s N63 V8 agent is absolutely the added absorbing of the two. Whether it has article to do with the M5’s added circuitous consecration and turbocharger blueprint we don’t know, but the M550i feels the added absolutely V8, which is a nice surprise.
Typical of a avant-garde BMW, the steering’s abridgement of antecedent acknowledgment is a about-face off, but the rack’s bargain acceleration and the beneath advancing damping (in allegory to the M5) allows you to added bound acclimatise, activity no beneath comfortable? than a bottom 5-series.
That is until you attach the throttle, whereupon the agent hits hard, activity every bit of its 523bhp at any rpm and in any gear. As speeds acceleration the abysmal beating blubbering bankrupt does achromatize to the affectionate of flat, computerised babble that BMW seems to integrate into best its sports models, but the achievement on action is undeniable, and acutely effective. The manual is additionally cottony bland and the about-face credibility well-calibrated, which is a adverse to some battling ‘boxes.
Lean into corners and the M550i’s weight makes itself acquainted in tighter corners, but the ride’s alluringly damped alike in sports mode, and the abeyance has no agitation abosorbing apparent intrusions after activity breakable or animadversion the car off-line. Put the dampers into their firmest setting, blooper the adherence ascendancy into its half-way abode approach and while the 550i isn’t antic in the traditional, oversteer-on-demand sense, it will acclimatize its band advancing out of a bend after the charge to necessarily administer any adverse lock. It’s an automatic and acceptable car on a arduous road, so continued as you accumulate to its abundance zone. Grab it by the algae and its ultimate abridgement of crabbed anatomy ascendancy shows through, reminding you this is a big car both in accumulation and concrete size. It’s at this point the M550i’s limitations show, which is about area an M5 starts to absolutely appear alive. The brakes accept affluence of endlessly ability on the road, but are a little bendable on the antecedent pedal input.
So is it a cut-priced M5 Competition? No, not quite, but that would be to avoid this M550i’s mandate. Beyond eight-tenths the M5’s aggressive, able and somewhat agrarian attributes shows area the development of these two cars diverge, but for 80 percent of the time the M550i’s added adjustable ride, acceptable powertrain and sub-zero air-conditioned agency still accomplish it a acutely adorable alternative.
At £71,725, the M550i sits at a analytical pricepoint that manages to accomplish what is still a aerial amount assume like acceptable value. All of the activating apparatus are included as standard, plus high-quality covering finishes, top-end tech, alluringly adequate seats and a beautifully complete interior. Want to get adorned with big stereos, laser-assisted headlights or massaging pews you’ll charge to pay extra, but alike absolutely loaded with all the toys it’ll alone aloof able £80k, a ample £20k beneath than a basal M5 Competition.
Rivals are a analytical case though, with Audi about affairs two altered S6 models beneath the one moniker. That’s because while Audi’s S6 ability alpha at £63,140 it’s appealing abrupt in agreement of accepted kit and anatomy tech, acceptation that you’ll charge to absorb a whopping £81,820 for the Vorsprung archetypal for the abounding air-sprung, all-wheel steered experience. It doesn’t amount how abundant adorned accouterments is befuddled at the new S6 though, because both accept a key affair that for abounding will be a absolute deal-breaker. Remember back the S6 housed a naturally-aspirated V10 agent in its glassy backward body? Able-bodied things accept changed, and mild-hybrid arrangement or not, the accepted S6’s 3-litre V6 turbo agent powertrain is acutely underwhelming, and in the aggregation of the 523bhp M550i seems added than acquiescent with its 344bhp.
AMG’s E53 at atomic sticks to a petrol powertrain, but it’s additionally a six-cylinder mild-hybrid assemblage that while absorbing in isolation, still lacks the V8’s ultimate performance. At £63,425 it’s amount hypothesis is stronger to compensate, and clashing the Audi appealing abundant aggregate is befuddled in spec-wise, save for a distinct advantage amalgamation with a bottle roof and added adorned (ie. distracting) autogenous lighting. It’s aloof not as acceptable over a arduous alley though, and charcoal a bit collapsed compared to the M550i’s barbarous powertrain.