Is the 2020 BMW M550i xDrive Pure the German brand’s best-kept secret? A absolute wolf in sheep’s accouterment – that isn’t absurdly priced? James dials up the twin-turbo V8 to acquisition out.
Read the account lately? About a day passes after a advancement that BMW may accept absent its way.
The acclaimed German cast seems to be accomplishing its best to accroach the ‘Ultimate Active Machine’ mantra with conceivably a wordier ‘Really absolutely acceptable and assuredly clever, if alone you can get accomplished the design’ appearance slogan.
I’ll be the aboriginal to accept it’s not absolutely as catchy, and I’d be concerned… If it weren’t for cars like this.
The 2020 BMW M550i xDrive Pure is a BMW’s BMW; a apathetic but awkward beef car bearded as a stylish, upmarket saloon.
Currently priced from $134,900 afore options and on-road costs in its Pure anatomy or $149,900 in full-house spec, the M550i sits $22K (or 19 per cent) aloft the 530i M-Sport and a whopping $100K (or 74 per cent) beneath the M5 Competition. The adapted model, due actuality afore the end of the year, will see prices access beyond the range, the 2021 M550i xDrive Pure campanology the till at $139,900 afore options and on-road costs.
Those abstracts change aback you attending at output, too, as the M550i’s twin-turbo V8 offers 390kW, which is 111 per cent added than the 530i (185kW), yet alone 18 per cent shy of the M5 (460kW).
It’s this accession that makes the M550i a bit of a abruptness package, a able wolf in sheep’s clothing, from the bodies who absolutely invented the abstraction and yet now assert on bathrobe their wolves like sheep activity to a rave.
And while it’s not decidedly cheap, is the M550i Pure all that you absolutely charge in a BMW sports sedan?
In agreement of design, the G30 5 Series is one of BMW’s best of contempo times. A signature beltline bulge and the iconic ‘Hoffmeister Kink’ on the rear window acquaint an accessible adventure of the car’s lineage.
The wide-set grille and angular LED alive lamp signature absolutely accomplish it a added adorable hypothesis than some of the added polarising BMW releases. The M550i is able to be bound articular by its ‘Ferric Grey’ trim apparatus about the lower air dam.
There’s a attenuate lip addle-brain on the boot, too, and hardly beneath attenuate but still aerial cloister bankrupt tips below. Wolf or sheep, this one is dressed properly.
The 5er fits into that Goldilocks class of actuality neither too big nor too small. Rear passengers, alike alpine ones, accept affluence of leg allowance and accept space, additional there’s a 530L cossack that alike includes a accessible tub in the floor. Absolute as a albino holder.
The 12mm lower attitude of the M550i (compared to a approved 530i) gives it an alike added able-bodied look, amplified added by the beautiful 20-inch auto (on Bridgestone rubber), which burrow huge 395mm advanced and 370mm rear anchor rotors and dejected M-Sport callipers.
On the inside, too, our Pure in its pre-LCI amend ‘runout’ guise still carries a able accessories account admitting the $15,000 gap to the big-spec car.
The berth is alike with leather, the seats are heated, and the abounding apartment of BMW infotainment and abetment technology is allotment of the package. It’s able-bodied built, able-bodied laid out and feels accurately premium.
Our car is accomplished in Mediterranean Dejected Metallic ($2000 – and one of six choices) and has the alternative sunroof ($3200), which are both accepted on the not-Pure (it’s a absolutely ambagious allotment convention).
The Pure additionally misses out on laser headlights and soft-close doors, which bluntly you’d never apprehension if I didn’t acknowledgment it.
There’s additionally the exclusion of the alive roll-stabilisation and rear-wheel-steering function, which arguably add weight (44kg) and complication area it artlessly isn’t needed. The Pure punts, turns, grips and steers aloof fine. In fact, added than fine.
Up front, that assertive 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 is both wolf and sheep. Leave the car in its approved Abundance ambience and you can lazily doddle about town, with a balmy boom from the bankrupt and a blare from the turbos as the alone adumbration of the abeyant ambuscade away.
The eight-speed manual works well, too, alms a bland alteration amid gears, and an automated alternative that apparel burghal active behaviour.
The ride is costly and comfortable, alike with the low attitude and big wheels. But larboard in the accepted setting, I’d alike say the adaptive dampers are too soft, as you can feel the car tap the bang stops on the compression and backlash over acceleration humps and the like.
You can change this to use the stiffer Sport setting, but afresh the gearbox never changes ratios, so I’d acclaim the Sport Individual access for the firmer ride, but added adequate manual settings.
Here, too, it’s ablaze and absolute abundant to beacon about town. Big abundant to feel, but not too big to manage.
But it’s the engine’s acknowledgment in this ‘off’ ambience you apprehension the most. Feedback from a balmy calamus of the burke is actual muted, alike lazy, as the big V8 about ticks aloft an idle. Slow off the line, it’s like a retired able boxer. You apperceive they could still go a few circuit and authority their own, they aloof don’t appetite to.
BMW quotes an burghal appetite of 14.8L/100km, and while I was beneath that at 12.3L/100km (obviously active at peak-old-man setting), I couldn’t advice but feel that stealthily rolling through cartage is not area the M550i works best.
The accessible road, however, gives the adventitious for the wolf to amplitude its legs. And what legs they are! Artlessly put, this affair boogies.
Peak adeptness from the V8 comes on at 6000rpm, with all 390kW alive adamantine to move the 1826kg alehouse at a civilised sub-warp speed. Pop the car into Sport, ache the throttle, and acknowledgment is all but instant, with the accompanying turbos dishing up the abounding 750Nm of torque amid 1800 and 4600rpm.
On an empty, threading country alley you bound adeptness and beat triple-digit speeds, a deadened bark and hasty air the alone absolute identifiers of the clip the big 5 can deliver.
At this point, you can lift off, accumulate aural acknowledged bounds, and anticipate about how to absorb the $100,000 you didn’t charge to amplitude to an M5. Sure, it doesn’t get the iconic badge, but this is all the 5 Series you need.
A abstract big-country tourer that block to an about economical burning akin in the mid 9L/100km ambit (against a affirmation of 8.2 – accumulated 10.6L/100km). Fair to agenda that a added absolute akin is in the mid-12 range, as abounding anchorage and aciculate downshifts tend to animate a beneath touring access to smashing through curves.
The capricious torque-split AWD arrangement sends adeptness to the advanced to advice cull the BMW through bends, and to actual any assertive oversteer escapade that a twin-turbo V8 is basically aggravating to accommodate as anon as you blaze it up.
It’s acceptable in the way you accept no absolute abstraction what it’s accomplishing and aback it is accomplishing it. What after-effects is aberrant anchor in both wet and dry, with an adeptness to ballista out of corners far added rapidly than your cartage would apprehend (or, best likely, enjoy).
A gold brilliant for BMW driveline engineers that acutely isn’t backed up by their cabin-tech crew.
The G30 5 Series alone launched in 2017, but it is already one of the oldest models in the BMW showroom, and while it is still an absorbing platform, some of the newer technology pieces feel a bit tacked on.
I’d about advance that the beforehand cars fabricated added sense, in that the beforehand iDrive software and added acceptable agenda array seemed to be added adapted with the car as a whole.
BMW has formed the latest adaptation of the BMW OS-7 (the artisan aforetime accepted as iDrive) infotainment and connectivity software into the pre-update 5 Series to accumulate it in band with other, newer models.
The wide-screen 10.2-inch blow affectation in the birr is bright and arresting in all ablaze conditions.
It works and is able-bodied featured, sure, but I do anticipate it has taken a footfall aback in agreement of automatic interface design, decidedly with the capital card screens and apparatus cluster.
You do get acclimated to it the added you use it, but the adorableness of the antecedent iDrive iterations was the artlessness of navigation, so you weren’t absent while driving. There is a lot added activity on with the new system, so it can be easier to get absent or harder to acquisition what you charge aural the card structure. Already again, addition archetype area ambience it up already and never affecting it afresh makes added sense.
It’s a pity, as BMW acclimated to advance the bazaar here. I can’t advice but feel a adventure for alike added technology and appearance has apparent them absence the best important affection of all, ergonomic usability.
That said, spending added time attractive out the windscreen at fast-moving landscape, and beneath time annoying about how to change the apparatus display, is a far bigger way to adore the M550i.
Owning one isn’t too catchy either, with BMW Service Inclusive priced at $1850 for a five-year/80,000km package. Accepting bought a cardinal of BMWs, I’d consistently acclaim accepting this adjourned as allotment of your purchase, authoritative buying a abundant beneath complicated process.
Simply put, the M550i Pure is the M5 for the blow of us.
Power, performance, abundance and luxury, commutual with aloof the appropriate bulk of attenuate menace, creates a sports auto that ticks all the boxes, except the ‘quarter of a actor dollars’ one. You don’t charge the M5, you don’t alike charge the full-spec M550i, to adore a able BMW sports saloon.
Like I said earlier, the 2020 BMW M550i xDrive Pure is a BMW’s BMW, alike in these avant-garde times. It manages to be fast, comfortable and admirable to drive, yet still absolutely acceptable and assuredly clever.
Proof conceivably that BMW old and new can still abide accordingly together.
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