2021 BMW M550i xDrive review: All the M5 you really need – Roadshow

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

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The BMW M550i xDrive is 90% of the auto the M5 is, and in many ways, it’s of course higher. The M550i offers stable V8 vitality and a long list of tech and creature comforts. What it lacks in outright discover-assault ferocity it more than makes up for with greater total balance and a magnificent nicer hotfoot high quality. Given the different, I’d seize the M550i as my day by day driver.


  • Gigantic V8 offers huge vitality
  • Chassis is nicely tuned for each consolation and sport
  • Plush internal with a total bunch amenities
  • iDrive tech is discreet to make exhaust of

Don’t Esteem

  • Numb steerage feel
  • Driver-aid alternatives price additional
  • Sorrowful gasoline economy

The M550i uses BMW’s twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8, with 523 horsepower and 553 pound-toes of torque working through an 8-streak automatic transmission. All informed, the all-wheel-power M550i’m able to streak up to 60 mph in precisely 3.6 seconds, that methodology it’s sooner than its key opponents, the Audi S6 and Mercedes-AMG E53, each of which exhaust more sedate six-cylinder engines. The BMW even comes with a honest originate control purpose, which I’m particular most other folks will never exhaust.

Yes, the M5 uses a tweaked version of the the same V8 engine, and high quality, it makes as powerful as 617 hp in Competition guise. But the torque output is the the same for the M550i, M5 and M5 Comp, and that quick-originate turbocharged thrust is what you will depend on most whereas pulling away from stoplights and merging onto the dual carriageway. The flawed M5 is 0.4 seconds sooner to 60 mph than the M550i, and that is the explanation no longer a disparity you will sight 99% of the time, if ever.

The M550i uses BMW’s Steptronic Sport automatic transmission, which is form of a handiest-of-each-worlds gearbox. It shifts with the quickness of a dual-seize transmission however has a torque converter, which makes it smoother at low speeds and when appealing first instruments. The gearbox also works with the M550i’s normal navigation machine and non-compulsory adaptive cruise control to predictively downshift shift for corners or slower autos earlier than you, all in step with data the many methods seize up. Metal, steerage wheel-mounted hurry shifters mean you might perhaps prepare your comprise shifts when you happen to deserve to love, however right here is yet another case the put the transmission is smarter than I’m. I’m perfectly happy to let it cease its comprise thing.

I is no longer going to bargain the M5’s ability to hustle round a escape course, however I also refuse to notify that anything more than a tin percentage of M5 merchants of course recall their autos to the discover. The tradeoff for the M5’s intriguing reflexes is an repeatedly punishing metropolis and dual carriageway hotfoot high quality, even with the adaptive dampers role to Comfort.

BMW’s 4.4-liter V8 offers 523 horsepower and 553 pound-toes of torque.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The M550i, on the assorted hand, is powerful higher balanced for on a typical basis driving. Set up the M550i into its Sport or Sport Plus settings and it’s purchased qualified poise on a appropriate winding avenue. The typical sport rear differential keeps the rear cease talking whereas the xDrive all-wheel-power machine strikes vitality the put it’s needed most. M Sport brakes provide a form of struggling with vitality they assuredly’re easy to modulate. In the period in-between the Bridgestone Potenza tires are high quality and grippy. My handiest pork is that the steerage, whereas accurately hefty, is entirely numb. Same goes for the M5, though; this unhappy steerage attribute plagues most new BMWs.

Leave the M550i in its Comfort or Adaptive settings and the dampers soften up handiest ample to peaceable out cramped to medium avenue impacts whereas amassed handing over a controlled and aloof hotfoot, even when fitted with my test car’s 20-sprint wheels (19s are normal). Admittedly, you might perhaps must probability the $3,600 Dynamic Facing Package to acquire the adaptive M suspension and active roll stabilization, however it absolutely’s money nicely spent when you happen to deserve to must birthday party.

Clearly, no V8-powered BMW goes to be frugal, and the EPA says the 2021 M550i xDrive must return 17 miles per gallon in the metropolis, 25 mpg dual carriageway and 20 mpg blended. If that is an topic, I extremely counsel testing the 540i, which offers a turbocharged straight-six with gentle-hybrid enhance, and can without trouble beat 30 mpg on the dual carriageway.

This internal is immense cushty.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The M550i gets a different of updates for 2021 that you just’re going to secure on assorted 5 Sequence objects, along with new headlights and rear lights and some up up to now internal trimmings. You would for sure criticize the 5 Sequence for being on the more sedate aspect of magnificent, particularly when put next to autos esteem the Genesis G80 3.5T or Mercedes-AMG E53. But I esteem the M550i, particularly on this rich shade of Aventurin Purple ($1,950) which appears to be like to be barely more red or red hoping on lights. For my part, I take to call it Chillable Purple.

The 5’s internal is best possible, however again, expressionless. There are handiest about a cheap bits of plastic to assert of, however they’re on surfaces you is no longer going to contact a lot of the time. All the pieces else internal the cabin is mountainous, from the soft leather seats to the magnificent steel inlays to my test car’s non-compulsory ceramic controls. It’s extremely peaceable in right here, too, making the M550i a mountainous car for day-to-day commuting.

The M550i comes normal with the 5 Sequence’ corpulent multimedia tech roster, starring BMW’s iDrive 7.0 draw. A 12.3-sprint digital instrument cluster shows each form of related automobile data, whereas a second 12.3-sprint touchscreen handles the heavy lifting atop the dashboard. Touching the screen screen is the way in which to purpose this tech, though you might perhaps amassed exhaust the rotary knob on the heart console or work through direct instructions. BMW’s tiring gesture controls are segment of the $2,150 Executive Package and can luckily be modified into off. Aspect price: I cease think it’s hilarious that, when you happen to flip up the radio volume during the steerage wheel button or tuning knob whereas the gesture controls are activated, moderately price comes up on the screen screen showing you the hand motion you would perhaps be making. It’s esteem the auto’s refined way of reminding you that you just’re no longer the exhaust of a purpose in the most accepted and most attention-grabbing way. How German.

The M550i is a mountainous different to the hardcore M5.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

For my part, I take to make exhaust of the wireless Apple CarPlay interface, which is normal, along with Android Auto. Wireless charging comes as segment of the aforementioned Executive Package, as does a head-up price. You would additionally spec a bangin’ Bowers & Wilkins sound machine for an additional $3,400, if that is your jam. A encompass-inquire camera and park distance control are bundled into the $800 Parking Assistance Package and developed driving aids similar to lane-keeping abet and blind-space monitoring are segment of the $1,700 Driving Assistance Plus pack. The latter also adds BMW’s Extended Traffic Jam Assistant, which permits for diminutive portions of steerage abet on seize roads below 40 mph.

A 2021 BMW M550i xDrive begins at $77,795 along with $995 for destination, and a loaded instance esteem the one you mark right here prices honest below $94,000. That is a form of money, however don’t forget, you can not obtain into an M5 for anything no longer up to $104,495. Unless you if truth be told need the M5’s limited bump in vitality and prowess, I whine follow the M550i and revel in a single way more livable — and inexpensive — equipment.

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