January 23, 2021


Born to play

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

Aventurin Red is a chef’s-kiss-dot-gif colour. Steven Ewing/Roadshow The BMW M550i xDrive is ninety% of...

Aventurin Red is a chef’s-kiss-dot-gif colour.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The BMW M550i xDrive is ninety% of the car the M5 is, and in some approaches, it can be really much better. The M550i provides sturdy V8 electricity and a extended listing of tech and creature comforts. What it lacks in outright keep track of-attack ferocity it extra than can make up for with better over-all equilibrium and a a great deal nicer experience high quality. Supplied the option, I might pick the M550i as my each day driver.


  • Big V8 provides massive electricity
  • Chassis is nicely tuned for each comfort and activity
  • Plush interior with a lot of amenities
  • iDrive tech is easy to use

Will not Like

  • Numb steering sense
  • Driver-assistance alternatives price tag extra
  • Bad gas financial system

The M550i works by using BMW’s twin-turbo four.four-liter V8, with 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque working by way of an 8-pace automated transmission. All instructed, the all-wheel-travel M550i can speed up to sixty mph in just three.6 seconds, which signifies it can be a lot quicker than its essential rivals, the Audi S6 and Mercedes-AMG E53, each of which use extra sedate 6-cylinder engines. The BMW even arrives with a appropriate launch control operate, which I’m positive most individuals will in no way use.

Certainly, the M5 works by using a tweaked model of the very same V8 engine, and indeed, it can make as a great deal as 617 hp in Opposition guise. But the torque output is the very same for the M550i, M5 and M5 Comp, and that speedy-launch turbocharged thrust is what you can depend on most whilst pulling away from stoplights and merging onto the freeway. The base M5 is .four seconds a lot quicker to sixty mph than the M550i, and that is not a disparity you can recognize ninety nine% of the time, if at any time.

The M550i works by using BMW’s Steptronic Sport automated transmission, which is type of a ideal-of-each-worlds gearbox. It shifts with the quickness of a twin-clutch transmission but has a torque converter, which can make it smoother at lower speeds and when engaging very first equipment. The gearbox also performs with the M550i’s regular navigation technique and optional adaptive cruise control to predictively downshift change for corners or slower autos in advance of you, all based mostly on information the several methods pick up. Metal, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters enable you control your individual shifts if you want, but this is still a different situation wherever the transmission is smarter than I am. I’m flawlessly pleased to enable it do its individual point.

I is not going to discount the M5’s ability to hustle all around a race program, but I also refuse to think that something extra than a tin percentage of M5 potential buyers really consider their autos to the keep track of. The tradeoff for the M5’s sharp reflexes is an generally punishing metropolis and freeway experience high quality, even with the adaptive dampers set to Consolation.

BMW’s four.four-liter V8 provides 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The M550i, on the other hand, is significantly much better balanced for everyday driving. Place the M550i into its Sport or Sport Additionally options and it can be acquired sufficient poise on a very good winding road. The regular activity rear differential keeps the rear stop speaking whilst the xDrive all-wheel-travel technique moves electricity wherever it can be necessary most. M Sport brakes supply a ton of stopping electricity and they are easy to modulate. Meanwhile the Bridgestone Potenza tires are wonderful and grippy. My only beef is that the steering, whilst properly hefty, is fully numb. Identical goes for the M5, while this regrettable steering attribute plagues most new BMWs.

Go away the M550i in its Consolation or Adaptive options and the dampers soften up just plenty of to smooth out small to medium road impacts whilst nonetheless delivering a controlled and composed experience, even when equipped with my exam car’s twenty-inch wheels (19s are regular). Admittedly, you want to possibility the $three,600 Dynamic Managing Package deal to get the adaptive M suspension and lively roll stabilization, but it can be cash nicely expended if you want to occasion.

Clearly, no V8-run BMW is likely to be frugal, and the EPA says the 2021 M550i xDrive must return 17 miles for each gallon in the metropolis, twenty five mpg freeway and twenty mpg put together. If that is an issue, I remarkably propose checking out the 540i, which provides a turbocharged straight-6 with moderate-hybrid boost, and will quickly beat thirty mpg on the freeway.

This interior is super comfy.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The M550i will get a range of updates for 2021 that you can come across on other 5 Sequence products, which includes new headlights and taillights and a handful of up to date interior trimmings. You could unquestionably criticize the 5 Sequence for getting on the extra sedate side of appealing, in particular when in comparison to autos like the Genesis G80 three.5T or Mercedes-AMG E53. But I like the M550i, in particular in this rich shade of Aventurin Red ($one,950) which seems a bit extra crimson or purple based on lighting. Individually, I like to contact it Chillable Red.

The 5’s interior is wonderful, but all over again, tedious. There are only a handful of affordable bits of plastic to speak of, but they are on surfaces you is not going to touch most of the time. Anything else within the cabin is good, from the soft leather seats to the appealing metal inlays to my exam car’s optional ceramic controls. It really is ultra silent in in this article, also, generating the M550i a good car for day-to-day commuting.

The M550i arrives regular with the 5 Series’ complete multimedia tech roster, starring BMW’s iDrive seven. application. A twelve.three-inch electronic instrument cluster displays all sorts of pertinent auto info, whilst a second twelve.three-inch touchscreen handles the hefty lifting atop the dashboard. Touching the display is the least difficult way to work this tech, while you can nonetheless use the rotary knob on the centre console or function by means of voice instructions. BMW’s stupid gesture controls are part of the $two,150 Govt Package deal and can fortunately be turned off. Aspect be aware: I do believe it can be hilarious that, if you convert up the radio quantity by means of the steering wheel button or tuning knob whilst the gesture controls are activated, a small display arrives up on the display displaying you the hand motion you could be generating. It really is like the car’s refined way of reminding you that you aren’t using a operate in the newest and most intriguing way. How German.

The M550i is a good alternate to the hardcore M5.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Individually, I choose to use the wi-fi Apple CarPlay interface, which is regular, alongside with Android Car. Wireless charging arrives as part of the aforementioned Govt Package deal, as does a head-up display. You can also spec a bangin’ Bowers & Wilkins seem technique for an extra $three,four hundred, if that is your jam. A encompass-look at camera and park distance control are bundled into the $800 Parking Help Package deal and superior driving aids these kinds of as lane-holding assist and blind-place monitoring are part of the $one,seven hundred Driving Help Additionally pack. The latter also provides BMW’s Extended Visitors Jam Assistant, which lets for minimal amounts of steering assist on pick out roads below forty mph.

A 2021 BMW M550i xDrive begins at $seventy seven,795 which includes $995 for spot, and a loaded instance like the just one you see in this article charges just beneath $ninety four,000. That is a ton of cash, but do not forget, you won’t be able to get into an M5 for something considerably less than $104,495. Unless you actually want the M5’s slight bump in electricity and prowess, I say stick with the M550i and delight in a a great deal extra livable — and inexpensive — bundle.