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

Aventurin Purple is a chef’s-kiss-dot-gif coloration. Steven Ewing/Roadshow The BMW M550i xDrive is ninety% of the car or truck the M5 is, and in some means, it’s actually improved. The M550i delivers sturdy V8 electricity and a extensive list of tech and creature comforts. What it lacks in outright track-assault […]

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

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The BMW M550i xDrive is ninety% of the car or truck the M5 is, and in some means, it’s actually improved. The M550i delivers sturdy V8 electricity and a extensive list of tech and creature comforts. What it lacks in outright track-assault ferocity it a lot more than tends to make up for with higher over-all stability and a significantly nicer trip top quality. Specified the choice, I might pick the M550i as my day-to-day driver.


  • Significant V8 delivers big electricity
  • Chassis is nicely tuned for both of those ease and comfort and activity
  • Plush interior with lots of amenities
  • iDrive tech is quick to use

Do not Like

  • Numb steering truly feel
  • Driver-guidance choices price excess
  • Weak gasoline overall economy

The M550i takes advantage of BMW’s twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8, with 523 horsepower and 553 pound-ft of torque functioning through an 8-speed automated transmission. All advised, the all-wheel-travel M550i can speed up to sixty mph in just three.6 seconds, which signifies it’s faster than its important rivals, the Audi S6 and Mercedes-AMG E53, both of those of which use a lot more sedate six-cylinder engines. The BMW even comes with a suitable launch command purpose, which I am absolutely sure most people today will by no means use.

Indeed, the M5 takes advantage of a tweaked variation of the identical V8 engine, and certainly, it tends to make as significantly as 617 hp in Level of competition guise. But the torque output is the identical for the M550i, M5 and M5 Comp, and that fast-launch turbocharged thrust is what you can depend on most even though pulling absent from stoplights and merging on to the freeway. The foundation M5 is .4 seconds faster to sixty mph than the M550i, and that’s not a disparity you can discover 99% of the time, if ever.

The M550i takes advantage of BMW’s Steptronic Sport automated transmission, which is kind of a best-of-both of those-worlds gearbox. It shifts with the quickness of a twin-clutch transmission but has a torque converter, which tends to make it smoother at minimal speeds and when engaging initial gear. The gearbox also will work with the M550i’s standard navigation process and optional adaptive cruise command to predictively downshift change for corners or slower cars and trucks forward of you, all based mostly on facts the different techniques pick up. Steel, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters let you manage your possess shifts if you want, but this is nevertheless a further circumstance where by the transmission is smarter than I am. I am beautifully satisfied to let it do its possess thing.

I will not likely lower price the M5’s means to hustle all-around a race program, but I also refuse to imagine that anything at all a lot more than a tin share of M5 customers actually take their cars and trucks to the track. The tradeoff for the M5’s sharp reflexes is an normally punishing city and freeway trip top quality, even with the adaptive dampers set to Comfort and ease.

BMW’s 4.4-liter V8 delivers 523 horsepower and 553 pound-ft of torque.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The M550i, on the other hand, is significantly improved balanced for day-to-day driving. Put the M550i into its Sport or Sport Moreover configurations and it’s obtained enough poise on a fantastic winding highway. The standard activity rear differential keeps the rear stop chatting even though the xDrive all-wheel-travel process moves electricity where by it’s necessary most. M Sport brakes offer a ton of stopping electricity and they are quick to modulate. In the meantime the Bridgestone Potenza tires are awesome and grippy. My only beef is that the steering, even though correctly significant, is completely numb. Exact same goes for the M5, although this unfortunate steering attribute plagues most new BMWs.

Depart the M550i in its Comfort and ease or Adaptive configurations and the dampers soften up just plenty of to smooth out small to medium highway impacts even though however delivering a controlled and composed trip, even when equipped with my examination car’s twenty-inch wheels (19s are standard). Admittedly, you need to have to selection the $three,600 Dynamic Managing Bundle to get the adaptive M suspension and active roll stabilization, but it’s money well spent if you want to get together.

Obviously, no V8-powered BMW is going to be frugal, and the EPA says the 2021 M550i xDrive should really return 17 miles for each gallon in the city, twenty five mpg freeway and twenty mpg combined. If that’s an difficulty, I highly advise examining out the 540i, which delivers a turbocharged straight-six with delicate-hybrid increase, and will simply conquer 30 mpg on the freeway.

This interior is tremendous comfy.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The M550i will get a amount of updates for 2021 that you can uncover on other five Collection versions, including new headlights and taillights and a few up-to-date interior trimmings. You could absolutely criticize the five Collection for getting on the a lot more sedate side of eye-catching, especially when compared to cars and trucks like the Genesis G80 three.5T or Mercedes-AMG E53. But I like the M550i, especially in this prosperous shade of Aventurin Purple ($one,950) which appears to be like a bit a lot more crimson or purple based on lighting. Personally, I like to get in touch with it Chillable Purple.

The 5’s interior is awesome, but once again, dull. There are only a few cheap bits of plastic to discuss of, but they are on surfaces you will not likely touch most of the time. Everything else within the cabin is great, from the comfortable leather-based seats to the eye-catching metal inlays to my examination car’s optional ceramic controls. It really is extremely tranquil in here, way too, earning the M550i a great car or truck for day-to-day commuting.

The M550i comes standard with the five Series’ entire multimedia tech roster, starring BMW’s iDrive seven. software program. A twelve.three-inch digital instrument cluster displays all types of appropriate auto information, even though a second twelve.three-inch touchscreen handles the hefty lifting atop the dashboard. Touching the display screen is the simplest way to operate this tech, although you can however use the rotary knob on the center console or perform by means of voice commands. BMW’s silly gesture controls are element of the $two,one hundred fifty Government Bundle and can thankfully be turned off. Facet be aware: I do assume it’s hilarious that, if you transform up the radio quantity by means of the steering wheel button or tuning knob even though the gesture controls are activated, a minor screen comes up on the display screen demonstrating you the hand motion you could be earning. It really is like the car’s delicate way of reminding you that you aren’t utilizing a purpose in the latest and most fascinating way. How German.

The M550i is a great different to the hardcore M5.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Personally, I desire to use the wireless Apple CarPlay interface, which is standard, along with Android Vehicle. Wi-fi charging comes as element of the aforementioned Government Bundle, as does a head-up screen. You can also spec a bangin’ Bowers & Wilkins seem process for an excess $three,four hundred, if that’s your jam. A encompass-perspective digicam and park distance command are bundled into the $800 Parking Help Bundle and sophisticated driving aids these types of as lane-preserving aid and blind-spot checking are element of the $one,seven-hundred Driving Help Moreover pack. The latter also adds BMW’s Prolonged Traffic Jam Assistant, which lets for constrained amounts of steering aid on choose streets below forty mph.

A 2021 BMW M550i xDrive starts at $77,795 including $995 for desired destination, and a loaded illustration like the just one you see here expenses just below $ninety four,000. Which is a ton of money, but never overlook, you are unable to get into an M5 for anything at all fewer than $104,495. Unless you certainly need to have the M5’s slight bump in electricity and prowess, I say stick with the M550i and get pleasure from a significantly a lot more livable — and economical — package.

Rosa G. Rose

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