To coincide with the premiere of the new 5 Series range, BMW’s M Performance division has added a sporty M550i xDrive to the line-up.
The range-topping 5 Series model is powered by an M Performance TwinPower Turbo engine and comes with BMW xDrive intelligent all-wheel drive, with rear-wheel bias and a bespoke M Performance chassis set-up.
The V8 is the first petrol engine in a 5 Series M Performance model, namely a specifically modified M Performance TwinPower Turbo 4.4-litre unit. Equipped with two twin-scroll turbochargers, total output comes in at 462 hp (fuel consumption combined 31.7 mpg, CO2 emissions combined 204 g/km) and peak torque of 650 Nm. This helps propel the new model from 0 to 62 mph in 4.0 seconds, on to an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.
Drive transfer is handled by the standard-fit Steptronic Sport eight-speed transmission, which, in M Performance configuration, means that shift modes have been tailored to the characteristics of the V8 engine, with distinctly sporty gear changes and more instantaneous downshifts across the entire rev range. The Steptronic Sport transmission can also be operated using the shift paddles on the steering wheel.
The xDrive all-wheel-drive system in the M550i splits drive power between all four wheels as the situation demands – ‘intelligently’ says BMW and with a rear-wheel bias. When the adaptive M Sport suspension (lowered by 10 millimetres) is added to the equation, along with either the standard 19-inch M light-alloy wheels in Cerium Grey metallic matt or the optional 20-inch light-alloy wheels, the result is described as ’tremendous handling stability and optimum traction, come what may’.
The exterior features an M aerodynamic package, including an M rear spoiler with Gurney flap while the exterior mirror caps, the kidney grille surround, the special M Performance bars on the front air intake and the two Air Breathers at the sides are all finished in the exclusive Cerium Grey metallic finish. An M sports exhaust system – with tailpipe embellishers in Black chrome on the left and right – is responsible for producing a ‘rousing’ BMW M soundtrack.
On board assistance systems include an evasion aid, crossing traffic warning system and active Lane Change Warning, which uses steering inputs to avert an impending collision. ‘BMW Connected’ links up devices such as smartphones, smartwatches, computers and tablets, as well as the vehicle’s navigation system, via the BMW servers.
“We develop the BMW M Performance Automobiles for customers who are seeking very sporty driving characteristics yet do not wish to sacrifice any of their BMW’s everyday practicality,” said Frank van Meel, CEO of BMW M GmbH. “The experience and expertise garnered by BMW M in the world of motor sport and the development of high-performance sports cars are also channelled into the development of our BMW M Performance Automobiles. The sales success clearly demonstrates that we are on the right track. When you take a look at the BMW AG model portfolio, you will notice that not every model series includes a BMW M Performance Automobile. We will expand our product range wisely and close any gaps in the line-up strategically.”
The new BMW M550i xDrive is scheduled to join the existing model line-up in March 2017, with pricing yet to be confirmed.