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

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

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The BMW M550i xDrive is 90% of the car the M5 is, and in some techniques, it can be in fact greater. The M550i delivers powerful V8 power and a extended record of tech and creature comforts. What it lacks in outright observe-attack ferocity it far more than makes up for with higher total balance and a a lot nicer ride high-quality. Offered the decision, I might decide on the M550i as my every day driver.

Table of Contents


  • Huge V8 delivers massive power
  • Chassis is properly tuned for each comfort and sport
  • Plush interior with a lot of facilities
  • iDrive tech is simple to use

Never Like

  • Numb steering come to feel
  • Driver-assistance solutions cost more
  • Inadequate gas economic system

The M550i uses BMW’s twin-turbo four.four-liter V8, with 523 horsepower and 553 pound-ft of torque operating by way of an eight-speed automatic transmission. All instructed, the all-wheel-travel M550i can accelerate to sixty mph in just 3.six seconds, which means it can be a lot quicker than its critical rivals, the Audi S6 and Mercedes-AMG E53, each of which use far more sedate six-cylinder engines. The BMW even will come with a good start control operate, which I’m guaranteed most people today will under no circumstances use.

Certainly, the M5 uses a tweaked model of the very same V8 motor, and certainly, it makes as a lot as 617 hp in Levels of competition guise. But the torque output is the very same for the M550i, M5 and M5 Comp, and that fast-launch turbocharged thrust is what you will count on most whilst pulling absent from stoplights and merging onto the highway. The foundation M5 is .four seconds a lot quicker to sixty mph than the M550i, and which is not a disparity you will observe ninety nine% of the time, if ever.

The M550i uses BMW’s Steptronic Sport automatic transmission, which is sort of a ideal-of-each-worlds gearbox. It shifts with the quickness of a dual-clutch transmission but has a torque converter, which makes it smoother at minimal speeds and when participating first equipment. The gearbox also performs with the M550i’s conventional navigation technique and optional adaptive cruise control to predictively downshift change for corners or slower vehicles ahead of you, all based on information the several devices decide on up. Steel, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters permit you take care of your individual shifts if you want, but this is still one more case where the transmission is smarter than I am. I’m perfectly delighted to permit it do its individual matter.

I won’t price cut the M5’s ability to hustle all over a race system, but I also refuse to think that anything at all far more than a tin percentage of M5 potential buyers in fact get their vehicles to the observe. The tradeoff for the M5’s sharp reflexes is an frequently punishing city and highway ride high-quality, even with the adaptive dampers established to Comfort.

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

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The M550i, on the other hand, is significantly greater well balanced for day to day driving. Put the M550i into its Sport or Sport Furthermore settings and it can be bought ample poise on a great winding street. The conventional sport rear differential retains the rear finish conversing whilst the xDrive all-wheel-travel technique moves power where it can be essential most. M Sport brakes offer you a good deal of halting power and they’re simple to modulate. Meanwhile the Bridgestone Potenza tires are nice and grippy. My only beef is that the steering, whilst appropriately significant, is totally numb. Same goes for the M5, even though this regrettable steering attribute plagues most new BMWs.

Depart the M550i in its Comfort or Adaptive settings and the dampers soften up just adequate to smooth out smaller to medium street impacts whilst nevertheless providing a managed and composed ride, even when fitted with my test car’s 20-inch wheels (19s are conventional). Admittedly, you want to alternative the $3,600 Dynamic Managing Deal to get the adaptive M suspension and active roll stabilization, but it can be funds properly spent if you want to social gathering.

Of course, no V8-powered BMW is heading to be frugal, and the EPA states the 2021 M550i xDrive should really return 17 miles for every gallon in the city, 25 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined. If which is an difficulty, I highly recommend checking out the 540i, which delivers a turbocharged straight-six with mild-hybrid improve, and will conveniently defeat 30 mpg on the highway.

This interior is tremendous cozy.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The M550i gets a number of updates for 2021 that you will uncover on other five Series types, together with new headlights and taillights and a handful of current interior trimmings. You could surely criticize the five Series for becoming on the far more sedate aspect of desirable, especially when in contrast to vehicles like the Genesis G80 3.5T or Mercedes-AMG E53. But I like the M550i, especially in this loaded shade of Aventurin Purple ($1,950) which appears a bit far more red or purple relying on lights. Individually, I like to phone it Chillable Purple.

The 5’s interior is nice, but all over again, boring. There are only a handful of low-priced bits of plastic to speak of, but they’re on surfaces you won’t touch most of the time. Everything else inside the cabin is great, from the comfortable leather seats to the desirable steel inlays to my test car’s optional ceramic controls. It really is extremely quiet in right here, far too, making the M550i a great car for working day-to-working day commuting.

The M550i will come conventional with the five Series’ full multimedia tech roster, starring BMW’s iDrive 7. application. A twelve.3-inch electronic instrument cluster shows all types of appropriate car knowledge, whilst a next twelve.3-inch touchscreen handles the large lifting atop the dashboard. Touching the display is the easiest way to work this tech, even though you can nevertheless use the rotary knob on the center console or operate through voice commands. BMW’s stupid gesture controls are component of the $two,150 Govt Deal and can luckily be turned off. Aspect observe: I do assume it can be hilarious that, if you flip up the radio quantity through the steering wheel button or tuning knob whilst the gesture controls are activated, a minimal exhibit will come up on the display showing you the hand motion you could be making. It really is like the car’s refined way of reminding you that you aren’t working with a operate in the most recent and most fascinating way. How German.

The M550i is a great option to the hardcore M5.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Individually, I favor to use the wi-fi Apple CarPlay interface, which is conventional, alongside with Android Car. Wireless charging will come as component of the aforementioned Govt Deal, as does a head-up exhibit. You can also spec a bangin’ Bowers & Wilkins sound technique for an more $3,four hundred, if which is your jam. A surround-watch camera and park distance control are bundled into the $800 Parking Support Deal and innovative driving aids such as lane-retaining support and blind-location monitoring are component of the $1,seven-hundred Driving Support Furthermore pack. The latter also adds BMW’s Prolonged Website traffic Jam Assistant, which lets for constrained quantities of steering support on select roadways below forty mph.

A 2021 BMW M550i xDrive commences at $seventy seven,795 together with $995 for spot, and a loaded example like the one you see right here expenses just beneath $ninety four,000. Which is a good deal of funds, but you should not forget about, you are not able to get into an M5 for anything at all a lot less than $104,495. Except you genuinely want the M5’s slight bump in power and prowess, I say adhere with the M550i and get pleasure from a a lot far more livable — and very affordable — bundle.

Maria J. Danford

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