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

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

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

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The BMW M550i xDrive is ninety% of the auto the M5 is, and in some approaches, it is really essentially much better. The M550i offers sturdy V8 electric power and a long list of tech and creature comforts. What it lacks in outright keep track of-attack ferocity it extra than can make up for with larger over-all harmony and a a great deal nicer experience high-quality. Specified the selection, I would select the M550i as my day-to-day driver.


  • Big V8 offers massive electric power
  • Chassis is properly tuned for both of those ease and comfort and sport
  • Plush interior with tons of facilities
  • iDrive tech is uncomplicated to use

Don’t Like

  • Numb steering really feel
  • Driver-support alternatives expense further
  • Weak gas financial system

The M550i utilizes BMW’s twin-turbo four.four-liter V8, with 523 horsepower and 553 pound-ft of torque working via an 8-velocity automated transmission. All advised, the all-wheel-push M550i can speed up to sixty mph in just 3.six seconds, which usually means it is really faster than its important rivals, the Audi S6 and Mercedes-AMG E53, both of those of which use extra sedate 6-cylinder engines. The BMW even comes with a proper launch management purpose, which I’m certain most persons will in no way use.

Indeed, the M5 utilizes a tweaked variation of the very same V8 motor, and sure, it can make as a great deal as 617 hp in Competitors guise. But the torque output is the very same for the M550i, M5 and M5 Comp, and that speedy-release turbocharged thrust is what you are going to depend on most even though pulling absent from stoplights and merging on to the highway. The base M5 is .four seconds faster to sixty mph than the M550i, and that is not a disparity you are going to recognize ninety nine% of the time, if at any time.

The M550i utilizes BMW’s Steptronic Sport automated transmission, which is type of a greatest-of-both of those-worlds gearbox. It shifts with the quickness of a twin-clutch transmission but has a torque converter, which can make it smoother at minimal speeds and when engaging initial gear. The gearbox also performs with the M550i’s conventional navigation process and optional adaptive cruise management to predictively downshift change for corners or slower cars and trucks ahead of you, all dependent on information the many units select up. Metallic, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters let you handle your individual shifts if you want, but this is still an additional scenario exactly where the transmission is smarter than I am. I’m beautifully satisfied to let it do its individual thing.

I is not going to discounted the M5’s potential to hustle about a race system, but I also refuse to consider that something extra than a tin share of M5 customers essentially just take their cars and trucks to the keep track of. The tradeoff for the M5’s sharp reflexes is an usually punishing city and highway experience high-quality, even with the adaptive dampers established to Comfort and ease.

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

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The M550i, on the other hand, is much much better well balanced for daily driving. Set the M550i into its Sport or Sport Furthermore options and it is really received enough poise on a excellent winding road. The conventional sport rear differential keeps the rear conclusion conversing even though the xDrive all-wheel-push process moves electric power exactly where it is really required most. M Sport brakes provide a whole lot of stopping electric power and they are uncomplicated to modulate. Meanwhile the Bridgestone Potenza tires are nice and grippy. My only beef is that the steering, even though correctly hefty, is entirely numb. Similar goes for the M5, while this unlucky steering attribute plagues most new BMWs.

Leave the M550i in its Comfort and ease or Adaptive options and the dampers soften up just sufficient to sleek out modest to medium road impacts even though still providing a managed and composed experience, even when equipped with my exam car’s 20-inch wheels (19s are conventional). Admittedly, you need to choice the $3,600 Dynamic Dealing with Offer to get the adaptive M suspension and active roll stabilization, but it is really dollars perfectly put in if you want to social gathering.

Certainly, no V8-driven BMW is likely to be frugal, and the EPA suggests the 2021 M550i xDrive should really return 17 miles for every gallon in the city, 25 mpg highway and 20 mpg combined. If that is an problem, I highly recommend checking out the 540i, which offers a turbocharged straight-6 with moderate-hybrid increase, and will effortlessly conquer 30 mpg on the highway.

This interior is tremendous comfy.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The M550i receives a selection of updates for 2021 that you are going to uncover on other five Collection products, which include new headlights and taillights and a number of up to date interior trimmings. You could absolutely criticize the five Collection for remaining on the extra sedate facet of attractive, primarily when compared to cars and trucks like the Genesis G80 3.5T or Mercedes-AMG E53. But I like the M550i, primarily in this loaded shade of Aventurin Pink ($1,950) which appears to be a bit extra purple or purple depending on lighting. Personally, I like to phone it Chillable Pink.

The 5’s interior is nice, but all over again, uninteresting. There are only a number of cheap bits of plastic to speak of, but they are on surfaces you is not going to touch most of the time. Almost everything else inside the cabin is excellent, from the tender leather-based seats to the attractive metal inlays to my exam car’s optional ceramic controls. It truly is ultra quiet in here, also, making the M550i a excellent auto for working day-to-working day commuting.

The M550i comes conventional with the five Series’ total multimedia tech roster, starring BMW’s iDrive seven. software package. A twelve.3-inch electronic instrument cluster shows all kinds of pertinent automobile information, even though a next twelve.3-inch touchscreen handles the major lifting atop the dashboard. Touching the screen is the least complicated way to run this tech, while you can still use the rotary knob on the center console or do the job by means of voice commands. BMW’s silly gesture controls are part of the $two,a hundred and fifty Executive Offer and can thankfully be turned off. Side be aware: I do believe it is really hilarious that, if you change up the radio quantity by means of the steering wheel button or tuning knob even though the gesture controls are activated, a tiny display comes up on the screen demonstrating you the hand movement you could be making. It truly is like the car’s delicate way of reminding you that you aren’t working with a purpose in the latest and most appealing way. How German.

The M550i is a excellent substitute to the hardcore M5.

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Personally, I want to use the wi-fi Apple CarPlay interface, which is conventional, together with Android Vehicle. Wireless charging comes as part of the aforementioned Executive Offer, as does a head-up display. You can also spec a bangin’ Bowers & Wilkins seem process for an further $3,400, if that is your jam. A encompass-watch camera and park length management are bundled into the $800 Parking Aid Offer and sophisticated driving aids this kind of as lane-retaining support and blind-place checking are part of the $1,seven hundred Driving Aid Furthermore pack. The latter also adds BMW’s Prolonged Targeted visitors Jam Assistant, which allows for minimal quantities of steering support on find roadways down below forty mph.

A 2021 BMW M550i xDrive commences at $seventy seven,795 which include $995 for vacation spot, and a loaded example like the one you see here fees just under $94,000. That’s a whole lot of dollars, but really don’t fail to remember, you can not get into an M5 for something much less than $104,495. Except if you certainly need the M5’s slight bump in electric power and prowess, I say stick with the M550i and love a a great deal extra livable — and reasonably priced — package.