March 9, 2021


Connecting People

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

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

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The BMW M550i xDrive is 90% of the vehicle the M5 is, and in some strategies, it truly is truly greater. The M550i gives strong V8 power and a extended listing of tech and creature comforts. What it lacks in outright monitor-assault ferocity it far more than will make up for with greater over-all stability and a a great deal nicer experience high-quality. Presented the choice, I might select the M550i as my everyday driver.


  • Big V8 gives huge power
  • Chassis is properly tuned for both equally comfort and sport
  • Plush interior with tons of amenities
  • iDrive tech is effortless to use

Really don’t Like

  • Numb steering truly feel
  • Driver-help solutions charge additional
  • Bad gasoline economic system

The M550i utilizes BMW’s twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8, with 523 horsepower and 553 pound-ft of torque functioning through an eight-velocity automatic transmission. All advised, the all-wheel-drive M550i can speed up to sixty mph in just 3.6 seconds, which implies it truly is quicker than its essential rivals, the Audi S6 and Mercedes-AMG E53, both equally of which use far more sedate 6-cylinder engines. The BMW even will come with a good start management perform, which I am positive most men and women will in no way use.

Of course, the M5 utilizes a tweaked edition of the exact V8 motor, and sure, it will make as a great deal as 617 hp in Level of competition guise. But the torque output is the exact for the M550i, M5 and M5 Comp, and that brief-launch turbocharged thrust is what you are going to count on most while pulling absent from stoplights and merging on to the highway. The base M5 is .4 seconds quicker to sixty mph than the M550i, and that is not a disparity you are going to observe 99% of the time, if ever.

The M550i utilizes BMW’s Steptronic Activity automatic transmission, which is kind of a ideal-of-both equally-worlds gearbox. It shifts with the quickness of a twin-clutch transmission but has a torque converter, which will make it smoother at lower speeds and when partaking initial gear. The gearbox also functions with the M550i’s normal navigation program and optional adaptive cruise management to predictively downshift change for corners or slower automobiles ahead of you, all based on facts the several techniques select up. Metal, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters permit you regulate your personal shifts if you want, but this is still another situation in which the transmission is smarter than I am. I am completely pleased to permit it do its personal thing.

I would not lower price the M5’s ability to hustle all around a race system, but I also refuse to consider that anything at all far more than a tin share of M5 purchasers truly get their automobiles to the monitor. The tradeoff for the M5’s sharp reflexes is an often punishing metropolis and highway experience high-quality, even with the adaptive dampers established to Comfort and ease.

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

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The M550i, on the other hand, is far greater well balanced for daily driving. Set the M550i into its Activity or Activity Plus options and it truly is bought ample poise on a excellent winding highway. The normal sport rear differential retains the rear finish speaking while the xDrive all-wheel-drive program moves power in which it truly is wanted most. M Activity brakes present a large amount of stopping power and they’re effortless to modulate. In the meantime the Bridgestone Potenza tires are wonderful and grippy. My only beef is that the steering, while appropriately hefty, is fully numb. Exact goes for the M5, even though this unfortunate steering characteristic plagues most new BMWs.

Depart the M550i in its Comfort and ease or Adaptive options and the dampers soften up just sufficient to sleek out modest to medium highway impacts while still delivering a managed and composed experience, even when equipped with my check car’s twenty-inch wheels (19s are normal). Admittedly, you have to have to selection the $3,600 Dynamic Handling Offer to get the adaptive M suspension and active roll stabilization, but it truly is dollars nicely invested if you want to get together.

Clearly, no V8-driven BMW is heading to be frugal, and the EPA claims the 2021 M550i xDrive should return seventeen miles for each gallon in the metropolis, twenty five mpg highway and twenty mpg merged. If that is an challenge, I really suggest examining out the 540i, which gives a turbocharged straight-6 with mild-hybrid improve, and will very easily beat thirty mpg on the highway.

This interior is super comfy.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The M550i receives a number of updates for 2021 that you are going to uncover on other 5 Series types, such as new headlights and taillights and a couple up-to-date interior trimmings. You could definitely criticize the 5 Series for getting on the far more sedate facet of desirable, particularly when when compared to automobiles like the Genesis G80 3.5T or Mercedes-AMG E53. But I like the M550i, particularly in this loaded shade of Aventurin Red ($one,950) which seems a little far more pink or purple depending on lights. Personally, I like to get in touch with it Chillable Red.

The 5’s interior is wonderful, but again, uninteresting. There are only a couple low-priced bits of plastic to communicate of, but they’re on surfaces you would not contact most of the time. All the things else inside of the cabin is terrific, from the soft leather seats to the desirable metal inlays to my check car’s optional ceramic controls. It is really extremely quiet in here, as well, earning the M550i a terrific vehicle for day-to-day commuting.

The M550i will come normal with the 5 Series’ complete multimedia tech roster, starring BMW’s iDrive 7. program. A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster displays all kinds of pertinent automobile data, while a next 12.3-inch touchscreen handles the large lifting atop the dashboard. Touching the monitor is the least difficult way to function this tech, even though you can still use the rotary knob on the heart console or function by using voice commands. BMW’s silly gesture controls are component of the $two,150 Government Offer and can thankfully be turned off. Facet be aware: I do think it truly is hilarious that, if you turn up the radio quantity by using the steering wheel button or tuning knob while the gesture controls are activated, a minor display will come up on the monitor exhibiting you the hand motion you could be earning. It is really like the car’s delicate way of reminding you that you are not employing a perform in the most recent and most intriguing way. How German.

The M550i is a terrific option to the hardcore M5.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Personally, I desire to use the wi-fi Apple CarPlay interface, which is normal, alongside with Android Auto. Wi-fi charging will come as component of the aforementioned Government Offer, as does a head-up display. You can also spec a bangin’ Bowers & Wilkins sound program for an additional $3,four hundred, if that is your jam. A surround-perspective digital camera and park distance management are bundled into the $800 Parking Guidance Offer and state-of-the-art driving aids such as lane-keeping help and blind-spot checking are component of the $one,700 Driving Guidance Plus pack. The latter also adds BMW’s Extended Targeted visitors Jam Assistant, which permits for minimal quantities of steering help on pick out roadways under forty mph.

A 2021 BMW M550i xDrive starts off at $seventy seven,795 such as $995 for place, and a loaded illustration like the a person you see here costs just under $94,000. That is a large amount of dollars, but really don’t overlook, you won’t be able to get into an M5 for anything at all less than $104,495. Until you really have to have the M5’s slight bump in power and prowess, I say adhere with the M550i and appreciate a a great deal far more livable — and reasonably priced — package deal.