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

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

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The BMW M550i xDrive is 90% of the vehicle the M5 is, and in some methods, it truly is really improved. The M550i features robust V8 ability and a lengthy listing of tech and creature comforts. What it lacks in outright observe-attack ferocity it far more than can make up for with better over-all balance and a significantly nicer journey good quality. Provided the alternative, I would decide the M550i as my each day driver.

Table of Contents


  • Major V8 features major ability
  • Chassis is properly tuned for both of those consolation and activity
  • Plush inside with tons of facilities
  • iDrive tech is quick to use

You should not Like

  • Numb steering come to feel
  • Driver-guidance choices cost extra
  • Inadequate gas overall economy

The M550i works by using BMW’s twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8, with 523 horsepower and 553 pound-toes of torque jogging via an eight-pace automatic transmission. All told, the all-wheel-generate M550i can speed up to sixty mph in just 3.six seconds, which indicates it truly is faster than its essential rivals, the Audi S6 and Mercedes-AMG E53, both of those of which use far more sedate 6-cylinder engines. The BMW even comes with a suitable start management purpose, which I am confident most individuals will under no circumstances use.

Of course, the M5 works by using a tweaked version of the same V8 engine, and of course, it can make as significantly as 617 hp in Level of competition guise. But the torque output is the same for the M550i, M5 and M5 Comp, and that brief-launch turbocharged thrust is what you’ll count on most when pulling absent from stoplights and merging onto the freeway. The base M5 is .4 seconds faster to sixty mph than the M550i, and which is not a disparity you’ll see 99% of the time, if ever.

The M550i works by using BMW’s Steptronic Activity automatic transmission, which is form of a most effective-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 reduced speeds and when partaking initial gear. The gearbox also is effective with the M550i’s standard navigation process and optional adaptive cruise management to predictively downshift shift for corners or slower vehicles ahead of you, all based mostly on facts the different units decide up. Steel, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters enable you handle your individual shifts if you want, but this is however another case wherever the transmission is smarter than I am. I am properly happy to enable it do its individual thing.

I will not discounted the M5’s ability to hustle all over a race system, but I also refuse to believe that nearly anything far more than a tin percentage of M5 buyers really take their vehicles to the observe. The tradeoff for the M5’s sharp reflexes is an often punishing town and freeway journey good quality, even with the adaptive dampers set to Comfort.

BMW’s 4.4-liter V8 features 523 horsepower and 553 pound-toes of torque.

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The M550i, on the other hand, is considerably improved balanced for every day driving. Put the M550i into its Activity or Activity Plus configurations and it truly is bought sufficient poise on a good winding highway. The standard activity rear differential retains the rear conclude conversing when the xDrive all-wheel-generate process moves ability wherever it truly is necessary most. M Activity brakes offer you a lot of halting ability and they’re quick to modulate. Meanwhile the Bridgestone Potenza tires are good and grippy. My only beef is that the steering, when correctly hefty, is thoroughly numb. Similar goes for the M5, nevertheless this regrettable steering attribute plagues most new BMWs.

Leave the M550i in its Comfort or Adaptive configurations and the dampers soften up just sufficient to sleek out tiny to medium highway impacts when even now providing a controlled and composed journey, even when fitted with my exam car’s 20-inch wheels (19s are standard). Admittedly, you need to possibility the $3,600 Dynamic Dealing with Offer to get the adaptive M suspension and energetic roll stabilization, but it truly is funds effectively expended if you want to bash.

Of course, no V8-run BMW is going to be frugal, and the EPA states the 2021 M550i xDrive need to return seventeen miles per gallon in the town, twenty five mpg freeway and 20 mpg merged. If which is an difficulty, I really endorse examining out the 540i, which features a turbocharged straight-6 with moderate-hybrid raise, and will easily defeat thirty mpg on the freeway.

This inside is super cozy.

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The M550i receives a variety of updates for 2021 that you’ll come across on other 5 Collection styles, together with new headlights and taillights and a handful of current inside trimmings. You could unquestionably criticize the 5 Collection for currently being on the far more sedate side of beautiful, in particular when compared to vehicles like the Genesis G80 3.5T or Mercedes-AMG E53. But I like the M550i, in particular in this wealthy shade of Aventurin Pink ($1,950) which appears to be marginally far more pink or purple based on lights. Personally, I like to contact it Chillable Pink.

The 5’s inside is good, but all over again, monotonous. There are only a handful of cheap bits of plastic to converse of, but they’re on surfaces you will not contact most of the time. Every little thing else inside of the cabin is fantastic, from the delicate leather seats to the beautiful metal inlays to my exam car’s optional ceramic controls. It can be ultra tranquil in right here, also, creating the M550i a fantastic vehicle for working day-to-working day commuting.

The M550i comes standard with the 5 Series’ full multimedia tech roster, starring BMW’s iDrive seven. program. A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster displays all kinds of relevant car details, when a 2nd 12.3-inch touchscreen handles the hefty lifting atop the dashboard. Touching the monitor is the easiest way to work this tech, nevertheless you can even now use the rotary knob on the middle console or operate via voice instructions. BMW’s silly gesture controls are aspect of the $2,a hundred and fifty Govt Offer and can fortunately be turned off. Aspect observe: I do feel it truly is hilarious that, if you flip up the radio volume via the steering wheel button or tuning knob when the gesture controls are activated, a minimal display comes up on the monitor exhibiting you the hand movement you could be creating. It can be like the car’s refined way of reminding you that you aren’t utilizing a purpose in the newest and most attention-grabbing way. How German.

The M550i is a fantastic alternative to the hardcore M5.

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Personally, I choose to use the wi-fi Apple CarPlay interface, which is standard, along with Android Automobile. Wireless charging comes as aspect of the aforementioned Govt Offer, as does a head-up display. You can also spec a bangin’ Bowers & Wilkins sound process for an extra $3,four hundred, if which is your jam. A surround-perspective digital camera and park distance management are bundled into the $800 Parking Assistance Offer and superior driving aids these kinds of as lane-keeping support and blind-location monitoring are aspect of the $1,seven hundred Driving Assistance Plus pack. The latter also adds BMW’s Extended Visitors Jam Assistant, which lets for constrained quantities of steering support on pick out roadways down below forty mph.

A 2021 BMW M550i xDrive commences at $77,795 together with $995 for desired destination, and a loaded instance like the just one you see right here fees just below $94,000. Which is a lot of funds, but don’t ignore, you are not able to get into an M5 for nearly anything fewer than $104,495. Unless of course you definitely need the M5’s slight bump in ability and prowess, I say adhere with the M550i and get pleasure from a significantly far more livable — and affordable — deal.