2018 BMW M550i Review: Call it ‘M5 Lite’

    Regardless of the M on the entrance of its title, the BMW M550i just isn’t a full-fledged M car. Slightly, it is the M Efficiency model of BMW’s 5 Sequence sedan. Consider it as a step above a top-of-the-line 540i M Sport, however one thing that does not fairly attain M5 ranges of badassery.

    However make no mistake, there’s nonetheless loads of M on this 550i. It is an excellent various for people who do not wish to pony up for the complete M5 therapy.

    M Efficiency

    The M550i is one in all many M Efficiency BMWs, alongside the traces of the X3 M40i, X4 M40i, M240i, M760i and so forth. M Efficiency brings a whole lot of beauty upgrades to the already fairly 5 Sequence, together with M accents on the massive entrance air intakes, aluminum pedals, distinctive ground mats and a thicker-rimmed steering wheel.

    What’s most essential, although, is the powertrain. The M550i will get BMW’s twin-turbocharged Four.Four-liter V8 engine with 456 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque. It additionally will get a stiffer chassis that lowers the automotive by nearly half an inch in comparison with a typical 540i, a sports activities exhaust and bigger, M Sport brakes.

    There’s a fully large quantity of energy on faucet right here. It will not be an M5, however BMW says the M550i’ll dash to 60 miles per hour in underneath Four seconds, which isn’t solely completely plausible, however nonetheless rattling fast.

    BMW’s Four.Four-liter twin-turbo V8 places out 456 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque.

    Emme Corridor/Roadshow

    Up within the mountains of Colorado, the M550i actually wakes up once I put it into Sport Plus mode, the ZF-sourced eight-speed computerized transmission firing off fast shifts, holding gears via the complete rev vary. The M550i willingly dives into the tight hairpins and decreasing-radius turns of the Rockies. If you happen to enter a nook too rapidly, dial in additional to the steering and let the lively all-wheel drive system transfer torque round to maintain oversteer at bay.

    Within the automotive’s default Consolation mode, the M550i gives a clean, compliant trip — good for a late-night trek on Colorado highways as snow begins to fall. The steering is lighter, the trip softer and the transmission much less desperate to shift with immediacy. It drives as superbly as a 5 Sequence ought to. The inherent sportiness of the M Efficiency bundle doesn’t damage this automotive’s daily-driving attributes.

    Quite a lot of driver help features make it simple to make use of in each day commuting, too. Lane-keeping and site visitors jam help methods work collectively to steer the M550i with none enter from the motive force, and whereas this tech does not work on winding again roads, it is nice for lengthy stretches of freeway with in depth, sweeping turns. Blind-spot warning works at speeds above 15 mph, and steering intervention kicks in above 40 mph. It is good security tech, however wow, that intervention is robust.

    Leather-based, brushed aluminum and open pore wooden make for a minimally glossy and complex cabin.

    Emme Corridor/Roadshow

    Comfortable cozy

    I like this check automotive’s luxurious Cognac Dakota (learn: tan) leather-based inside, highlighted by contrasting blue stitching. There’s shiny black trim on the sprint, nevertheless it’s tempered by open-pore wooden and brushed aluminum items that appear and feel superior.

    As a comparatively giant sedan, there’s loads of head- and legroom for each entrance and rear passengers and the trunk gives a beneficiant 18.7 cubic ft of area. There is a pass-through for longer objects, presumably skis, and the rear seats fold down as properly for bulkier cargo.

    BMW’s iDrive infotainment system is housed on this 10.2-inch touchscreen that may also be managed through rotary knob on the middle console.

    Emme Corridor/Roadshow

    Good tech, for a worth

    BMW’s iDrive infotainment system is served up on a big, 10.2-inch display screen. It is simple to make use of, and could be operated both through contact, or with the rotary controller on the middle console. Gesture control permits me to regulate audio quantity or reply a telephone name with some easy hand motions, nevertheless it does not work completely each time. Circling my proper finger close to the middle stack is meant to extend the quantity, however more often than not, I discovered it extra dependable to only use the mechanical knob.

    Whereas I like BMW iDrive simply tremendous, I desire to make use of Apple CarPlay. BMW gives it, however as a $300 choice. Why would I pay a pair hundred bucks for smartphone mirroring that comes normal on less expensive automobiles? That is nickel and diming at its worst.

    You’ll be able to see the bigger M Sport brakes behind these upsized wheels, each of that are unique to the M550i.

    Emme Corridor/Roadshow

    Choices, choices, choices

    BMW is thought for providing myriad choice packages and standalone add-ons, and the M550i isn’t any totally different. There are seven totally different packages accessible, all ranging in worth from $700 for the Parking Help bundle, to $three,600 for the Dynamic Dealing with Package deal. My check automotive, with six of the seven packages chosen, plus à la carte choices like gesture management, CarPlay, evening imaginative and prescient and an upgraded Bowers & Wilkins audio system, rings in at $88,985 together with $995 for vacation spot. That is a fairly large enhance over the M550i’s $72,100 base worth.

    For me, I would positively need the Dynamic Dealing with Package deal, largely for the adaptive suspension. I would additionally shell out $three,400 for the 2 Driving Help packages, which add the passive and lively blind-spot and lane-keeping help, in addition to adaptive cruise management and ahead collision warning. I would even spend $300 on Apple CarPlay, begrudgingly.

    The M550i is a full $30,000 cheaper than an M5, and nonetheless fairly darn enjoyable to drive.

    Emme Corridor/Roadshow

    Stiff competitors

    Ze Germans know their luxurious/sport sedans. Mercedes-Benz gives an identical method within the type of the AMG E43, which prices about the identical however is down 60 horsepower in comparison with the M550i. An Audi RS7 places you into six-figure territory, however the less-powerful S6 sedan is about the identical worth because the BMW. You could possibly have a look at a Cadillac CTS V-Sport, too, which is down on energy, but additionally begins at $10,000 lower than the BMW.

    After all, there’s additionally BMW’s personal M5, which gives 600 horsepower, 553 pound-feet of torque, all-wheel drive that may turn into rear-wheel drive when requested and phenomenal dealing with. It comes at a worth, although: $30,500 greater than the M550i. I am unable to think about completely having to have the M5. I would fairly have an M550i and a Mazda MX-5 Miata.

    The M550i packs greater than sufficient efficiency for public roads, and is comfy sufficient to deal with your commute with aplomb. It is not an M5, certain, nevertheless it’s a less-expensive selection that does not sacrifice a lot in the way in which of consolation, tech or behind-the-wheel enjoyable.

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