BMW’s 550i xDrive has long been considered as one of the most successful business sedans in the world. For the brand, this may not be enough as it has officially revealed that it is coming out with the M Performance version of this model. Dubbed as the BMW M550i xDrive, the brand hopes this will take the lead for its 5 Series range.
Prior to the addition of this model, the brand’s M Performance range consisted of the BM240i Convertible, BMW M240i xDrive Convertible, M240i Coupe, M240i xDrive Coupe, BMW X4 M40i xDrive and the BMW M760i xDrive.
Another first for the 2018 M550i xDrive is that this will be the lone model from the M Performance range to have an engine specifically modified for it. This is the M Performance Turbo 8-cylinder TwinPower 4.4-liter engine. The engine not only has a pair of twin-scroll turbochargers; it also has a High Precision Injection system. It even has the variable camshaft Double-VANOS timing control and the fully variable Valvetronic valve lift. With this, the 2018 M550i xDrive is able to deliver output at 456 hp available at 5,550 rpm. Maximum torque is 480 lb.-ft., and possible at 1,800 rpm. As a result, acceleration from 0 to 60 mph is possible in barely 4.0 speeds with top speed, electronically limited, at 155 mph.
All of the power is sent to wheels through the 8-speed Steptronic Sport transmission that has been tuned specially for this variant. This transmission clearly plays an important part in the M550i xDrive’s dynamics considering that when it comes to the M Performance, the shift modes are typically configured to meet the qualities of a V8 engine. The result is that faster engagement is possible on the whole revolution range.
One advantage of this transmission is that it can be managed through the shifter positioned on the center console or the shift paddles placed on its steering wheel. In addition, the M550i xDrive has the intelligent xDrive all-wheel-drive system. With this and depending on the current condition, the drive power is divided among the four wheels.
As part of the 5 Series range of BMW, there are various assistance systems equipped inside the M550i xDrive. These include, among others, the Active Lane Keeping Assistant which offers extended functionality, Active Cruise Control with the Stop & Go, and Evasion Aid. That said, the M550i xDrive also has a number of equipment and connectivity features on the interior.
According to BMW M GmbH CEO Frank van Meel, the M Performance Automobiles had been developed for customers who want a model that brings sporty driving characteristics but continues to have the everyday practicality that BMW offers. To make this possible, he added, the brand made use of the vast knowledge it learned in motor sport and in making high-performance cars.
Given the success of the M Performance Automobiles, the brand is confident it is doing the right thing, continued van Meel. For those who are familiar with the portfolio of the brand, they are likely to notice that not all of the models have the M Performance version, he added. BMW is planning to expand the lineup and hopefully minimize any gaps, van Meel concluded.
BMW says that the 2018 M550i xDrive will be available at authorized dealers across the U.S. by the spring of 2017. Prices though will be revealed as the date of the official launch nears.