Some luxury vehicle buyers in the United States were disappointed that BMW was only offering the new BMW M550i xDrive sedan to customers in Europe. But in a twist of fate, BMW has announced at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit that it has decided to also bring the BMW M550i xDrive to the U.S. market at a starting price of $72,100 -- excluding $995 in destination and handling charges.
This means that starting in the spring of this year, US customers will have access to the current range-topper of the 5 Series (G30) – pending the arrival of the much-awaited next-generation BMW M5 in 2019. In terms of performance, the BMW M550i xDrive sedan is even quicker than the current generation of the M5. More importantly, the BMW M550i xDrive is quicker than its main counterpart in Mercedes-Benz’s stable – the Mercedes-AMG E43.
Upon closer look, the performance of the new BMW M550i xDrive is derived from its 4.4-liter petrol V8 engine that could generate 340 kW (462 hp) of peak output at 5,500 rpm and up to 650 Nm (479 lb.-ft.) of torque available from 1,800 rpm. Paired to an eight-speed Steptronic transmission, this V8 engine enables the BMW M550i xDrive to sprint from nil to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 3.9 seconds and achieve an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.
Meanwhile, the current M5 is powered by a 4.4 liter V8 engine that delivers 412 kW (560 hp) of max output and 680 Nm (502 lb-ft) of peak torque. Mated to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission, the current M5 is able to dash from nil to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.4 seconds. While the new BMW M550i xDrive loses in terms of output and torque to the current M5, it is still quicker in the sprint.
BMW, however, won’t be concerned about comparing the new BMW M550i xDrive with the current M5. But it would rejoice if the BMW M550i xDrive is compared with the AMG E43, especially as it has the upper hand. Compared to the BMW M550i xDrive, the E43 AMG is significantly underpowered. Its core is a 3.0-liter V6 engine that dispenses 295 kW (396 hp) of max output and 520 Nm (384 lb.-ft.) of peak torque – just enough to make the E43 AMG sprint from zero to 62 mph in 4.5 seconds, or 0.6 second slower than the BMW M550i xDrive.
However, the bigger surprise is the price. Even though it boasts of higher performance, the BMW M550i xDrive is cheaper than the E43 AMG, albeit by only $300. They may prove to be match when it comes to price and luxury levels but it is the BMW M550i xDrive that wins in terms of performance.
Nonetheless, it is not only the BMW M550i xDrive that BMW is bringing to the US. It will also offer the new BMW 530e iPerformance Sedan in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive (xDrive) versions. The rear-wheel drive and the xDrive models of the new BMW 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid will have starting prices of $51,400 and $53,700, respectively. Prices exclude $995 in destination and handling fees.