2018 BMW M550i xDrive Sedan

The M550i is new for 2018 and is the first M performance version of the popular BMW 5-Series. It’s the fastest and most powerful BMW 5 Series ever.


The five-passenger M550i starts at $72,100. Numerous packages and options are available that can send the price up to around 90-grand.


The M550i has some special touches to separate it from the rest of the 5-series pack. There’s an M rear spoiler on the trunk lid, M Performance design accents on the front air intake and an M sports exhaust system with tailpipes in black chrome that emit a pleasing growl. Inside are illuminated door sills with the “M550i xDrive” inscription, the M sports steering wheel, M design floor mats and aluminum pedals. Uholstery is black Dakota leather with snazzy blue contrast stitching.


The M550i is powered by an M Performance V8 TwinPower Turbo engine that makes 456 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque, paired with an eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission that has shift paddles on the steering wheel. It comes standard with BMW’s all-wheel-drive system, xDrive, with rear-wheel bias, which provides excellent grip. Put the M550i in Sport or Sport+ modes for even more athletic handling.


It gets M Sport brakes with brake calipers in blue metallic and M badging, which provide stop-on-a-dime braking power.


Yep, this baby is quite the exhilarating ride! Touch the accelerator and you’re off! It sprints from zero to 60 in 3.9 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph. That’s probably a good thing.


At the same time, The M550i is very pleasant as a daily everyday driver. It didn’t feel overpowered in such routine trips as driving to work and the grocery store. Several driving modes are available – Sport, Sport+, Comfort and Ecopro – so you can set the performance you want for your trip.


The eight-speed automatic is up for whatever you throw at it. When you’re ready for nimble handling in one of the Sport modes, it shifts crisply. If you’re ready for a cushy ride in Comfort mode, it shifts super smoothly.


EPA mileage estimates for my tester are 16 mpg city and 25 mpg highway with a combined rating of 19 mpg. I got 19 mpg with a mix of city and highway driving.


The cabin is modern and classy with all of the technology and luxury touches you’d expect in a 5-Series. Materials are top notch. Seats are supremely comfortable and supportive. You can adjust the front seats 20 ways making it possible to find the perfect setting. Both rows of seating are roomy with decent leg- and headroom for adults.


The 5-Series is loaded with tech. Navigation is standard. Apple CarPlay is available. You’ll want to crank up the tunes on the 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround sound audio system with HD Radio.


The user-friendly infotainment system can be operated with old-school knobs and buttons, via the customizable touchscreen or with the control knob located between the two front seats.


My tester has the optional “gesture control.” You can make gestures to communicate with the infotainment system. Turn up the volume by circling a finger clockwise. Turn down the volume by circling a finger counter-clockwise. Accept a phone call by pointing at the touchscreen. And you can reject a call by swiping your hand to the right. There’s something extremely satisfying about doing that when you get a call from someone you really don’t want to talk to at that moment! You can also change the camera angle of the multi-camera view by creating a circle with your thumb and finger. And you can program a two-finger point to the screen to do another command, such as to navigate to your home from your current location. It’s fun to impress your passengers with this feature!


Several driver assistance systems are available including Active Driving Assistant Plus, including Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Evasion Aid and Active Lane Keeping Assistant.


There are 18.7 cubic feet of trunk space which is more than many rivals. The 40/20/40 split-folding/through-load rear seats provide flexibility in hauling passenger and cargo. The hands-free trunk lid comes standard on the M550i which is very handy for those trips to the grocery store and Costco.


The good:

Supreme handling

Upscale and comfortable cabin

Loads of user-friendly tech

Gesture control!

Large trunk for the class


The not-so-good:

Price tag goes up in a hurry with options


Pricing info:

My tester starts at $72,100. The Driving Assistance package with Head-up Display is $1,700. The Driver Assistance Plus Package with Active Driving Assistant Plus is $1,700. The Dynamic Handling Package is $3,600 and includes Adaptive M Suspension Plus and Active Roll Stabilization. The Executive Package is $1,200 and adds soft-close automatic doors, ceramic controls, wireless charging, WiFi hotspot and enhanced USB and Bluetooth. The Parking Assistance Package is $700 and includes Parking Assistant Plus and surround view camera with 3D view. Destination charge is $995 bringing the grand total to $88,985.


Bottom line:

Spending time behind the wheel of the M550i is a treat. This Beamer can be just about anything you want from a mighty performance sedan to a comfortable cruiser, with a top notch cabin and loads of tech.

2018 BMW M550i xDrive Sedan 2018 BMW M550i xDrive Sedan 2018 BMW M550i xDrive Sedan 2018 BMW M550i xDrive Sedan 2018 BMW M550i xDrive Sedan