Review: 2022 BMW M550i xDrive



Words: Calvin Chan

Photography: Calvin Chan

Published: November 13, 2022

 



The 2022 BMW M550i xDrive continues to blend comfort with accessible performance, backed up by a torquey V8 and pleasingly curated exhaust notes. It’s the 5 Series sports sedan for the discerning driver, one who doesn’t require the stiff and shouty ride of an M5, but wants a little more sugar and spice than the run-of-the-mill 540i. It strikes that fine balance in spades, surprisingly moreso than the rivaling Audi S7, Mercedes-AMG E 43, and even more expensive rivals like the Maserati Ghibli Trofeo.

 

 

Call it the M5 Lite or the poor man’s M5 if you like, but there’s no denying the M550i’s exceptional value. Coughing up $89,990 nets you a 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 that delivers 523 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. Land Rover has even sourced this engine for their Range Rover models - proof in the pudding that it’s a highly effective powertrain. Conducting the show is an 8-speed automatic transmission that delivers silky smooth shifts and remains the gold standard in the segment. Like the M5, the M550i is all-wheel drive only but its front axle cannot be disconnected for drift-happy manuevers.

 

 

Pin the gas and you will hit 0-100 km/h in a scant 3.8 seconds, and we all know BMW is always conservative with their estimates, so we expect the M550i to easily keep up with dedicated sports cars. Still, 523 horsepower is more than enough for any driver to facilitate and manage on suburban roads, and flooring the go-fast pedal demonstrates its sure-footedness and immense four-wheel traction.

 

 

The adaptive suspension is excellent, erring on the side of comfort which means you’re riding on a cloud as you push legal boundaries, backed up by a damper setup that easily fends off bumps and broken pavement with ease and grace. Body roll is apparent when chucking it into corners, and it’s here that you’re aware the M550i isn’t as hardcore or as performance focused as the M5, but the gain of leniancy and comfort should be a compromise that many are willing to take, especially if it’s being considered as a daily companion tasked to unfurl hundreds of kilometres.

 

 

Unlike other M models, there is no dedicated exhaust button here to turn up the acoustics but Sport Mode effectively does the same. There are fewer obnoxious burbles and pops on throttle overrun than the M5, yet it still roars like a V8 war drum should. We love the sleek look and spec of our M550i test vehicle as well, replete with a matte Frozen Deep Grey paint ($4,900), thin profile 20-inch wheels, and new BMW roundel badges ($300) that celebrate BMW M’s 50th anniversary. You could even call it a sinister sleeper spec without all the visual garnish and colourful flourish that normally adorn M cars.

 

 

Inside, the 2022 M550i still uses the older center console layout and switchgear but we actually prefer it over the newer and thinner examples in the 3 and 4 Series. The knobs and rotary dial here in the M550i feel much more substantial in size and weight, which means there is less ambiguity when you depress the switchgear. The button resistance is much more affirmative so there isn’t any guesswork if it acknowledged your input or not - we have this issue with the newer models.

 

 

The driver’s gauges are fully digital yet still nonlinear and difficult to read. Though we have discovered ‘Reduced Mode’ in the display settings that effectively reduces the layout to only display the speedometer reading and gear position. It’s cleaner and easier on the eyes, reminding us of Saab’s ‘Night Mode’, and a simple click on the edge of the signal stalk will temporarily bring up the full screen information for a few seconds for a quick glance.

 

 

Many are quick to say that the BMW M550i is the better, more usable, daily-driving M5, and that’s true in many regards. But then you also have to remember that they are targetting slightly different audiences. When it comes to all-out performance, the M5 is superior in every department, but if you’re trying to find a balance between accessible power and driver enjoyment, the M550i slots itself at the top of the pyramid, and is clearly catered towards those seeking a more mature and professional sports sedan. It’s not a full M product but fear not. The M550i is still the real deal.

 


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Specifications:

Model: 2022 BMW M550i xDrive

Paint Type: Frozen Deep Grey
Base Price: $89,990

Price as Tested: $110,740
Wheelbase(mm): 2,975
Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,943 / 1,868 / 1,467

Curb weight (kg): 2,058
Engine: 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8
Horsepower: 523 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Torque: 553 lb-ft @ 1,800 - 4,600 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 14.2

Tires: Pirelli P Zero

 



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