In what seems like the blink of an eye, the BMW 5 Series range has established itself as the best-selling model in the executive segment. A convincing balance between dynamics and ride comfort, exemplary efficiency, premium quality and innovative equipment features has earned both the Sedan and the Touring versions their huge popularity. Added to which, sporty yet elegant design and agile handling have helped fuel the fascination associated with the brand. And now the arrival of the BMW M Performance Automobiles aims to accentuate the sporting aspects of the BMW 5 Series’ character. The BMW M550d xDrive and BMW M550d xDrive Touring capture the imagination with performance figures that leave their diesel-powered class rivals firmly in the shade. And they combine these leading values with the efficiency drivers have come to expect from diesel BMW cars.
The sporting focus of the BMW M550d xDrive and BMW M550d xDrive Touring is highlighted by bespoke modifications to power transfer, chassis and design components. These upgrades bear the signature of BMW M GmbH, which uses its development expertise to mould the two models into extraordinarily harmonious overall packages. The outstanding power of the tri-turbo straight-six diesel engine is translated into thrilling driving dynamics with impressive precision. This allows the 5 Series-based BMW M Performance Automobiles to offer the driver not only supreme diesel power, but also remarkably agile handling and predictable, controllable responses when exploring their dynamic limits.
The new and globally unique M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology gives the six-cylinder in-line diesel engine powering the BMW M550d xDrive and BMW M550d xDrive Touring maximum output of 280 kW/381 hp and peak torque of 740 Newton metres (546 lb-ft). The engine’s instantaneous and sustained wave of torque allows it to lay down benchmark performance values for diesel-powered executive cars. The BMW M550d xDrive Sedan goes from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.7 seconds, while the BMW M550d xDrive Touring records 4.9 seconds for the same sprint. The duo also display addictive elasticity at higher speeds thanks to their engine’s vast reserves of power. Top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h (155 mph) in both cases.
The diesel technology developed exclusively for the BMW M Performance Automobiles also gives the new arrivals a convincing head start in terms of efficiency. The Sedan offers fuel economy figures of 6.3 litres per 100 kilometres (44.8 mpg imp) in the EU test cycle, while the Touring achieves 6.4 l/100 km (44.1 mpg imp). CO2 emissions are 165 grams per kilometre for the BMW M550d xDrive Sedan and 169 g/km in the case of the BMW M550d xDrive Touring.
Standard-fitted BMW BluePerformance technology also allows the two models to meet the stipulations of the EU6 exhaust standard.
The new cars’ outstanding balance between driving pleasure and fuel consumption can be credited to the impressive efficiency of the new diesel powerplant and the spread of BMW EfficientDynamics technology fitted as standard. The BMW M550d xDrive and BMW M550d xDrive Touring benefit, among other things, from the pace-setting efficiency of an eight-speed Sports automatic transmission with long high gears, precisely graded responses and minimal converter slip. Another standard feature, the Auto Start-Stop function, switches the engine off automatically when the driver stops at junctions or in congestion. And the ECO PRO mode activated using the standard Driving Experience Control switch helps the driver maintain an economical and relaxed driving style through tweaks to the engine management, accelerator responses and gearshift program. Inaddition, ECO PRO mode regulates the output of electrically operated functions such as the climate control, heated seats and exterior mirrors to provide extremely efficient energy management. The BMW M550d xDrive and BMW M550d xDrive Touring also come with Brake Energy Regeneration, need-based operation of ancillary units, active air flap control and a disengageable air conditioning compressor.
The BMW M Performance Automobiles come as standard with BMW xDrive to channel the engine’s power variably and as the situation demands between the front and rear wheels. The electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system works using a bespoke control strategy, which allows the threat of understeer in extremely dynamic driving situations to be counteracted by adjustments to the power split, without the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) system linked up to xDrive having to intervene. The system’s M-specific tuning accentuates the traditional rear-wheel bias of BMW cars when it comes to power distribution.
The all-wheel-drive system of the BMW M550d xDrive and BMW M550d xDrive Touring sends more drive to the rear axle on the entry into a corner, delivering exceptionally precise cornering and impressive directional stability. In addition, the likewise standard Performance Control divides power between the rear wheels to maximise the cars’ sports performance. Carefully judged braking of the rear wheel nearest the inside of the bend coupled with a simultaneous increase in drive power ensure the car responds to the driver’s steering commands instantaneously and with high precision. The driver can even use the self-steering response typical of M cars to execute controlled drifts through dynamically taken corners.
The chassis technology of the BMW M550d xDrive and BMW M550d xDrive Touring is based on a double-wishbone front axle and integral rear axle. In addition, the Touring model has air suspension with automatic self-levelling at the rear axle. The suspension, spring and damper system, and hydraulic steering with Servotronic function also benefit from M-specific tuning. The associated modifications imbue both models with a fresh take on the traditional M handling characteristics, the cars’ agility underlateral and longitudinal acceleration – and the precision of its responses to steering commands – entering a new dimension.
Special rubber bearings and anti-roll bars optimise the bodyshell mounting of the BMW M550d xDrive and BMW M550d xDrive Touring. Plus, modified springs and dampers give the two models tighter basic responses to dynamic forces. Optimised anti-roll control promotes instantaneous turn-in at any speed. The build-up of lateral forces under changes in direction is pleasingly linear and can therefore be controlled at all times. All of which means the BMW M Performance Automobiles also preserve the familiar comfort-enhancing properties of the BMW 5 Series when it comes to ironing out bumps and ruts in the road surface. If the optional Dynamic Damper Control or Adaptive Drive system is specified, COMFORT+ mode can also be selected using the Driving Experience Control switch. The M-specific overall set-up of the BMW M Performance Automobiles also includes modifications to the tuning of the electronically controlled dampers and anti-roll control. The result is a well-resolved, typically M overall set-up regardless of the equipment options chosen.
The powerful braking system on the BMW M550d xDrive and BMW M550d xDrive Touring features inner-vented discs; like the discs charged with stopping the V8 petrol-engined BMW 550i, they have a diameter of 374 millimetres at the front axle and 345 millimetres at the rear. The standard 19-inch M light-alloy wheels in double-spoke design are fitted with 245/40 R 19 format tyres. 20-inch M light-alloy wheels – developed exclusively for the BMW M Performance Automobiles – with mixed tyres can be ordered as an option.
Another feature of the typically M overall set-up are the aerodynamic characteristics of the body, which help to give the BMW M550d xDrive and BMW M550d xDrive Touring their precisely controllable dynamics. The sporty yet elegant appearance of the two cars is complemented by a bespoke, airflow-optimising design for the front and rear aprons. The front view of both models is dominated by large air intakes. For example, the spaces around the outer air intakes normally reserved for foglamps on regular BMW 5 Series models are used to enhance the inflow of cooling air. The three-dimensional shaping of the front apron incorporates air-channelling flaps at the lower edge of the outer intakes, which are split horizontally by bars painted Ferric Grey metallic. The same shade is used for the exterior mirror caps and optional 20-inch M light-alloy wheels. BMW Individual High-gloss Shadow Line trim for the B-pillars, exterior mirror base and window surrounds also comes as standard.
Its extremely powerful form and an integrated diffuser element allow the bespoke rear apron of the BMW M550d xDrive and BMW M550d xDrive Touring to optimise both the cars’ sporting appearance and airflow around the underbody. A horizontal trim strip on the top edge of the Black insert accentuates the width of the body. The exhaust tailpipes, positioned far to the outer edges of the rear end, come with trapezoidal embellishers in Chrome Dark. Another distinguishing feature is the “M550d” lettering on the boot lid and front door sills.
Lending the interior a familiar M ambience are features such as the gearshift lever with M logo, M leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles, M driver’s footrest, BMW Individual roof liner in Anthracite and Aluminium Hexagon interior trim strips. The sports seats in the exclusive M variant Alcantara/Cloth in Grey Shadow are adorned with contrast stitching and an embossed M logo. Dakota leather is available as an alternative, at no extra cost.
The standard equipment of the BMW M550d xDrive and BMW M550d xDrive Touring also includes xenon headlights, Cruise Control with braking function, electrically adjustable seats with memory function for the driver’s seat, 4-zone climate control, a rain sensor, the Radio Professional, a hands-free facility with USB interface, ambient light and the iDrive control system. High-quality options such as Comfort Access, automatic tailgate operation (standard in Germany on the BMW M550d xDrive Touring), hands-free tailgate opening, electrically operated glass/panoramic sunroof, doors with Soft Close Automatic function, trailer coupling, heated steering wheel, active seats, navigation systems with hard disk storage, and high-quality audio and rear-seat entertainment systems deliver a further boost to comfort.
Almost all of the BMW ConnectedDrive driver assistance systems and mobility services laid on for the BMW 5 Series can also be specified here. Features such as the Park Distance Control system, rear-view camera, Adaptive Headlights, Head-Up Display, High-Beam Assistant, Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, Speed Limit Info, Lane Change Warning System, Lane Departure Warning System, Surround View and BMW Night Vision with pedestrian recognition are all available. Other innovative technologies enabling the link-up of the car with the outside world and the integration of mobile devices give drivers access to, among other things, the BMW Assist service (including Advanced Emergency Call with automatic position finding), BMW Online and internet, as well as the online services Facebook and Twitter, and Real-Time Traffic Informa