The best-selling BMW M cars are now 500 horsepower SUVs, the 7 Series and M3 sedans have gotten massive grilles, and the flagship 8 Series sports car doesn’t feel any more special than the old 6 Series coupe. With all of this change in the air, the 2021 BMW M550i luckily still proposes a relatively traditional BMW formula. What do you want to know about it?
(Full Disclosure: I was supposed to drive an Aston Martin Vantage this week but I was told it was involved in an incident at Monticello and it needed repairs. The garage rescheduled that car for me, and then swapped me into the M550i with a full tank of gas. I’m not too upset.)
The 2021 BMW M550i is not too different from the last few generations of 5 Series that have come before it on paper. It’s an all-wheel drive luxury sedan that happens to feature a damn 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 engine making 523 HP. It’s still the sleeper sedan the 5 Series has always been, and it still has a normal-sized grille and a Hofmeister kink in the greenhouse profile, as all classic BMWs should.
What I also like about the M550i is its promise of being rear-biased in its power distribution among the all-wheel drive system. That means it’s engineered to feel more like a rear-wheel drive car with more power going to the rear wheels, and the proportion of power is adjusted with the various sport driving modes.
It’s a little ridiculous to me that there’s a 5 Series on sale with all-wheel drive and over 500 horsepower, and it somehow is not even the base M5 performance model. And then there’s the Competition M5 beyond even that. Absurd.
So the M550i certainly brings the power and looks the part, now I just get to drive it to find out just how good it is, or if that traditional BMW formula maybe could use a little shaking up. What do you want to know about it?