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2018 BMW M550i xDrive arrives with 456 horsepower

by Ronan Glon

The M550i is the fastest 5 Series to date.

BMW will introduce an additional variant of the brand-new 5 Series during next month's Detroit Auto Show. Named M550i xDrive, the model is presented as the fastest and most agile 5 to date.

The M550i xDrive was developed to bridge the gap between the standard 5 Series and the M5. It uses a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine that generates 456 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 480 pound-feet of torque from 1,800 rpm. A sport-tuned eight-speed automatic transmission sends the eight's power to all four wheels.

456 horses is enough to send the M550i from zero to 60 in under four seconds, and on to a top speed that's electronically limited to 155 mph, but the sedan isn't exclusively about straight-line performance. The Munich-based company has gone to great lengths to ensure the newest 5 is rewarding to drive in the twisties, too.

The xDrive system sends more power to the back wheels in order to give the M550i rear-biased handling. The power steering system has been tuned for preciseness, and the adaptive M suspension lowers the ride height by a few sixteenths of an inch.

The performance of the V8 engine is complemented by a full body kit that adds a specific front bumper with bigger air vents, side skirts, and a small spoiler attached to the trunk lid. Grey trim, Shadow Line trim around the windows, and 19-inch alloy wheels add a finishing touch to the sporty-yet-understated look.

The cabin gains sport seats, black leather upholstery with blue contrast stitching, a M sport steering wheel, aluminum pedals, and special floor mats. The M550i was developed primarily with a focus on performance, but it's offered with the same electronic driving aids and high-tech features as the standard 5 Series.

The 2018 BMW M550i will go on sale in the spring of next year, though we'll have to wait a few more months to find out how much it costs. It won't be the fastest 5 for long, because a brand-new M5 with all-wheel drive and over 600 horsepower is expected to debut in March at the Geneva Auto Show.

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