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BMW M550d xDrive gets quad-turbocharged straight-six

by Ronan Glon

If diesel is dying, it might as well go out with a bang.

BMW has announced the most powerful diesel-powered 5 Series ever. Called M550d xDrive, the model was developed specifically for the European market.

Power for the M550d xDrive comes from a 3.0-liter straight-six engine that uses no less than four turbochargers to generate 400 horsepower at 4,400 rpm and a massive 560 pound-feet of torque from 2,000 to 3,000 rpm. Power is transferred to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission and a rear-biased version of BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system.

The M550d xDrive sedan hits 60 mph from a stop in 4.4 seconds, while the wagon model performs the same task in 4.6 seconds. Both variants go on to a top speed that's electronically limited to 155 mph. A standard start/stop system keeps fuel economy in check.

An Adaptive M Suspension and active steering technology help the driver make the most of the engine's power without sacrificing comfort, according to BMW.

The visual modifications are minor at best. Eagle-eyed observers will notice the M550d receives bigger air vents up front and a more prominent spoiler on the trunk lid. Inside, the driver is treated to a revised instrument cluster with model-specific graphics.

The BMW M550d xDrive sedan will go on sale across Europe in July. The family-friendly Touring model will join the lineup before the end of the year. Pricing hasn't been announced yet, but it's of little interest to us because the M550d xDrive will not be sold on our side of the pond.

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