Years ago, large luxury sedans didn’t have any sporting pretensions. The land yachts of yore had floaty suspensions and turned with all the alacrity of an aircraft carrier, and that was fine for most manufacturers. But not BMW. Upon its introduction, the company’s M5 essentially flipped the script on what a sedan could be, in that it was comfortable cruiser one moment, and a corner-carving beast the second.
And while the 2018 BMW M550i XDrive isn’t the most potent version of the 5 Series, that’s still the M5, it remains a high-performance machine which delivers the thrills BMW fans have come to expect from the marque.
Under the hood sits a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 producing a robust 456 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque, which is enough to catapult the 4,4oo-pound sedan from zero to 60 in a scant 3.9 seconds. That impressive time is thanks to BMW’s xDrive system, which while biased toward the rear wheels, is able to split the grunt to all four corners and maximize grip. There’s no manual transmission available, but the eight-speed ZF gearbox does offer paddle shifters for those who want to wind up the revs, and it’s been tuned for performance here. So when you mash the throttle into the carpet? Expect an immediate jump to warp speed.
Of course, there are loads of creature comforts as well, including a trick infotainment interface which allows drivers to control basic functions like raising or lowering the volume on the sound system with simple hand gestures, and a trunk that’ll pop open when you wave your foot under the bumper. The later feature, while becoming more and more common on vehicles across the price spectrum, is one we never get tired of. Because if you’re looking to load something into the cargo area, there’s a good chance you might have your hands full. It’s just good thinking on the part of the engineers.
For a full rundown of everything the 2018 BMW M550i xDrive has to offer check out the video, and if you like what you see, head to your AutoNation-affiliated BMW dealer to arrange a test drive. They don’t call these cars “The Ultimate Driving Machine” for nothing.