2018 BMW M550i xDrive: First Drive

The Alps are gorgeous. Or so I've heard. It's April and it's snowing... and sticking. Visibility drops to 30 feet or so every few kilometers, with the peaks in the distance obscured by a dense curtain of gray. This is not, in fact, a good day to drive hard.

The crew from BMW apologizes for the unseasonable weather, but it's serendipity for the M550i xDrive. This is the fastest 5-series ever made—including the outgoing M5—thanks to all-wheel-drive and the computing power necessary to put 456 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque to the ground. The snow tires BMW hustled onto the sedans don't bode well for testing the claimed sub-4-second 0-60 MPH time, but these are exactly the conditions the M550i is destined for, and a harbinger of what's to come.

The boss of BMW M has hinted that AWD is coming to the Motorsports marque. That makes the connection between the M550i and the next M5 more than just a short-stroke V8 and a couple turbos shoved into the V. The benefits of AWD are already clear, beginning with the M550i dropping a half-second off the F10 M5's 0-60 time. What's less apparent is how two more driven wheels and an 8-speed slushbox will jive with the rest of the M modifications. Read more about the 2018 BMW M550i xDrive...

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19 Mar 2018