BMW is doing a running jump into the diesel market by releasing a few new variations in one day. The highlight of this trio of diesels is the long-rumored M550d xDrive scheduled to appear at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2012. In Germany, the M550d xDrive will go on sale at a starting price of 80,800 euro ($104,500 at the current exchange rates) for the sedan and 83,750 euro ($108,400 at the current rates) for the station wagon version.
The BMW M550d xDrive is the first model to come from BMW’s latest M Performance Automobiles division and is joined by the X5 M50d and X6 M50d. All three models will share a new tri-turbo straight-six diesel engine that delivers a total of 381 HP and a peak torque of 546 lb-ft. In the M550d xDrive, this power is just enough to sprint the car from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds, while top speed is limited to 155 mph. Fuel economy comes in at 44.8 mpg.
UPDATE 01/26/2012: This review has been updated with the official images and specs for the BMW M550d xDrive.
UPDATE 02/29/2012: BMW has unveiled a series of almost 100 new high res images presenting the new M550d xDrive in action in different locations. Check our picture gallery to see them all!
The new BMW M550d xDrive is identified by the typical M set-up used to improve the aerodynamic characteristics of the body. These elements will include a bespoke, airflow-optimizing design for the front and rear aprons with large air intakes. The air-channeling flaps at the lower edge of the outer intakes are split horizontally by bars painted Ferric Grey metallic, a paint also used for the mirror caps and optional 20" M light-alloy wheels.
The rear gets a bespoke rear apron, while the exhaust tailpipes, positioned far to the outer edges of the rear end, come in a trapezoidal shape painted in Chrome Dark. The obligatory "M550d" lettering can be found on the boot lid and front door sills.
The interior of the M550d XDrive features the same M ambiance dominated by a gearshift lever with an M logo, M leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles, M driver’s footrest, BMW Individual roof liner in Anthracite, and Aluminum Hexagon interior trim strips. The sports seats are offered in an exclusive M variant Alcantara/Cloth in Grey Shadow adorned with contrast stitching and an embossed M logo.
The list of standard equipment includes: xenon headlights, Cruise Control with braking function, electrically adjustable seats with memory function for the driver’s seat, 4-zone climate control, a rain sensor, the Radio Professional, a hands-free facility with USB interface, ambient light, and the iDrive control system.
The BMW M550d xDrive is powered by a six-cylinder in-line diesel engine equipped with TwinPower Turbo technology. The engine delivers a total of 381 HP and peak torque of 546 lb-ft, sprinting the car from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds for the sedan and 4.9 seconds for the station wagon version. Both models are limited to 155 mph. Fuel economy is 44.8 mpg for the sedan and 44.1 mpg for the station wagon.
The engine is offered with a standard eight-speed Sports automatic transmission with long high gears, precisely graded responses, minimal converter slip, and an Auto Start-Stop function that switches the engine off automatically when the driver stops at junctions or in congestion. Also as standard, the new M550d comes equipped with an xDrive all-wheel system that works using a bespoke control strategy, which allows the threat of understeer in extremely dynamic driving situations to be counteracted by adjustments to the power split, without the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) system linked up to xDrive having to intervene.
In Germany, the M550d xDrive will go on sale in March 2012 at a starting price of 80,800 euros ($104,500 at the current exchange rates) for the sedan and 83,750 euro ($108,400 at the current exchange rates) for the station wagon version. BMW has stated that the model is not planned for the US market.
Finding real competitors for this model can be pretty difficult. It is placed under the M5, so it does not target the typical M5 competitors, but is still more powerful than the 5-Series, so those competitors are out too. If we take a look at the diesel variants of 5-Series competitors then we would discover that the M550d xDrive is still more powerful. For example, a diesel Audi A6 is powered by a 3.0 TDI with an output of 245 HP and 369 lb-ft of torque, far behind the numbers for the M550d.
Impressive output for a diesel model
Competition is scarce
Not coming to USA
Can be pretty expensive