The diesel-powered M5 you’ve been waiting for!

The popular BMW 5 Series was redesigned for the 2017 model year, now sporting a fresh, but evolutionary design, a revamped interior, and a brand-new platform that’s lighter and stiffer. Loaded with state-of-the-art technology and several carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics, the new 5 Series also gained a range of updated engines, including four- and six-cylinder units. For the 2018 model year, BMW also launched new M550d versions for both the sedan and Touring wagon models.

Unique in this segment, the M550d is the range-topping variant of the diesel lineup, and although it’s not a proper M5, it has the exact same role on the market. It’s also an already established nameplate, having been introduced in early 2012 alongside other similar versions. Essentially, the only model that doesn’t have a competitor from Mercedes-Benz and Audi yet, the M550d comes with a major drawback, being sold on the European market only. However, its performance is outstanding given the diesel drivetrain, and it’s your only option if you want the torque and fuel economy of an oil burner, but the acceleration and dynamics of a gasoline vehicle.

Continue reading to learn more about the BMW M550d xDrive.

  • 2018 BMW M550d xDrive
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
  • Transmission:
    eight-speed automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
  • Torque @ RPM:
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    4.6 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    155 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • car fuel:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:

Is the Diesel-powered M Car a Thing Now?

2013 BMW X5 M50d
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2013 BMW X6 M50d High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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BMW X5 M50d BMW X6 M50d

Yes it is. The M550d is by no means new and it was launched in 2012 alongside similar versions of the X5 and X6. Called the M50d, the SUVs have had a similar role in their respective segments, offering unprecedented performance with a diesel engine under the hood. While not a full-fledged M car, the M550d sits at the top of the diesel 5 Series range and until Mercedes-Benz and Audi do something about it, it’s the most powerful luxury oil burner not just in this niche, but in the entire premium segment. So yeah, it’s a thing. And it’s big!


2018 BMW M550d xDrive High Resolution Exterior
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2018 BMW M550d xDrive High Resolution Exterior
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Much like its predecessor, the new M550d takes the majority of its styling cues from the standard model

Much like its predecessor, the new M550d takes the majority of its styling cues from the standard model, in this case being the recently redesigned 5 Series. On top of that, it comes with an M aerodynamic package with enlarged air inlets up front and a revised bumper around back. The sedan also has a Gurney-type rear spoiler. Overall, this package not only makes the M550d look sportier than the standard model but also optimizes the air flow and enhances engine cooling.

All told, the M550d might not be a full-fledged M model, but it sure looks like one

The beefed-up sedan and wagon also sport a range of M-specific elements, including the gloss black vertical bars in the twin-kidney grille. The mirror caps and the side air breather elements are now finished in Cerium Grey, adding a bit of contrast to the sides. Both the sedan and wagon ride of 19-inch alloys wheels standard, but there are two optional designs to consider. There’s a 20-inch double-spoke options, but you can also go with a set of BMW Individual V-spoke rims. The latter are particularly appealing due to their chrome accents on the grey spokes, but they’re likely very expensive compared to the rest.

All told, the M550d might not be a full-fledged M model, but it sure looks like one. Simply ignore the badge, and you have a diesel-powered M5 on your hands. And I have a feeling that the diesel engine is the only reason why this model doesn’t have an "M5" emblem, as BMW is looking to stick with the gasoline tradition.

2018 BMW M550d xDrive High Resolution Exterior
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2012 BMW M550d xDrive High Resolution Exterior
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New BMW M550d xDrive Previous BMW M550d xDrive
2018 BMW M550d xDrive High Resolution Exterior
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2014 BMW M5 Exterior
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BMW M550d xDrive BMW M5


2018 BMW M550d xDrive High Resolution Interior
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The standard steering wheel was replaced by an M leather unit, while the trim, pedals and footrest are made form aluminum

The interior is pretty much the same deal: the redesigned 5 Series with a bunch of M-sourced features (and actually pretty closer to the M5). Open the doors, and you’re greeted by illuminated sill plates and a pair of contoured sports seats. Both are wrapped in high-quality fabric and Alcantara covers (not leather like the M5), while the driver seats have an electrical adjustment and memory function.

2018 BMW M550d xDrive High Resolution Interior
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2018 BMW M550d xDrive High Resolution Interior
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The standard steering wheel was replaced by an M leather unit, while the trim, pedals and footrest are made form aluminum for a sportier look. The infotainment display starts off with an M Performance screen, while the BMW Connected feature comes standard. The M550d is also equipped with a broad range of driver assistance systems, including active lane change warning, lane departure warning, active cruise control, and intelligent speed limit assist. The remote parking feature is optional.

2018 BMW M550d xDrive High Resolution Interior
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2014 BMW M5 Interior
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BMW M550d xDrive BMW M5


2018 BMW M550d xDrive High Resolution Drivetrain
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The new diesel engine uses four turbochargers instead of three

The new M550d gets its juice from a 3.0-liter inline-six oil burner, a similar configuration to the previous model, but unlike its predecessor, it uses four turbochargers instead of three. The new layout, which includes two brand-new low-pressure turbos in place of the previous large-sized turbo, delivers a more spontaneous response.

The six-cylinder generates 400 horsepower and 561 pound-feet of torque

Moving over to performance, the six-cylinder generates 400 horsepower and 561 pound-feet of torque (760 Nm). That’s an extra 19 horses and 15 pound-foot (20 Nm) of twist over the outgoing model, which makes the M550d the most powerful diesel passenger car on the market. Charging from 0 to 62 mph takes 4.4 seconds with the standard eight-speed automatic and xDrive all-wheel-drive system, which makes the new sedan two tenths quicker than the old model. Opt for the Touring wagon and the benchmark is achieved in 4.6 seconds. Top speed remains locked at the already familiar 155-mph mark.

2018 BMW M550d xDrive High Resolution Exterior
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According to BMW, the sedan is expected to need 5.9 liters of diesel for every 100 km

Equipped with an auto start/stop system, the M550d also delivers solid fuel economy. According to BMW, the sedan is expected to need 5.9 liters of diesel for every 100 km, while the wagon will sip 6.2 liters. This converts to about 39.8 and 37.9 U.S. highway mpg, respectively.

Both the sedan and wagon are fitted with an M sports suspension lowers the car by 10 mm (0.4 inches) and enhances driving dynamics and M sport brakes with blue metallic calipers. BMW offers an optional adaptive M suspension whose Dynamic Damper Control with M Performance specific setup adjusts the response of the shock absorbers at each individual wheel, reducing body movement to a minimum.

BMW 530i BMW 530i xDrive BMW 540i BMW 540i xDrive BMW M5 BMW M550d xDrive
Engine 2.0-liter four-cylinder 2.0-liter four-cylinder 3.0-liter six-cylinder 3.0-liter six-cylinder 4.4-liter turbocharged V-8 3.0-liter inline-six
Horsepower 248 HP @5,200-6,500 RPM 248 HP @ 5,200-6,500 RPM 335 HP @ 5,500-6,500 RPM 335 HP @ 5,500-6,500 RPM 560 HP @ 6,000 RPM 400 HP
Torque 258 LB-FT @ 1,450-4,800 RPM 258 LB-FT @ 1,450-4,800 RPM 332 LB-FT @ 1,380-5,200 RPM 332 LB-FT @ 1,380-5,200 RPM 500 LB-FT @ 1,500 RPM 561 LB-FT
Transmission 8-speed automatic 8-speed automatic 8-speed automatic 8-speed automatic 7-Speed M Double-Clutch w/Drivelogic eight-speed automatic
0-60 mph 6.0 seconds 5.8 seconds 4.9 seconds 4.7 seconds 4.0 seconds 4.6 seconds
Top Speed 130 mph 130 mph 130 mph 130 mph 160 mph 155 mph
Curb Weight 3,746 Lbs 3,878 Lbs 3,847 Lbs 4,019 Lbs 4,387 Lbs TBA


2018 BMW M550d xDrive High Resolution Exterior
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Pricing information is not yet available, but expect the M550d to cost significantly more than the 530d xDrive with the Sport Steptronic transmission. This model retails from €57,150 in Germany. The M550d won’t be offered in the United States for now given that BMW has yet to make an official announcement.


Mercedes-Benz E-Class

2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class High Resolution Exterior
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Finding a proper competitor for the M550d is pretty much impossible right, simply because BMW’s competitors don’t offer such a powerful diesel. The recently redesigned Mercedes-Benz E-Class is a solid proposition in just about any department, but it can’t compete with the M550d in terms of output and performance. As of 2017, the most powerful diesel version of the E-Class is the E350d, which uses a 3.0-liter V-6 rated at 254 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. That’s a deficit of nearly 150 horsepower and more than 100 pound-feet, which also translates into a 0-to-60 mph time of 5.9 seconds, more than a second slower than the Bimmer. The E350d isn’t yet available in Germany, but the E220d 4Matic retails from €50,075.

Find out more about the Mercedes-Benz E-Class here.

Audi A6

2016 - 2018 Audi A6 High Resolution Exterior
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2016 - 2018 Audi A6
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A more powerful diesel is available from Audi in the form of the A6 3.0 TDI Competition Quattro. However, while the V-6’s 326-horsepower rating offers significantly more oomph than the E-Class, the German sedan is still underpowered when compared to the M550d. What’s more, the fourth-generation A6 is already five years old as of 2017, so it doesn’t boast the fresh looks and modern technology of the 5 Series. Not to mention that it lacks the sportier features you’ll get with the M550d. Of course, there’s always the S6 for a more aggressive look, but this means moving into gasoline power territory. Pricing for the 3.0 TDI Competition Quattro starts from €68,650.

Learn more about the Audi A6 here.


2018 BMW M550d xDrive High Resolution Exterior
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BMW may be lagging behind Mercedes-Benz in most segments nowadays, but this is one niche where the German automaker nailed it and nailed it good. The M550d is arguably the best of its kind and I don’t see this changing anytime soon. Okay, so this performance sedan isn’t enough to get BMW back on the horse against its main competitor, but it’s nice to see that Munich still knows how to devise a solid strategy and maintain it for a few years. It may be a niche vehicle, the M550d is a winner. And the fact that it comes in both sedan and wagon forms makes it that much better. Too bad it’s not sold in the United States too, though.

  • Leave it
    • Likely pretty expensive
    • Not coming to the U.S.
    • No manual transmission
Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert -
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
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Press release

Founded in 1972, BMW Motorsport GmbH set standards in international automobile racing. In 1993 the fully-owned BMW AG subsidiary changed its name to BMW M GmbH. With its products and services today covering the five business areas of BMW M automobiles and BMW M Performance automobiles, BMW Individual, M equipment and packages, BMW Group Driving Experience and finally security, emergency and special vehicles, it targets customers with particularly high aspirations in terms of the performance, exclusivity and individuality of their automobile. In 2012 BMW M GmbH introduced the new product category of BMW M Performance automobiles to span the gap between the top BMW models and the M core models designed for the very highest level of performance and race track suitability. The new BMW M550d xDrive extends the model range of the M Performance automobiles by adding two enthralling variants as well as providing the top-of-the-range diesel model as part of the BMW 5 Series.

2018 BMW M550d xDrive High Resolution Exterior
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High-performance engine for thrilling driving performance figures. The new BMW M550d xDrive is fitted with the most powerful 6-cylinder diesel engine in the world in the automotive area. The M Performance TwinPower Turbo in-line 6-cylinder diesel in the new BMW M550d xDrive has a capacity of 2,993 cc and features four turbochargers that operate on the principle of multi-stage turbocharging, as well as a common rail system that injects the fuel directly into the combustion chambers at a maximum pressure of more than 2,500 bar. The engine has an output of 294 kW/400 hp at 4,400 rpm and generates a maximum torque of 760 Nm which goes on stream between 2,000 rpm and 3,000 rpm, as well as being fitted with an auto start/stop function (combined fuel consumption of the Sedan: 5.9 l/100 km*; combined CO2 emissions: 154 g/km* – combined fuel consumption of the Touring: 6.2 l/100 km*; combined CO2 emissions: 163 g/km*)**. It accelerates the Sedan in 4.4 seconds* and the Touring in 4.6 seconds* from zero to 100 km/h. The maximum speed for both body versions is electronically cut off at 250 km/h.

Multi-stage turbocharging for incomparable engine characteristics. The output of the new BMW M550d xDrive is 14 kW/19 hp higher than that of the predecessor model – an increase of five per cent – while maximum torque has been increased by 20 Newton metres. At the same time, average consumption and emission values have been reduced by 11 per cent. As such, the most powerful BMW diesel engine offers a balance between output and fuel consumption that is unsurpassed in this engine segment.

The engine of the BMW M550d xDrive once again demonstrates the BMW Group’s leading position in the drivetrain sector. Its modern multi-stage turbocharging with four turbochargers builds up boost pressure even more quickly, also in the lower engine speed range. This means torque is available early on and increases rapidly: a torque of more than 450 Nm goes on stream at just 1,000 rpm.

Four turbochargers for higher output and a more spontaneous response. The use of a fourth turbocharger further optimises the engine’s efficiency and performance characteristics. As in the predecessor engine, the air flows into the combustion chambers by means of a multi-stage turbocharging process. At the high-pressure stage, two compact turbochargers are used with variable turbine geometry and integrated in a combined housing. The two low-pressure turbochargers are new and replace the previous large-sized third turbocharger: with their reduced dimensions they make for an even more direct engine response. The two low-pressure turbochargers and one of the two high-pressure chargers are permanently powered during travel. The second high-pressure turbocharger is only added at engine speeds of over 2,500 rpm. At high load requirement from idling, the two low-pressure turbochargers are briefly circumvented by means of a flap control system so as to build up boost pressure even faster.

Optimised efficiency due to modified exhaust-gas recirculation. The engine of the new BMW M550d xDrive is now fitted with exhaust-gas recirculation not just for the high-pressure stage but also for the low-pressure stage of the turbocharging system. This means that the turbochargers operate even more efficiently, thereby further improving exhaust emissions, too. The car’s efficiency also benefits from an indirect charge air cooling system that has a higher capacity than in the predecessor engine, as well as additional compressor backplate cooling for the low-pressure turbochargers.

2018 BMW M550d xDrive High Resolution Exterior
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Pressure of more than 2,500 bar for optimised exhaust gas characteristics. The fuel supply is taken care of by the latest generation of common rail direct injection in the new BMW M550d xDrive. Here, piezo injectors operating at a maximum injection pressure of over 2,500 bar ensure particularly precise dosage and even finer atomisation of the fuel, further improving the engine’s efficiency and exhaust response. The new BMW M550d xDrive is also fitted with the essential technologies for modern exhaust gas treatment, including not just a diesel particular filter and an NOX storage catalytic converter but also an SCR system (Selective Catalytic Reduction) with AdBlue injection.
Steptronic sports transmission as standard. For the purpose of power transmission, the most powerful diesel model of the BMW 5 Series is fitted with a modern 8-speed Steptronic sports transmission. The compact design, low weight and optimised efficiency of the transmission contribute to reducing fuel consumption and exhaust emissions. For use in the BMW M550d xDrive, the Steptronic sports transmission was adapted to the characteristics of the powerful 6-cylinder diesel engine and its very high level of pulling power. What is more, the shift programs feature a set-up that is specific to M Performance, offering sporty gearshifts as well as greater downshift spontaneity across the entire engine speed range. Shifts can also be activated manually using the paddles at the steering wheel, thereby supporting an active, sporty driving style.

Intelligent all-wheel drive system with rear-oriented configuration. In order to enable supreme driving performance in all conditions, the intelligent all-wheel drive system BMW xDrive distributes the drive forces to all four wheels as the situation requires. Its rear-oriented configuration supports the extremely precise handling of the BMW M550d xDrive, thereby emphasising the driving dynamics that are characteristic of an M Performance automobile. The M sports suspension with its body lowered by 10 millimetres likewise enhances the car’s driving dynamics. In conjunction with 19-inch M light alloy wheels Double Spoke 664 M in Cerium Grey with mixed tyres in the format 245/40 R19 at the front and 275/35 R19 at the rear, it ensures outstanding mechanical traction, transparent feedback on bends and the appropriate level of comfort even over long distances. As an optional extra, the new BMW M550d xDrive can be fitted with 20-inch M light alloy wheels in Double Spoke Design 668 M or BMW Individual light alloy wheels with V-Spoke Design 759 in Bicolor – in both cases with mixed tyres of the size 245/35 R20 at the front and 275/30 R20 at the rear. The M sports brake system with M inscription on the brake calipers finished in blue metallic ensures excellent deceleration figures and outstanding dosage capacity.

2018 BMW M550d xDrive High Resolution Exterior
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Another optional feature for the new BMW M550d xDrive is the Adaptive M Suspension Professional, whose Dynamic Damper Control with M Performance specific set-up permanently regulates the response of the shock absorbers at each individual wheel and reduces body movement to a minimum by means of Dynamic Drive (active stabilisers on the front and rear axle). Fitted with these features, the new BMW M550d xDrive offers the very highest level of driving dynamics without any restrictions in terms of ride comfort.

Integral Active Steering for supreme athletic flair. The BMW M550d xDrive is equipped as standard with the innovative Integral Active Steering. For this reason, a variable rack-and-pinion ratio is used. The more direct front axle steering transmission and the passive counter-steering or co-steering of the rear wheels means that the system reduces steering effort while enhancing both manoeuvrability in city traffic and ride stability when driving dynamically. The Integral Active Steering also guarantees a comfortable and supreme response on lane changes and bends. The varying characteristic curves of the steering electronics are directly linked to the driving experience switch and are activated by selecting the relevant driving program. In this way, the BMW M550d xDrive provides directionally precise support for every movement of the M leather steering wheel as well as sensitive feedback.

A sporty driving experience that can be customised. The driving experience switch can be used to activate a total of six driving modes. While ECO PRO mode supports a fuel-efficient driving style with early upshifting, COMFORT mode provides a balanced combination of comfort and the dynamic performance that is typical of BMW. The driving modes SPORT and SPORT+ feature characteristic curves for the Integral Active Steering that are specific to M Performance, further emphasising the precise handling and exact driving response of the BMW M550d xDrive. With a more direct connection on load shifts and an even more spontaneous response to accelerator pedal movements, both modes highlight the qualities of the new BMW M550d xDrive in terms of driving dynamics as well as providing a more emotional engine sound. In addition there is SPORT INDIVIDUAL mode, which allows the driver to select the preferred setting for the parameters of suspension, steering, engine and transmission from the two Sport modes – allowing configuration of an entirely individual driving experience mode. Finally, ADAPTIVE MODE offers an automatic selection of the driving mode that is most suitable in each individual case. Based on a driving style analysis combined with information from the navigation system – regardless of the driving program selected – all characteristic curves are adapted to the current driving style, road surface conditions and friction coefficient.

Exterior and interior visually convey the car’s driving dynamics potential. As standard the new BMW M550d xDrive features an M aerodynamics package with enlarged air inlet, which in the Sedan also comprises an M rear spoiler (“Gurney”). This additionally optimises the air flow and supports engine cooling, but it also visually conveys the car’s exceptional driving dynamics potential – as do the M specific design elements in the front bumper, the frames of the radiator grille elements with their black glossy bars, the exterior mirror housings and the side air breather elements, all of which are finished in Cerium Grey. The exhaust system with the particularly distinctive, emotional M sound has tailpipe trims specific to M Performance on the left and right.

Sill trims with illuminated “M550d” inscription show the driver and passenger the way to excellently contoured sports seats, including electrical adjustment and memory function on the driver side. Like the rear seats they feature high-quality fabric/Alcantara covers in anthracite. Aluminium trim strips, the M pedals and the M footrest create a high-quality, technical atmosphere. The M leather steering wheel with shift paddles encourages an active sporty driving style, while after starting the engine a greeting specific to M Performance appears in the instrument cluster before changing to a special M Performance instrument display.

Excellent conditions for active, sporty drivers. As a member of the new generation of the BMW 5 Series, the new BMW M550d xDrive also offers a very broad range of driver assistance systems. These include the active lane change warning, which intervenes in steering when a collision is imminent, lane departure warning and Active Cruise Control (ACC), which comprises extended functions in the new generation of the BMW 5 Series. The intelligent Speed Limit Assist detects speed restrictions and adopts these automatically in the activated cruise control. The Remote Parking option allows the car to be marked remotely using the vehicle key, even tackling narrow parking spaces. All these systems relieve the driver of routine tasks, allowing them to focus even more closely on driving. All in all, they are ideas that move the new BMW M550d xDrive one step closer to the vision of automated driving.

2018 BMW M550d xDrive High Resolution Exterior
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BMW Connected – connecting people with their automobile. The latest development stage of the BMW Connected system enables a close connection between people, their car and the surrounding environment. By allowing mobile end devices such as smartphones, smart watches, computers, tablets and navigation systems to be connected to one another via BMW servers, it also incorporates a link to the outside world. The intelligent system is capable of detecting the driver’s movement patterns and personal preferences in such a way that it can function as a personal mobility manager that provides simple yet comprehensive support for daily mobility – an increasingly complex task. The system also draws on real-time traffic information (RTTI) for route planning, even recommending an early start when required. It provides access to ParkNow as well as showing the user how to get from the parked car to their ultimate destination address on foot.

Extensive range of M Performance automobiles. Currently the portfolio offers a choice of nine dynamic M Performance automobiles with the model variants BMW M140i 3 door, BMW M140i xDrive 3 door, BMW M140i 5 door, BMW M140i xDrive 5 door, BMW M240i Coupé, BMW M240i xDrive Coupé, BMW M240i Convertible, BMW M240i xDrive Convertible, BMW X4 M40i, BMW M550i xDrive, BMW X5 M50d, BMW X6 M50d and BMW M760Li xDrive.

The new M 550d xDrive expands the M Performance range with the addition of two extremely sporty automobiles, the Sedan being available from July and the Touring at the end of the year 2017.

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