Tested: 2021 BMW M550i xDrive Has M5 Envy

Ingrained somewhere in the consciousness of car lovers everywhere is that V-8s matter. BMW M550i appears to agree and offers the V-8-hungry customer an entire menu section.

2021 BMW M550i xDrive Has M5 Envy

There are 600- to 617-hp twin-turbo V-8s in M division vehicles (M5, M8, X5M, X6M), and the ufabet brand also sells a detuned 523-hp version of the M division’s twin-turbo V-8 in the M850i, X5 M50i, X6 M50i, X7 M50i, and in the M550i. But, like seeing smelt on a menu, we do have to wonder who orders an M550i. After a week with it, we think we get the appeal, but we’re still developing a taste for it.

Set a mere rung below the M5, the BMW M550i  wears a body kit that makes it look nearly as aggressive as the M5. An eight-speed automatic is the only transmission, and it works brilliantly, delivering crisp shifts that largely go unnoticed and responding quickly to accelerator inputs. The engine has big lazy power and 553 pound-feet of torque to push you into the 20-way leather seats.

We couldn’t quite match BMW’s claimed zero-to-60 time of 3.6 seconds. Our 5287-mile test car did the 60 run in 4.1 seconds and sailed through the quarter in 12.3 seconds at 120 mph. All-wheel drive makes launches easy and repeatable, but an M5 Competition shatters those numbers with a 2.6-second run to 60 and a 10.7-second quarter at 130 mph. We’re not sure why our Michigan test car wasn’t quicker, and it certainly should have been considering the X5 50i we tested hit 60 in 3.9 seconds and weighed 857 more pounds than the 5-series.