The newest generation of the BMW 5 Series was introduced in 2017 in sedan format. In keeping with BMW’s way of doing things, this year the performance models followed, the most powerful of which is the 2018 M550i. With solid drive dynamics, big sedan style, and a wonderful interior, the 2018 BMW M550i delivers all-wheel drive muscle in a classically designed sedan.

Quick Specs & Info

2018 BMW M550i Class: Luxury midsize sedan
Base Model As Tested
Powertrain 4.4L V8 Powertrain 4.4L V8
Base MSRP $73,900 MSRP as tested ~$86,000

Overview

The M550i is a performance sedan, first and foremost, but BMW didn’t forget what makes the 5 Series its most popular model line. The 2018 M550i combines the classy lines of the 5 Series with the wonderful notes and power delivery of a big V8 engine and all-wheel drive.

For 2018, BMW also added a lot of added content across the 5 Series lineup, to include driver’s aids, safety technology, infotainment improvements, and better fuel economy and performance.

The BMW M550i is a five-seat luxury performance sedan in the midsize segment.

Trim Packages

The 2018 BMW M550i comes as a stand-alone model trim with seven trim package upgrades available.

  • Cold Weather Package
  • Driving Assistance Package
  • Driving Assistance Plus Package
  • Dynamic Handling Package
  • Executive Package
  • Luxury Seating Package
  • Parking Assistance Package

Some wheel options are also available, ranging from 19-inches to 20 inches and either performance or all-season run-flat tires. A space-saver spare or full-sized spare can be optioned as well.

Other options that can be taken as stand-alone include an Active Driving Assistant driver convenience option and Remote Control Parking.

Exterior and Interior Design

The overall look of the 2018 BMW 5 Series carries forward the fast-paced, straight-lined and sloopy-styled hood of the previous generations before. This new 5 Series is longer than previous generations, however, with a slightly wider stance and lower-appearing roofline than before. The M model adds more aggressive wheels, badging denoting its M Series status, and other touches to declare its performance bent.

Inside, the 2018 M550i has all of the Teutonic comfort and convenience expected of a BMW. This new-gen 5 Series adds more rear seat legroom and more shoulder and knee room to the front. A lot of digital accoutrements are seen in the 5 as well, due to the huge amount of technology to be found in this new BMW.

Most of the changes for the 2018 BMW M550i are centered on details like interior badging for the door sills, seating, etc. and in slight changes to the instrumentation to mark performance values for those who wish to see them.

The new infotainment options are great and are some of the most technologically-advanced interfaces found on the market. Gesture Control has become standard in the 5 Series and makes for easy non-touch commands without interrupting music, conversation, etc. Simple gestures like “cut” for ignoring or hanging up a call, “come” for answering a call, and finger twirls to turn audio volume up and down are available.

Driving the 2018 BMW M550i

The 2018 M550i offers beautiful drive dynamics in keeping with BMW’s reputation for excellence in that regard. With the big 4.4-liter turbocharged V8, the 550i muscles its way around without losing any of its classiness or aplomb. With 456 horsepower on a wide RPM band and excellent chassis control upgrades courtesy of AMG means that the AWD-standard M550i is pure elegant power on the road.

In the real world, drivers can expect to beat 5 seconds in a 0-60 mph run consistently. Fuel economy can be as good as 16 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. We averaged about 21 mpg overall in our week with the car.

With all of that muscle, the 2018 BMW M550i still manages to be extremely luxurious in comfort and ride quality. Unless pushed into hard performance, the M550i holds itself as a quiet, sedate luxury sedan that never forgets to hint at its potential without being pushy about using it.

Those who opt for it will find that remote parking is a great new feature in the new 5 Series that allows the driver to park the car from outside of the vehicle, making getting into tight garages and parking slots a breeze. The car can also be removed from those spots the same way.

Competition

There are several competitors to cross-shop in the luxury midsize sedan segment, most of which are aimed towards performance.

    • Mercedes-Benz E-Class – offers similar performance and excellence on all fronts and was also introduced as a new generation last year.
    • Lexus ES – has a more luxurious interior experience, but does not offer the same off-the-shelf performance or driver-centric fun as does the 5 Series.

Strong Points

Lots of available technology on several fronts throughout the car’s build.

Beautiful look with strong design points that blend classic with contemporary.

New M550i adds performance to the lineup to complement the fuel efficient 530e plug-in hybrid.

Weaknesses

Pricey in comparison to some options on the market.

Interior luxury not as fine as with some competitors.

Conclusions

We found that the 2018 BMW 5 Series itself is a very well-rounded model line offering in the midsize luxury segment. The M550i is particularly well-done as a stylish, performance-oriented, but still luxurious sedan. The M550i offers superior V8 performance in a nicely-done package of excellence.

Some things that set the 2018 BMW M550i apart are the excellent performance, strong interior design, and high amounts of technology to be found in this sedan.

Test Period Length and Limitations
The M550i was a manufacturer’s press loan for about a week. During that time, a total of about 300 miles were put on the vehicle in varied driving environments with differing passenger loads.

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An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP) and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at AaronOnAutos.com.

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