BMW to add M performance to the 5 Series in Detroit

21 December 2016 - 13:13 By AFP Relaxnews

BMW will be detailing a range of equipment and trim updates for its current 6-Series and giving US audiences a first glimpse of its compact X2 SUV concept at the 2017 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), but the biggest reveal promises to be the first M-Performance variant of its all-new 5-Series sedan, which will be making its global debut in Detroit.

The new BMW M550i xDrive
The new BMW M550i xDrive
Image: ©BMW Group AG

BMW couldn't wait until Detroit to share the new 5-Series with the world's motoring press. However, the NAIAS will be the first time that anyone outside the industry has ever seen the new car in the flesh. And to ensure that no one's disappointed, the company will also be showing off a new hot M-Performance version of the executive sedan: the M550i xDrive.

Just like the company itself, there are a host of keen drivers out there that don't have the patience to wait until the next M5 is ready for launch in 2018. So the M550i xDrive will serve as a stopgap over the next 12 months while also giving a taste of what to expect when the next supercar in sedan clothing is ready.

Powered by a new 4.4-liter V8 with two twin-scroll turbochargers, variable valve timing, and a direct injection system, the executive sedan will offer owners 462hp which can be sent to all four wheels, but only when absolutely necessary.

It wouldn't be a true driver's car if it didn't want to channel all of its energy reserves exclusively to the rear wheels whenever possible. And that's how this car's all-wheel drive system is configured, only sharing torque with the front wheels when grip is about to go.

Though performance figures are still provisional, BMW says this car, which is packed with weighty luxurious creature comforts and next-generation active safety tech, should hit 100km/h from standstill in 4.0 seconds and, more impressive still, offer 8.9l/100km (31.7mpg) on the combined cycle.

"We develop the BMW M Performance Automobiles for customers who are seeking very sporty driving characteristics yet do not wish to sacrifice any of their BMW's everyday practicality," said Frank van Meel, CEO of BMW M GmbH of the new car. "The experience and expertise garnered by BMW M in the world of motor sport and the development of high-performance sports cars are also channelled into the development of our BMW M Performance Automobiles."

In other words, though this M Performance model won't boast the same vital statistics as the 2018 M5, that's the only area in which it could be seen to be lacking.