“Speed equals money sir. How fast would you care to go?” Or so asked world driving champion Graham Hill when he was selling cars for Colin Chapman. How much will the very quick BMW 530e iPerformance and M550i xDrive Sedans set you back? This much:
Wait, why start with the bad news – here’s the good news:
The BMW M550i xDrive Sedan is the fastest 5 Series ever, clocking 0-60 mph in under 4 seconds. Now, are you really going to quibble about price?
During its world premiere this week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, BMW announced the price for the 2018 530e iPerformance Sedan as $51,400. The BMW 530e xDrive iPerformance Sedan will go for $53,700, plus $995 destination and handling.
Starting, keep in mind, at those prices. We’ll get to the M version in a sec.
The iPerformance is the automotive weirdo of the two, and is the fourth addition to the iPerformance portfolio in the United States. That would be the ones with more than an internal combustion engine. In this case, the powertrain is a 4-cylinder 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo mill and a powerful plug-in hybrid drive system. Combined system output is 248 horsepower and 310 lb-ft. of peak torque, which is not bad at all.
This all works together to propel the BMW 530e iPerformance from 0 to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds; the all-wheel drive 530e xDrive iPerformance Sedan variant does it in 5.8 seconds. The bigger, badder, 2018 BMW M550i xDrive Sedan hits the showrooms with a starting price of $72,100, plus $995 destination and handling.
Or, about the price of an used Nissan GT-R.
Excessive or Impressive?
This BMW M550i xDrive Sedan takes the top spot in the 5 Series roster. It’s the latest addition to the vaunted BMW M Performance line that combines “everyday usability with the power and driving dynamics that will elate even the most discerning enthusiast because they’re a total fruitcake and have no concept of self-preservation or propriety.”
Okay. Wait. BMW didn’t say all of that, but still.
They could have said that, because even loaded down with lots of techno-gear, the BMW M550i xDrive Sedan can hurtle from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, finally running out of grunt at an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.
Oh no, wait. It could go much faster, but the Bavarians have to limit it to 155 MPH?
If you want to know the hows, whys, and wherefores, it all starts in the engine room. Up front there’s a specifically modified M Performance TwinPower Turbo 4.4 liter 8-cylinder engine. This V8 mill is fitted with two twin-scroll turbochargers, a High Precision Injection system, Valvetronic fully variable valve lift, and Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing control.
Bottom line: 456 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and peak torque of 480 lb-ft. from just 1,800 rpm.
Coupled to this entertainingly overpowered plant is a BMW xDrive all-wheel drive system (with a rear-wheel toque bias thankfully) and an M Performance chassis set-up, helping to create the fastest and most agile BMW 5 Series to date. Agile schmagile, who cares? With that much rumble on tap, any handling “issues” can be overcome with a little more pressure from your right foot.
Both vehicles will be arriving in U.S. BMW showrooms this spring, followed shortly after by a sharp decrease in your available funds.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias towards lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.