BMW M550i xDrive

Munich - BMW has given its European line-up a good beefing up, adding new engine variants across a number of model ranges, including the 5-Series, 8 Series and X5.

The most exciting of these changes occurs on the 5 Series front where the M5’s ‘deputy’, the M550i xDrive, gets an extra 50kW and 100Nm.

With 390kW and 750Nm on tap, the M550i, which is not currently offered in South Africa, is now even more powerful than the V10-powered E60 generation M5. This is thanks to a new-generation V8 engine featuring a redesigned crankcase and larger turbochargers positioned in the ‘V’ between the cylinder banks.

The new V8 is mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and xDrive all-wheel-drive system, while the model also gets M-specific chassis tuning.

The M550i xDrive is now also available with the latest version of BMW’s Laserlights with Selective Beam.

Meanwhile the BMW 8 Series line-up has been expanded in Europe with the addition of a six-cylinder variant to join the current V8-powered M850i xDrive. The new 840i Coupe and Convertible get the 250kW version of BMW’s 3-litre straight-six turbopetrol. Whereas the M850i is an AWD-only deal, the 840i models are available in both rear-wheel-drive and xDrive all-wheel-drive configurations. Furthermore, a new option in the 8 Series range comes in the form of new M Sport seats with ‘3D’ quilting.

The BMW X5 range has also been expanded downwards, with the release of a 2-litre four-cylinder diesel engine in the new xDrive25d variant. Featuring multi-stage turbocharging, the engine produces 170kW and 450Nm and is mated to an eight-speed autobox and xDrive all-wheel-drive. Also joining the range is a plug-in hybrid model called the X5 xDrive45e, good for 290kW and employing a six-cylinder petrol engine.

Another BMW to gain a four-cylinder option is the Z4, which is now offered in sDrive20i guise - yes, the ‘s’ means rear-wheel-drive. The new entry-level roadster is good for 145kW.

We are currently awaiting feedback on whether any of these new engine variants are planned for South Africa.

IOL Motoring