BMW M550d x-Drive in the test

Hans-Dieter Seufert
BMW M550d x-Drive in the test
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S seems like the Diesel actually make it into the sports car Olympus. Ferrari and Lamborghini are still tense when it is mentioned, even Porsche does not want to confirm it for the 911. BMW comes around the corner and builds the BMW M550d x-Drive as the first self-igniting M model. Let's put the discussion aside as to whether the current M cars are sports cars or sports cars per se. What remains to be said is that the dam of resistance to diesel seems to be broken.

The BMW M550d x-Drive fills a previously unobtrusive gap between the 535d with 313 hp and the M5, the top petrol model with 560 hp The latter, however, in terms of torque by 60 Nm. In other respects, too, the newcomer sits between the chairs, is not one of the classic M models, but is the first representative of the new M-Performance series, completely in line with the M535i from 1980.

BMW M550d x-Drive with three turbochargers

The unique selling point of the BMW M550d x-Drive is the standard all-wheel drive, which has to be ordered as an option for the 535d and which is not available for the M5 or the Alpina D5, the Buchloer alternative. Visually, the new M is covered: here a front apron, there a spoiler, nothing too noticeable. It should remain discreet, in no way appear fluffy - the show is reserved for the M5.

The name BMW M550d leads on the wrong track of displacement; not five liters are filled with mixture in the direct injection process, but only three; the base engine comes from the 530d /535d. Anyone who has only a rudimentary enthusiasm for the technology of an internal combustion engine will click their tongue: The new one is a tri-turbo - triple charged. At first, a small charger blows just above idling speed, then a larger low-pressure compressor takes over from around 1,500 rpm. Another 1,000 revolutions later, a third, small high-pressure turbine pumps additional air into the combustion chambers in order to alleviate the typical diesel asthma at high revs. Such a technology stirs up expectations.

The diesel engine parries this pressure of legitimation extremely seriously. There is no turbo lag in the true sense of the word, the BMW M550d x-Drive gets going from idle speed - but the butterflies in your stomach only start to dive shortly afterwards. In the moment in between, the boost pressure builds up; the maximum is hardly imaginable three bar. Thanks to their power, he sucksTwo-ton chunks of the road almost under you.

BMW M550d in five seconds from zero to 100

The BMW M550d lifts itself out of the starting block in a still respectful five seconds to 100 km /h, but misses the factory specification by three tenths. The six-cylinder unisex rumble - it sounds neither like a diesel nor like a gasoline engine, but just like full power. For a better value, its standard all-wheel drive does not allow enough slip, and the starting strategy of the eight-speed gearbox is too defensive.

Because it distributes the power to all four wheels, the BMW M550d x-Drive can achieve its blazing 740 Nm in the wild but play at will. At the exit of the curve there is nothing to regulate the traction control - it just goes straight forward. The propulsion competence leaves no doubt what creates the driver's immediate confidence in the machine.

Despite the amazingly supple suspension, the chassis prevents any form of instability even in the Comfort position. BMW repeatedly shows how comfort and cornering competence can be combined in a beneficial way. The BMW M550d x-Drive delivers everyday sport in a plausible form, i.e. completely free of hardship or roughness - after all, the sedan character should not be spoiled. However, you have to work with the M-Boliden during the finely balanced flight over the country road. The heavy all-wheel drive looks sedate, its reserved power-assisted steering requires strong arms in the winding.

M550d consumes one liter more than Alpina D5

Through the slalom, the BMW wags less lightly than the one Alpina D5. In fast bends on unkempt motorway tracks, interference also penetrates the front axle - similar to real sports cars. The BMW M550d packs their licentiousness when accelerating in bourgeois decency and thus fits perfectly into today's times.

The diesel has now finally shed the image of B-goods and triumphantly presents itself as the Tri-Turbo-M. But the calculation of the Munich residents will ensure that he only becomes part of the upper-class world. The surcharge for a rear-wheel drive 535d, which does not provide much less thrust sensation, is around 23,000 euros. The Alpina D5, which is over 100 kg lighter and barely slower, still undercuts the M550d by around 10,000 euros - and is even satisfied with one liter of diesel less per 100 kilometers: 10.3 instead of 11.2 liters. This is where arguing becomes tight. The BMW M550d x-Drive will probably become an often admired but rarely sold technology carrier.

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