The top choice in BMW's midsize 5 Series, the 550 offers a plush motoring experience for five along with the quiet fury of a twin-turbo V8. The current 550 emphasizes smoothness and comfort over all-out performance, but can still be equipped to satisfy the more spirited drivers among us.
What's New For 2015
The 550 receives minor trim revisions only.
Choosing Your BMW 550
What truly separates the 550 from the rest of the 5 Series lies under its hood: a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 that develops 445 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque. The eight-speed automatic transmission is specially tuned for energetic operation. Selectable driving modes allow you to tweak the car's responses to your driving style. The 550 starts out as a rear-driver, and BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system is a popular option.
The standard interior gets 20-way multicontour front seats, generous wood trim, ambient lighting, four-zone climate control and keyless ignition. Technology is abundant and includes a navigation system, integrated smartphone apps, a rearview camera, parking sensors, a hands-free power trunk lid and an impressive 10.2-inch touchscreen display. The 10-speaker sound system features HD radio and Bluetooth phone and audio capability.
The 550 is available into two optional lines: Luxury and M Sport (last year's Modern line is no more). The Luxury carries 19-inch multi-spoke wheels, additional chrome accents outside and expanded interior trim choices. Opting for the M Sport gets you a sport-tuned suspension, an aerodynamic body kit, double-spoke 19-inch wheels and specific M Sport interior trim.
- The Executive package cranks up the luxury quotient with automatic soft-close doors, a leather-covered dashboard with ceramic-trimmed controls and upgraded instrumentation, a head-up display and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system with satellite radio.
- Advanced safety technology is available in the Driver Assistance Plus package, which bundles blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, side- and top-view cameras, a frontal collision mitigation system and (optional) adaptive cruise control.
- There's also a Lighting package with full LED headlamps and automatic high beam control.
- Finally, the Dynamic Handling package tightens up the 550's moves with a driver-adjustable adaptive suspension system and active stabilizer bars.
You can further equip your 550 with specialized options such an automated parallel parking system, four-wheel steering, infrared night vision, a premium Bang & Olufsen surround-sound system and a rear entertainment system with dual screens.
The Driver Assistance Plus package is the most useful addition to the 550 in everyday driving. We're also fans of the Dynamic Handling Package, which provides tauter handling without the aggressive styling touches of the full-blown M Sport, which seem overdone for an otherwise button-down luxury sedan.