The new BMW is 100 horsepower short of an M5

BMW has announced an M Performance 5-series, coming to our shores as a 2018 model. The M550i xDrive should satisfy those customers who fancy themselves a sports car enthusiast, but don't want all that pesky sports car power.

The M Performance cars are a bit more tossable than their standard offerings, but keep the power a bit lower so you can keep speeding tickets at bay. While the M5 sedan has 560 horses under the hood, the M550i will get a slightly more practical 456 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque.

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So new it has a European license plate.

BMW

All that slightly more sane fun emanates out of a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 engine. BMW says peak torque comes on at a low 1,800 rpm and that the sedan can scoot from a standstill to 60 mph in four seconds flat.

Power gets from that V8 to all four wheels through an eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission. The all-wheel drive system is rear biased, but the computer should split that torque as it sees fit, so feel free to dive into the turns with abandon.

While M Performance does give the 550i a few sporty characteristics, like the larger engine and an adaptive M Sport suspension for a lower ride height, much of the "M" is merely cosmetic. A rear spoiler helps a bit with aerodynamics, but let's face it, it just looks cool. There are some M Performance design accents on the front air intakes in a grey metallic finish paint, which is carried over to the mirror caps and grille frame. The exhaust features black chrome tailpipes, and again, they look pretty cool.

We expect the interior of the M550i to carry over many of the same features as the 2017 five series, with an upgraded tile-based iDrive system with gesture control and a 10-inch touchscreen. The system can do all kinds of crazy tasks for you, like identify your driving patterns and make route suggestions based on real-time traffic as well as reserve and pay for a parking space. The damn thing will even park itself with the driver outside of the car. Will wonders never cease?

No word on pricing yet, but we expect the 2018 M550i xDrive in dealerships in spring 2017.

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