Now that the F90-generation BMW M5‘s release is imminent, many enthusiasts have forgotten the lesser BMW M550i xDrive. However, that’s actually sort of a good thing. Like many M Performance models, the soon-to-be-released M550i is not much slower than its full-on M car. However, unlike other M Performance cars, the M550i is actually faster than its model’s previous-gen M car.
The current BMW M550i xDrive is actually faster than the previous-gen F10 BMW M5. What’s even more impressive about that is that it does so with significantly less power. Despite only having 456 hp, the M550i xDrive can rocket from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds. That’s blisteringly quick.
Though, its looks belie that monstrous performance. Which is precisely why it ends up on Road & Track’s list of top-ten sleeper cars.
A sleeper is a car that looks like an ordinary car but has the performance of an extraordinary one. If you give the M550i anything less than a brief glance, it just looks like a regular 5 Series with an M Sport package. There’s nowhere near the drama of an M5. Only upon closer inspection is the M550i visibly more exciting than a standard 5 Series. But most drivers on the road will be completely unaware of the sports car-killing performance that lies underneath.
So that makes the BMW M550i xDrive a real red light-monster. Pull up to anything short of a proper, proper sports car, like a Porsche 911, Corvette Z06 or its own sibling M5 and the M550i has a damn good chance of leaving whatever the other car is in its dust.
Plus, the BMW M550i xDrive is significantly cheaper than the proper M5, and more comfortable, so there’s a great performance value there to be had. And, it’s far more subtle. So if you need something to take your co-workers to lunch with and don’t want to seem like a hooligan but also want to blow the doors off of most sports cars, the M550i is a good car for you.