KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors
- Updated Date: 10/5/2007
You'll Like This Car If...
Distinctively styled, capable of accommodating four adults in comfort and possessing an enticing mix of sportiness and luxury, BMW's 5 Series is universally regarded as a modern-day success symbol. Equally important, it has an uncanny ability to connect with its owners on a far more emotional level than do rivals like the Acura RL,
Audi A6 and the
Mercedes-Benz E-Class. While the six-cylinder 525i/530i models account for the lion's share of sales, it's the V8-powered 550i that smartly elevates both passenger pampering and absolute performance. Prime among the many significant features that help keep it true to the marque's "Ultimate Driving Machine" tag, this premium rear-wheel-drive
sedan gives buyers the unusual choice of a slick-shifting manual transmission or an automatic.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you're looking for a true sport-luxury
sedan with cutting-edge style, an incredible amount of technology, plenty of serious performance and an available six-speed manual gearbox, the 550i is definitely worth considering.
What's New for 2007
Those who've come to love the more conservative look of previous-generation BMW cars, both inside and out, may find the 5 Series a bit too avant-garde for their tastes. At this pricepoint, other vehicles on the market offer similar levels of luxury and, in some cases, more interior space, without all the complicated high-tech wizardry.
The 550i gains an auxiliary MP3/iPod input, a more sophisticated tire pressure monitoring system and has its standard BMW Assist Safety Plan extended from 12 to 48 months. A thermal-imaging Night Vision system and High Definition (HD) Radio join the options list, the available navigation system adds Real Time Traffic Information and enhancements to the Sport Package include 20-way power multi-contour seats and a new three-spoke steering wheel.
Even in base form, the 550i is a driver's delight, thanks in great measure to its potent V8 and the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) that integrates its computer-controlled stability enhancement with traction control and anti-lock brakes (ABS). Our test car also had two key options: Active Steering and the Sport Package. The former varies the steering ratio in a way that makes the vehicle easier to maneuver in close confines while helping it feel more stable when cruising at higher speeds. The latter - which includes BMW's Active Suspension, Active Roll Stabilization and 18-inch run-flat tires - imparts an overtly sporty feel to the 550i - although some owners may find the more supple feel of the base suspension more to their liking.
Xenon Adaptive Headlamps
Optional on lesser 5 Series models but standard on the 550i, these ultrabright illuminators shine with an intense blue-white beam, that closely approximates natural daylight, and also turn with the steering wheel to help you see further ahead into a corner.
Optional Multi-Contour Seats
While the standard 10-way power front buckets deserve kudos for comfort and support, the optional 20-way multi-contour units with articulated backrests, variable side and thigh bolsters and four-way lumbar support raise the long-distance travel experience to an entirely new level.
Elegantly understated, the 550i's cabin is trimmed in Dakota premium leather and poplar or maple wood keyed to black, grey, auburn or tan color motifs. Front-seat occupants enjoy comfortable and supportive 10-way power front buckets while the spacious rear quarters offer a split-folding rear bench with sufficient room to accommodate two full-size adults or a trio of kids. Highly-legible analog gauges provide basic information on vehicle speed, engine revs and fuel level, but the centerpiece of the dash is a color LCD screen connected to the love-it-or-hate-it iDrive integrated input system that uses a central rotator knob to control everything from the audio and air conditioning to the optional navigation and adjustable suspension systems.
Notable Standard Equipment
Visually, the latest 5 Series stands in stark contrast to BMWs of the past, with subtle corners and simple lines giving way to sharp-creased edges and cat's-eye headlight lenses that, with the 550i, house corner-following active bi-xenon lamps. Several heritage details remain, such as the twin-kidney grille and dogleg kink in the C-pillar. But with its bustle-back trunk and sculpted side panels, the 550i has definitely moved to new design territory.
Notable Optional Equipment
Heading the 550i's long list of standard equipment is premium leather upholstery and wood interior trim, dual-zone automatic climate control, 10-way power seats with power lumbar support, a power tilt/telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel with touch controls, iDrive multifunction integrated controller, 10-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system, keyless remote entry and a power moonroof. Functional touches include the comprehensive Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system that also integrates the 550i's traction control and advanced anti-lock brakes (ABS), bi-xenon adaptive headlamps, dual heated power mirrors with a "look-down" feature that helps in parallel parking, Park Distance Control and fog lamps. Front and front-side airbags are complemented by BMW's front and rear side-curtain head protection airbag system.
Under the Hood
Extras for the 550i include either BMW's six-speed Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG) or the STEPTRONIC automatic transmission at no additional charge, a voice-activated navigation system, distance-maintaining "active" cruise control, Head-up Display, speed-sensitive Active Steering, rear side-impact airbags, keyless entry and start, 20-way power multi-contour seats and SIRIUS Satellite Radio. Key group upgrades include the Sport Package (sport suspension, Active Roll Stabilization, 20-way multi-contour seats and 18-inch run-flat performance tires), Premium Sound Package (LOGIC7 Surround Sound audio with glovebox-mounted six-disc CD changer) and the Cold Weather Package (heated front seats and steering wheel and a high-pressure headlight cleaning system.
The 550i shares its 4.8-liter DOHC V8 with the larger 7 Series sedan. Making a smooth 360 horsepower and 360 pound-feet of torque, this free-revving engine is fortified with BMW's Valvetronic variable intake valve lift and Double VANOS variable intake/exhaust valve timing, advanced technologies that help to quicken its throttle response and enhance overall fuel efficiency. BMW claims zero to 60-mph times of around 5.5 seconds, either with the standard six-speed manual transmission, the six-speed Tiptronic automatic or the racing-style, six-speed Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG).
360 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
360 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 (manual), 16/22 (SMG), 17/25 (automatic)
The BMW 550i has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $60,485. Currently, the 550i is selling for that full amount, but Fair Purchase Prices that represent prices consumers are actually paying at any given time can differ substantially, so click on the Fair Purchase Prices to compare. Though some competitors, such as the Acura RL,
Audi A6, Cadillac STS and Infiniti M45, cost less, the
BMW 5 Series is generally regarded as the best value in its segment. As a long-term investment, the BMW 550i is the acknowledged leader, clearly outstripping its historic rival, the Mercedes-Benz E550, and earning the Kelley Blue Book 2007 "Best Resale Value Award" in the Luxury category.