In what seems like the blink of an eye, the BMW 5-Series range has established itself as the best-selling model in the executive segment. A convincing balance between dynamics and ride comfort, exemplary efficiency, premium quality and innovative equipment features has earned both the Sedan and the Touring versions their huge popularity. Added to which, sporty yet elegant design and agile handling have helped fuel the fascination associated with the brand. And now the arrival of the BMW M Performance Automobiles aims to accentuate the sporting aspects of the BMW 5-Series' character. The BMW M550d xDrive and BMW M550d xDrive Touring capture the imagination with performance figures that leave their diesel-powered class rivals firmly in the shade. And they combine these leading values with the efficiency drivers have come to expect from diesel BMW cars.
The sporting focus of the BMW M550d xDrive and BMW M550d xDrive Touring is highlighted by bespoke modifications to power transfer, chassis and design components. These upgrades bear the signature of BMW M GmbH, which uses its development expertise to mould the two models into extraordinarily harmonious overall packages. The outstanding power of the tri-turbo straight-six diesel engine is translated into thrilling driving dynamics with impressive precision. This allows the 5-Series-based BMW M Performance Automobiles to offer the driver not only supreme diesel power, but also remarkably agile handling and predictable, controllable responses when exploring their dynamic limits.
Most powerful engine of its kind, sportiest diesel models in the segment.
The new and globally unique M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology gives the six-cylinder in-line diesel engine powering the BMW M550d xDrive and BMW M550d xDrive Touring maximum output of 280 kW/381 hp and peak torque of 740 Newton metres (546 lb-ft). The engine's instantaneous and sustained wave of torque allows it to lay down benchmark performance values for diesel-powered executive cars. The BMW M550d xDrive Sedan goes from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.7 seconds, while the BMW M550d xDrive Touring records 4.9 seconds for the same sprint. The duo also display addictive elasticity at higher speeds thanks to their engine's vast reserves of power. Top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h (155 mph) in both cases.
The diesel technology developed exclusively for the BMW M Performance Automobiles also gives the new arrivals a convincing head start in terms of efficiency. The Sedan offers fuel economy figures of 6.3 litres per 100 kilometres (44.8 mpg imp) in the EU test cycle, while the Touring achieves 6.4 l/100 km (44.1 mpg imp). CO2 emissions are 165 grams per kilometre for the BMW M550d xDrive Sedan and 169 g/km in the case of the BMW M550d xDrive Touring. Standard-fitted BMW BluePerformance technology also allows the two models to meet the stipulations of the EU6 exhaust standard.
The new cars' outstanding balance between driving pleasure and fuel consumption can be credited to the impressive efficiency of the new diesel powerplant and the spread of BMW EfficientDynamics technology fitted as standard. The BMW M550d xDrive and BMW M550d xDrive Touring benefit, among other things, from the pace-setting efficiency of an eight-speed Sports automatic transmission with long high gears, precisely graded responses and minimal converter slip. Another standard feature, the Auto Start-Stop function, switches the engine off automatically when the driver stops at junctions or in congestion. And the ECO PRO mode activated using the standard Driving Experience Control switch helps the driver maintain an economical and relaxed driving style through tweaks to the engine management, accelerator responses and gearshift program. In addition, ECO PRO mode regulates the output of electrically operated functions such as the climate control, heated seats and exterior mirrors to provide extremely efficient energy management. The BMW M550d xDrive and BMW M550d xDrive Touring also come with Brake Energy Regeneration, need-based operation of ancillary units, active air flap control and a disengageable air conditioning compressor.
BMW xDrive all-wheel drive with special M set-up.
The BMW M Performance Automobiles come as standard with BMW xDrive to channel the engine's power variably and as the situation demands between the front and rear wheels. The electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system works using a bespoke control strategy, which allows the threat of understeer in extremely dynamic driving situations to be counteracted by adjustments to the power split, without the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) system linked up to xDrive having to intervene. The system's M-specific tuning accentuates the traditional rear-wheel bias of BMW cars when it comes to power distribution.
The all-wheel-drive system of the BMW M550d xDrive and BMW M550d xDrive Touring sends more drive to the rear axle on the entry into a corner, delivering exceptionally precise cornering and impressive directional stability. In addition, the likewise standard Performance Control divides power between the rear wheels to maximise the cars' sports performance. Carefully judged braking of the rear wheel nearest the inside of the bend coupled with a simultaneous increase in drive power ensure the car responds to the driver's steering commands instantaneously and with high precision. The driver can even use the self-steering response typical of M cars to execute controlled drifts through dynamically taken corners.
Hallmark M chassis tuning delivers precise, agile handling.
The chassis technology of the BMW M550d xDrive and BMW M550d xDrive Touring is based on a double-wishbone front axle and integral rear axle. In addition, the Touring model has air suspension with automatic self-levelling at the rear axle. The suspension, spring and damper system, and hydraulic steering with Servotronic function also benefit from M-specific tuning. The associated modifications imbue both models with a fresh take on the traditional M handling characteristics, the cars' agility under lateral and longitudinal acceleration - and the precision of its responses to steering commands - entering a new dimension.
Special rubber bearings and anti-roll bars optimise the bodyshell mounting of the BMW M550d xDrive and BMW M550d xDrive Touring. Plus, modified springs and dampers give the two models tighter basic responses to dynamic forces. Optimised anti-roll control promotes instantaneous turn-in at any speed. The build-up of lateral forces under changes in direction is pleasingly linear and can therefore be controlled at all times. All of which means the BMW M Performance Automobiles also preserve the familiar comfort-enhancing properties of the BMW 5-Series when it comes to ironing out bumps and ruts in the road surface. If the optional Dynamic Damper Control or Adaptive Drive system is specified, COMFORT+ mode can also be selected using the Driving Experience Control switch. The M-specific overall set-up of the BMW M Performance Automobiles also includes modifications to the tuning of the electronically controlled dampers and anti-roll control. The result is a well-resolved, typically M overall set-up regardless of the equipment options chosen.
The powerful braking system on the BMW M550d xDrive and BMW M550d xDrive Touring features inner-vented discs; like the discs charged with stopping the V8 petrol-engined BMW 550i, they have a diameter of 374 millimetres at the front axle and 345 millimetres at the rear. The standard 19-inch M light-alloy wheels in double-spoke design are fitted with 245/40 R 19 format tyres. 20-inch M light-alloy wheels - developed exclusively for the BMW M Performance Automobiles - with mixed tyres can be ordered as an option.
Exclusive sporting character outside and in.
Another feature of the typically M overall set-up are the aerodynamic characteristics of the body, which help to give the BMW M550d xDrive and BMW M550d xDrive Touring their precisely controllable dynamics. The sporty yet elegant appearance of the two cars is complemented by a bespoke, airflow-optimising design for the front and rear aprons. The front view of both models is dominated by large air intakes. For example, the spaces around the outer air intakes normally reserved for foglamps on regular BMW 5-Series models are used to enhance the inflow of cooling air. The three-dimensional shaping of the front apron incorporates air-channelling flaps at the lower edge of the outer intakes, which are split horizontally by bars painted Ferric Grey metallic. The same shade is used for the exterior mirror caps and optional 20-inch M light-alloy wheels. BMW Individual High-gloss Shadow Line trim for the B-pillars, exterior mirror base and window surrounds also comes as standard.
Its extremely powerful form and an integrated diffuser element allow the bespoke rear apron of the BMW M550d xDrive and BMW M550d xDrive Touring to optimise both the cars' sporting appearance and airflow around the underbody. A horizontal trim strip on the top edge of the Black insert accentuates the width of the body. The exhaust tailpipes, positioned far to the outer edges of the rear end, come with trapezoidal embellishers in Chrome Dark. Another distinguishing feature is the "M550d" lettering on the boot lid and front door sills.
Lending the interior a familiar M ambience are features such as the gearshift lever with M logo, M leather steering wheel with gearshift paddles, M driver's footrest, BMW Individual roof liner in Anthracite and Aluminium Hexagon interior trim strips. The sports seats in the exclusive M variant Alcantara/Cloth in Grey Shadow are adorned with contrast stitching and an embossed M logo. Dakota leather is available as an alternative, at no extra cost.
The standard equipment of the BMW M550d xDrive and BMW M550d xDrive Touring also includes xenon headlights, Cruise Control with braking function, electrically adjustable seats with memory function for the driver's seat, 4-zone climate control, a rain sensor, the Radio Professional, a hands-free facility with USB interface, ambient light and the iDrive control system. High-quality options such as Comfort Access, automatic tailgate operation (standard in Germany on the BMW M550d xDrive Touring), hands-free tailgate opening, electrically operated glass/panoramic sunroof, doors with Soft Close Automatic function, trailer coupling, heated steering wheel, active seats, navigation systems with hard disk storage, and high-quality audio and rear-seat entertainment systems deliver a further boost to comfort.
Almost all of the BMW ConnectedDrive driver assistance systems and mobility services laid on for the BMW 5-Series can also be specified here. Features such as the Park Distance Control system, rear-view camera, Adaptive Headlights, Head-Up Display, High-Beam Assistant, Active Cruise Control with Stop & Go function, Speed Limit Info, Lane Change Warning System, Lane Departure Warning System, Surround View and BMW Night Vision with pedestrian recognition are all available. Other innovative technologies enabling the link-up of the car with the outside world and the integration of mobile devices give drivers access to, among other things, the BMW Assist service (including Advanced Emergency Call with automatic position finding), BMW Online and internet, as well as the online services Facebook and Twitter, and Real-Time Traffic Information.
The powertrain: The most innovative and sporty diesel engine in the world.
Impressive statistics headline the enviable regard in which modern diesel engines are held. The output now within their compass, but more significantly the maximum torque they are capable of generating have fuelled their popularity among even performance-minded drivers. The high efficiency of diesel technology also ensures extremely low fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. BMW has played a major role in the burgeoning appeal of the diesel engine, developing units which have time and again raised the bar in terms of sports performance and efficiency. The company's record of diesel engine development, which began in 1983 with the launch of its first diesel model, now continues into another fascinating dimension. The first of the new BMW M Performance Automobiles - founding a product category focusing on sporty driving pleasure - are powered by a diesel engine. The 3.0-litre six-cylinder in-line unit, whose cover bears the M Performance badge, has all the necessary tools to fulfil the brief handed to the new breed: technology without parallel worldwide, the highest output ever achieved by a BMW diesel engine and outstanding levels of efficiency.
Fitted in the BMW M550d xDrive, BMW M550d xDrive Touring, BMW X5 M50d and BMW X6 M50d, the 2,993 cc engine generates maximum output of 280 kW/381 hp. No less imposing is its peak torque of 740 Newton metres (546 lb-ft), all of which the driver will find on tap as low down as 2,000 rpm. Instantaneous torque development maintained into the upper reaches of the rev range is the hallmark feature of the new unit, one underpinned by an array of innovative and globally unique technical wizardry. Taking centre stage - for the first time in a BMW - are a trio of turbochargers. Their arrangement and interplay strategy are the key to the engine achieving its exceptionally high efficiency.
More pressure, more output, more torque: world premiere for six-cylinder in-line diesel engine with three turbochargers.
The coordinated interplay of turbochargers of different sizes endows an engine with instantaneous responsiveness at low revs and allows charge pressure to be increased according to need when the engine is placed under greater loads. BMW uses this concept in the six-cylinder in-line diesel engines with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology fitted in models including the BMW 535d, BMW X5 xDrive40d and BMW X6 xDrive40d. And now the company is set to become the world's first carmaker to present a diesel engine which expands the principle of multi-stage turbocharging to incorporate a third turbocharger. The engine developed for the BMW M Performance Automobiles will, for the first time, see two comparatively small high-pressure chargers working with a larger low-pressure unit. The integration of an additional high-pressure turbo increases the engine's capability when it comes to generating charge pressure, a key ingredient in taking the engine's power output to the next level.
The M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology - including the requisite charge air cooling - is, like its predecessor, integrated into a small space in the main unit. Its compact construction puts the engine in a position to meet future pedestrian protection stipulations, while the arrangement of the three turbochargers is also part of an extremely intelligent system. Both the exhaust inflow to drive the turbos and the supply of fresh air, plus the channelling of compressed air to the combustion chambers, have been designed to ensure that the three compression units work as a team as effectively as possible at all engine speeds. Efficiency is further optimised by the variable turbine geometry of the two high-pressure chargers, which allows them to react even more precisely to the driver's power needs.
Instantaneous responsiveness and precisely coordinated interplay.
One of the two small turbos is activated at engine speeds just above idle. Its low moment of inertia allows it to respond without delay to the slightest movements of the accelerator and therefore supply the combustion chambers with compressed air at an early stage. As revs increase, the flow of exhaust gas also reaches the larger turbocharger, which announces its arrival with the engine spinning at just 1,500 rpm. Working together with the small charger, it ensures that the impressive peak torque of 740 Newton metres (546 lb-ft) is generated at this low engine speed and maintained up to 3,000 rpm.
To further increase the performance of the large turbocharger, a greater volume of exhaust gas is required at around 2,700 rpm. If the driver calls up additional power, a vacuum-modulated exhaust flap instantly opens up another supply route, allowing extra exhaust gas to flow past the already active high-pressure charger to the large low-pressure turbo. The third turbocharger - integrated into this bypass line - also has a low moment of inertia and variable compressor geometry, which allow it to spring into action as soon as the exhaust flap opens. The result is additional charge pressure, generated by two sources at the same time. The large turbocharger is able to deliver its full output, while the second small turbo builds on the effect of its two active colleagues by supplying even more compressed air to the combustion chambers. This arrangement allows the turbocharging system to drive the engine with forceful and sustained thrust to its maximum output of 280 kW/381 hp, which it notches up between 4,000 and 4,400 rpm. The maximum engine speed of the new diesel powerplant is 5,400 rpm.
In order to ensure that charge pressure is developed as effectively as possible, not to mention efficiently, both the exhaust flow and supply of fresh air to the turbos and the channelling of compressed air into the combustion chambers is regulated with maximum precision. If the large turbocharger is spinning at particularly high speeds, a vacuum regulator opens a wastegate valve to relieve the pressure and so avoid unwanted exhaust backpressure. The supply of fresh air is also controlled according to need by means of pneumatically activated flaps. For example, at low revs a bypass flap ensures that the air is channelled directly to the high-pressure charger, which spins into action very early. At less than 2,700 rpm a change-over flap keeps the air away from the third turbo, which is not yet active, to prevent unnecessary fluctuations in pressure.
Indirect charge air cooling enables the temperature of the air compressed by the three turbos to be reduced to the optimum level for increasing engine output. Both the main radiator positioned immediately in front of the combustion chambers and the intercooler behind the low-pressure charger are supplied by a low-temperature water circuit with separate electric pump.
Detailed optimisation enables higher combustion pressure, increased output and enhanced efficiency.
The new torquey and high-revving diesel engine also breaks new ground with its specific output of 93.6 kW per litre of displacement. However, the output possible using M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology is generated not in the turbochargers but in the core of the basic engine, which has therefore also been extensively modified. Maximum combustion pressure has risen from the 185 bar of the most powerful diesel engine in the existing BMW line-up to 200 bar.
As part of this development, the crankcase in the new 3.0-litre diesel engine features an innovative tie rod concept for the assembly of the main bearing caps and cylinder head. The sintered main bearing caps are given extra strength by a central screw. Like the crankcase, the cylinder head is also subjected to a special high-pressure compression process. This "HIPen" manufacturing concept sees the aluminium castings heated to solution annealing temperature and the casting pores created during manufacturing welded under high pressure. This process gives the finished component additional strength. A double diagonal bore ensures the interbore bridges have high thermal stability.
The geometry of the crankshaft and connecting rods has been further optimised and they are now made from higher-strength materials. Added to which, hub bushings and bowl rim remelting enhance the effect of the increase in piston compression height.
Higher pressure also raises the efficiency of the injection system.
The injection system of the new six-cylinder in-line diesel engine has also benefited from a rigorous process of further development. The common-rail direct injection system plays its part in enhancing the engine's efficiency and promoting clean combustion by sending extremely precise quantities of fuel into the cylinders. The upgraded system raises the injection pressure of the piezo injectors to 2,200 bar. During each power stroke, three pre-injections, one main injection and four post-injections of fuel take place. An ultra-high-performance pump channels the fuel to the combustion chambers through a common rail made from forged stainless steel.
The output and capacity of the cooling system have been given another boost, too. An additional low-temperature circuit supplied by an electric water pump controls the temperature of the intercoolers. The exhaust treatment system includes a diesel particulate filter and oxidation catalytic converter, which is located close to the engine in the same casing. More efficient exhaust cooling, meanwhile, minimises the formation of nitrogen oxides. And standard-fitted BMW BluePerformance technology, which includes a NOX storage catalytic converter, helps the new diesel engine powering the BMW M550d xDrive to meet the EU6 exhaust standard not due to come into force until 2014.
Eight-speed Sports automatic transmission with M-specific gearshift dynamics.
The combination of the most powerful diesel engine ever offered for a BMW with an eight-speed Sports automatic transmission ensures that drive is transferred onto the road surface extremely effectively and efficiently. The configuration of the transmission management system for the BMW M Performance Automobiles promotes dynamic acceleration. The M-specification gearshift dynamics enable extremely rapid gear changes with an almost uninterrupted flow of power. The eight-speed Sports automatic transmission offers the driver two automated shift programs - D and S modes - as well as the option of changing gear manually (in M mode).
The automatic gearbox is operated using an electronic gearshift lever on the centre console adorned with an M logo. Manual mode allows the driver to change gears sequentially using either the gearshift lever or the paddles on the steering wheel. In customary M fashion, the right-hand paddle changes up a gear and the left-hand paddle is used for downshifts. If the driver activates manual mode using the gearshift lever, the transmission holds the gear selected until the engine's revs hit the limiter. By not shifting up automatically in this mode, the gearbox gives the driver maximum control over the car when pushing the dynamic boundaries. The driver can also switch instantaneously from automatic gear changes to M mode with a nudge of one of the gearshift paddles; if M mode is selected in this way, the gearbox's automatic shift-up function remains active. The transmission also restores automatic mode if the gearshift paddles are not used again following an upshift or downshift.
Enhancing the natural soundtrack inside the car turns driving pleasure up yet another notch.
The performance capability of the diesel engine and the hallmark M driving characteristics of the BMW M Performance Automobiles underpin a new definition of driving pleasure. Imposing torque and a set-up focused squarely on sports performance give drivers a dynamic driving experience they will never have previously sampled in a diesel car. The BMW M Performance Automobiles also lace this driving pleasure with additional acoustic appeal. Through sound design technology, the natural engine sound is specifically enhanced to suit the driving situation at the time and sent into the interior via the audio system, ensuring an authentic reproduction of the new engine's unmistakable straight-six soundtrack.
The system's digital signal processing technology exchanges data directly with the engine management, allowing it to base its precise transmission of the engine's timbre on the revs at any one time, the amount of torque being produced and the car's speed over the road. Accentuating the straight-six diesel's turbine-like, sporty and sonorous tones adds to the emotional appeal of the driving experience, especially in the BMW M550d xDrive when SPORT or SPORT+ mode is activated using the Driving Experience Control switch. This gives the driver an impressively accurate impression of how hard the engine is currently working and of the power being unleashed, and provides an even clearer window into the car's responses on the road. Controlling the audio system in this way also ensures that the engine sound can be enjoyed to equal effect from every seat.
New six-cylinder engine with three turbochargers - a milestone in the glittering history of BMW diesel engines.
The engine developed for the BMW M Performance Automobiles represents a new high water mark in the illustrious history of diesel engines at BMW. The premium carmaker has offered customers diesel-powered models since 1983. The BMW 524td that kicked off this fine tradition quickly earned itself the status of the sportiest diesel model on the market. Its engine developed 85 kW/115 hp and delivered the best performance yet also the lowest fuel consumption of any car in its class. Since then, diesel BMWs have regularly emerged as the most efficient models in head-to-head tests. A host of prestigious awards - such as the Engine of the Year Award - and the impressive success of diesel-powered BMW models on the track headline the company's unrivalled expertise in the development of diesel technology.
And so it is entirely in keeping with the company's proud heritage that the first BMW M Performance Automobiles are now set to line up with a diesel engine under the bonnet. The unit developed to power them fulfils its sporting brief with leading performance in a range of disciplines and, in so doing, dismantles the historic contradiction between driving pleasure and economy even more effortlessly than ever.