BMW 5 Series 550i 2010 Review
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Imagine being able to afford to go to a 5-star restaurant where your all-time favourite meal is served. You start with the soup you desire, the entree you adore, the main comes rich in quality ingredients and it's all topped off with the tastiest of desserts and finest wine. But imagine if they served it all together on the one plate.
That's the problem with the new luxury BMW 550i GT. It has the best of everything packed into one parcel but the finished product just doesn't quite look right. BMW claims the car is a combination of luxury saloon, SUV and classic GT (that's grand touring rather than GT stripes).
And it's here the problem lies. It doesn't really know what it is. The four doors are frameless as in a sports car or convertible but from the inside you feel you are in a prestige SUV.
From the outside, the shape of the car just seems to be a bit too big. The big snout with a long bonnet and the ample rear are not the prettiest seen on the road. And it is hard to be won over but the off-set panels and rear tail-lights that can cry `wrong' just as well as pioneering.
The styling certainly fits BMW's definitions of the car with terms such as individual and unique. It's just a case of whether you want to have your cake, eat it too and get a fillet mignon at the same time.
Price and package
At a smidgeon under $200,000 the big Beemer is packed to the rafters. For starters there's the enormous grunt and smooth delivery of the 4.4-litre V8 twin turbo engine, that is seemingly urging you on to go faster, particularly when it has to loll along in traffic.
It delivers maximum outputs of 300kW of power and 600Nm of torque. It may be a big car but it can step up quickly, going 0-100km/h in just 5.5 seconds. The eight-speed automatic gearbox is extremely smooth. There's also the Dynamic Drive Control that allows you to change the handling and suspension of the car on the run through four levels from comfort to sport just by pressing a button.
On the downside, fuel economy is a concern. BMW claims the official around town economy figure is a whopping 16-litres per 100km. Allowing for some motorway cruising the onboard computer showed me 14-litres/100km. That's a lot, particularly considering the cost of premium unleaded these days.
Inside the car it feels as as big as a small room. With four seats (you can fold away the rear console to make a fifth seat if you have to), there's oodles of leg space in the front and back. It's lathered in leather and the multi-flexible electronically adjustable seats wrap around you.
The excellent head-up display, sat-nav, climate controls and the one-button console controller known as the i-Drive exude a prestige feel. The buttons and dials are solid and firm and relatively straight-forward to use. There's no flimsy controls or cheap material here.
Features include a rear view camera, a sound system with 80Gb harddrive for digital maps plus an extra 12gb for storing all your music, four-zone automatic air-conditioning, TV with screens at the front and in the back of the front head-rests and hands-free Bluetooth technology for your phone.
And it has two boots. Apart from the main boot there is a second, smaller lid under the rear window that can be opened separately. But the small rear window also needs its own windscreen wiper. Rear visibility through it is not great and it gets worse on rainy days.
BMW 550i GT
Engine: 4.4L/V8 300kW/600Nm twin-turbo
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Economy: 11.2L/100km (official)
Range and Specs
|M6||5.0L, PULP, 7 SP SEQ AUTO||$42,200 – 54,010||2010 BMW M Models 2010 M6 Pricing and Specs|
|M6||5.0L, PULP, 7 SP SEQ||$39,400 – 50,380||2010 BMW M Models 2010 M6 Pricing and Specs|
|550I Gran Turismo||4.4L, PULP, 8 SP AUTO||$30,500 – 39,930||2010 BMW M Models 2010 550I Gran Turismo Pricing and Specs|
|M5||5.0L, PULP, 7 SP SEQ||$21,500 – 29,260||2010 BMW M Models 2010 M5 Pricing and Specs|
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