Despite being emissions-compliant, BMW has canned the V8 M550i. This is what's replaced it.
BMW debuted the eighth-generation 5 Series this week, and while it was revealed alongside the first-ever pure-electric 5er, the i5, there was one notable omission from the lineup: a V8-powered model.
The current lineup has the M550i xDrive, powered by a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 523 horsepower and 553 lb-ft, reaching the ground through an all-wheel-drive system. But the range-topping model for the new combustion 5 Series is only the 540i xDrive - powered by a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six with only 375 hp and up to 398 lb-ft when the mild hybrid system is in full effect.
Pondering the lack of a V8, CarBuzz reached out to BMW to find out why it's missing and whether it may join at a later date. The response we received might not be to everyone's liking, though.
The official line from the mothership in Germany is that "with its performance data and driving dynamics, the i5 eDrive M60 is a worthy successor to the BMW M550i xDrive."
The i5 M60 is the only M-badged variant of the new 5er, utilizing twin electric motors to provide the sedan with eAWD and outputs of 590 hp and 605 lb-ft. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to determine that those figures are superior to the old M550i xDrive, and a 3.7-second 0-60 mph dash is only a tenth slower than the old model. So performance-wise, the two are on par.
That won't stop fans from being bitter; after all, the BMW V8 is highly efficient - at least enough to comply with European emissions legislation, especially when paired with hybrid systems, as is the case of the M760i xDrive.
However, not everyone wants a battery-electric vehicle. BMW knows this more than most, which is why it has refused to set a deadline for combustion-powered cars.
To that end, a combustion alternative with similar outputs will be available later. It won't have a V8, but company representatives told CarBuzz that "the 550e xDrive PHEV will offer 483 hp, 516 lb-ft, and over 30 miles of electric-only driving when it's released in early 2024." It will utilize the 3.0-liter inline-six turbo motor with assistance from an electric motor. Without the mass of the i5 M60's hefty battery pack, its power deficit will be reduced, and it may offer punchy performance close to, but perhaps not quite as potent as, the current M550i.
There is a V8 destined for the 5 Series lineup eventually, but it will only be in the forthcoming M5. BMW engineers have hinted to us previously that the M5 will inherit the 740-hp plug-in hybrid V8 from the XM Label Red.
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