The "M5 Lite" now has M850i-matching power and optional laser headlights.
If you have the patience to read the lengthy press release attached at the bottom, you’ll discover that BMW is making a lot of tweaks to its European portfolio this summer. In our humble opinion, the icing on the cake is a serious upgrade for the M550i hilariously nicknamed the “poor man’s M5.” Unveiled on the Old Continent towards the end of 2016, the performance saloon had the twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 dialed to an already meaty 456 bhp and 480 lb-ft of torque.
How much does the revised version make? You’ll be happy to hear the engine now pushes out 523 bhp and 553 lb-ft, thus confirming a rumour from August 2018. If these numbers seem familiar, there’s a very good reason as that’s exactly what you get in the M850i Coupe and Convertible. An extra 67 bhp and 73 lb-ft over the old one is a lot of power, and it likely translates into some serious performance gains.
For the time being, BMW is not saying anything about the saloon’s performance chops, but it likely covers the 0-62 mph in less than the 4.0 seconds needed by the previous M550i. The refreshed V8 works together with the usual eight-speed Steptronic transmission and sends power to both axles courtesy of the xDrive system.
There’s more good news to share about the M550i as BMW is adding its fancy laser headlights as an optional package also available for its diesel counterpart, the M550d. The changes will come into effect from July when the 530e will gain a longer electric range thanks to a new-generation battery pack, while all-wheel drive will also become available.
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In related news, the European versions of the M4 Coupe and M4 Convertible are going to be sold from July with the M Competition package as standard. From the very same month, the X2 will get LED headlights “with extended features” as well as LED fog lights standard across the range. July is going to be the month when the Z4 roadster will go on sale in an entry-level sDrive20i guise powered by a 195-bhp 2.0-litre engine hooked up to a six-speed manual gearbox or an optional eight-speed Steptronic.