Demand for the BMW M5 has been so strong, with the waiting list extending to two years, that many buyers seeking a high performance 5 Series could well be tempted behind the wheel of the BMW 550i, the fastest non-Motorsport 5 Series model ever.

Offered in both Saloon and Touring variants, the 4,799cc 367hp car sprints from zero to 62mph in 5.5 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. Maximum torque is 490Nm while combined fuel consumption is 25.4mpg and CO2 emissions 267g/km. The 550i Saloon is priced from £43,550 while the 550i Touring starts at £45,575. Both the 540i and the 550i surpass the stringent EU4 emission regulations and replace the 535i and 545i respectively.

The introduction of the two new V8 petrol engines in the 5 Series comes as the class-leading 530d also receives an upgrade to its performance, thereby increasing its performance advantages over the competition. Using the same technical update as the recently introduced 730d, including the use of an all aluminium cylinder block, the 3.0-litre engine now has an output of 231hp, 13hp higher than the previous car. Torque remains at 500Nm but this peak figure is now available from just 1,750rpm, not 2,000rpm as on the previous engine, for greater in-gear overtaking performance. The sprint from zero to 62mph is dispatched in 6.8 seconds, a further improvement on the outgoing 530d’s 7.1 seconds. The increases in engine performance have not, however, been to the detriment of fuel consumption with actual improvements on the combined cycle from 40.9mpg to 42.2mpg.

The revised 530d’s performance increase has partly been brought about by the use of a new injection unit using piezo crystals for the ultimate in diesel engine induction. The use of piezo crystals debuted on BMW 7 Series earlier this year. The crystals offer a greater degree of control over the induction process in a common-rail diesel engine than the electromagnets previously used to operate the valves. This results in greater power from less fuel and cleaner exhaust emissions. It also leads to a reduction in engine noise and motoring refinement.

Another jewel in the 5 Series’ crown is that, now, all diesel models in the range come with a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) as standard for cleaner engine running. A DPF enables diesel-powered BMW cars to surpass the ever-tightening strict pollution-control regulations by limiting the emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulates.

Additionally from September, all 5 Series models come as standard with a revised iDrive controller, Start/Stop button and a luggage release button. Optional equipment new to the 5 Series range includes High Beam Assist , the headlight function that always maintains the optimum depth of headlight illumination depending on oncoming traffic, Comfort Access, front airbag deactivation and front ISOFIX child seat attachment, and a new style of 18-inch alloy wheel. Three new colours, Monaco Blue, Barbera Red and Deep Green, along with a new design of cloth upholstery also debut on the options list.

Published : 09/08/05 Author : Melanie Carter

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