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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello everyone. So I recently took delivery on a new 2019 M550xi, Carbon Black, Ivory White Nappa, Premium and Parking Assistance Packages, 20" 668M Wheels. This was an order and I wanted to keep the options light.

Some background: I am a longtime car enthusiast. After going through a couple Audis - My first BMW was a 2003 330i. One of the best handling and steering cars I have ever owned. I eventually sold it so we could consolidate into an SUV with impending baby on the way and ended up Purchasing a VW Touareg. I did not get back into a BMW until we got a 2013 X3. Other than a brief foray into Jag, VW and Porsche, I pretty much exclusively had Audis until now.

Starting with the 2001 A4, the 2001 TT, a 2003 A4 3.0 and then a 2005 A4 1.8T - we went to the Touareg that year which was totaled which led me to into a 2008 Porsche Cayenne S. Went back to Audi after that with a 2013 S4 which was the same year we also got the 2013 X3. My issue with BMW through those years and why I went Audi was I just was not a huge fan of the BMW interiors and at least in my experience were tremendously unreliable. Just small things always going wrong. We got the X3 that year over the Q5 because the X3 was just so much more sporty to drive. We had a good time with that car overall but did experience several electrical issues that really stuck with us the entire time we had the car and that the dealership could never properly diagnose and repair.

So after that X3 we went back into Audi and followed up with a Q5. So we had the S4 and the Q5. I went from that S4 into a 2016 S6. My two girls were growing up and the S4 was just too small. I flirted heavily with a 550xi in 2013 before going with that S4, but the steering was so loose and light that I became completely disillusioned with the 5 series.

The S6 was a good car, but not a great car. Personal opinion, but I loved the looks and the interior fit and finish was tremendous. I thought the car drove like a boat, but the engine was fantastic and I still believe the Quattro is far superior to the X-Drive System. When my S6 lease came up, I was inbetween models as Audi had just come out with the new A6 and A7. The new S6 is at least 6 months to a year away and the new Audis have been flying off the shelves so the type of lease I was looking at did not make sense.

I decided to go back and test drive BMW again. The 5 series, although not the 5 series of old had dramatically improved. Steering although not communicative, was miles ahead of the last generation. The interiors which I always had a huge sticking point with BMW had also improved tremendously. The car looked legitimately luxurious inside. With no 550s I could find to test drive, I ordered one based on a few drives in a couple 540s.

When the car was first delivered, I was impressed by how it looked. Carbon Black which had always been my favorite color contrasted very well with the Ivory Interior. My prior S6 had the lunar gray interior which was almost Ivoryish - so I knew from personal experience that they weren't as hard to take care of as some feared.

After 1200 miles my initial impressions are these compared to the S6. The 550xi is indeed a high performance luxury sedan. Emphasize the luxury though over performance and definitely over sportiness. I never loved the S6 because I felt it was too isolated and not sporty enough, especially coming from the S4. But the S6 feels so much sportier than the 550xi, the difference is dramatic. I am not here to engage in a BMW vs Audi debate - I have owned many Audis but also BMWs and am a fan of great cars in general. I am no fanboy. That being said, the BMW is comfortable, luxurious and fast. It is not sporty unless you count artificial exhaust notes and silver accent trims constitute "sportiness".

At first I was somewhat let down. After being used to the Audi MMI for some many years, I just could not get used to the BMW I Drive. Also, already I have all kinds of electronic gremlins that in the last ten years of having Audis, I never once had an issue with. Phone calls in Carplay keep coming in and out. The system drops and forgets my phone and I have had to reconnect to Bluetooth 4-5 times already. Automatic setting of the heated seats and steering wheel sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. The heater is surprisingly weak for a German car. I find it ridiculous that a car in this price range does not have a third zone HVAC for backseat passengers. The car, even in Sport Plus feels lumbering and heavy, even worse than the S6.

After driving a few weeks now and understanding what this car is, I am starting to enjoy it. My S6 was quite sporty, the handling was more dynamic and suspension substantially firmer. But that meant extreme harshness over bumps. This 550 on 20" wheels absorbs bumps better than the S6 on 18" snow tires, let alone the 19" summers. The 550 is quite a bit longer and therefore my kids have a good amount more legroom. Although I still need to get used to Idrive, the screen itself is beautiful, quick to respond and I do like how the menu has the various functions subdivided into mini windows. The seats are FAR superior in terms of comfort. No one outside of Volvo can match the multi contour seats in terms of comfort and adjustability while still maintaining good sporty hold on the front passengers. The carpeting is still pretty downgrade but I do love the all weather mats. Interior is still no Audi to me (although I am not a big fan of the new all touchscreen Audi interiors) but I was still impressed with the quality of the open pore wood, the real aluminum accents and general fit and finish of the interior. I thought the open pore wood looked crappy at the dealership in a 540, especially compared to the open pore wood in the Audis and Volvos, but seeing it in my new 550, it looks great. Overall, the interior although not as much of a step up as the new X5 interiors, it is a huge step up for BMW overall and I find it functional, upscale looking and a nice place to be.

The engine - it's awesome. But not really an upgrade over the 4.0 twin turbo in the S6. They both feel similarly fast, have gobs of low end torque and generally make me fear for how I will be ever be able to own a non-8 cylinder in the future. But ultimately a wash.

I did get a tremendous deal on the 550 so at the end of the day, and as my options were limited I do not really have any regrets with the 550. There are some things I still do not like, but now getting older, and having kids - I can appreciate what the 550xi is - a fast luxury sedan with some sporty overtones. I do not brace myself everytime I see a bump or pothole now, and the car does get lots of looks. I love the Carbon Black and the seats are extremely comfortable for my long daily commute. Stereo is a huge upgrade over the Bose that was in the S6, and I do love the upgraded tech in the BMW - the lane departure warning is a great feature. The 360 camera is class leading in my opinion. The graphics are crisp and clear and gorgeously rendered.

I will check in from time to time as I put more miles on the car. I am happy to be back with BMW, but the 550xi is not perfect. If you are looking for sport but just in a larger package, just like I was when I went from the S4 to the S6, you will be disappointed. The 550 is a totally different type of car. Grown up, luxurious, comfortable - but still has the speed you need when you want it. Will not wake up your neighbors or make people turn their head because of how loud it is when you pass by. If you understand what you are getting - then this could be the best car in class. Especially if you can get a great deal.
 

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At first I was somewhat let down. After being used to the Audi MMI for some many years, I just could not get used to the BMW I Drive. Also, already I have all kinds of electronic gremlins that in the last ten years of having Audis, I never once had an issue with. Phone calls in Carplay keep coming in and out. The system drops and forgets my phone and I have had to reconnect to Bluetooth 4-5 times already. Automatic setting of the heated seats and steering wheel sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. The heater is surprisingly weak for a German car.
Enjoy the new ride. After putting over 7,500 miles on my M550 I don't have a single electrical or odd gremlin you have within your first 1200 miles. I would try deleting your phone altogether and then reconnecting it. I'm not a fanboy either - just stating my experience. My car has every single option/upgrade available except for the remote USB key.
 

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You can get an incredible lease on the C7 S6's now since the new generation is out, but man I could not get over the interior - looked really dated which is why I ultimately went with the BMW M550i even though it cost more.
 

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No pics??! Come on man! Congrats on the new ride, I enjoyed reading your takes vs Audi etc. For some reason I hate the Audi 7 but love the 6, awkward ass vs classy understated sedan, so I love the s6 and may have one if it leased better. I agree on the wonkiness of the CarPlay integration, but it has gotten better and I expect it will continue to. Also I***8217;m sure many differ, but in my opinion the M550i is the perfect amount of luxury vs sport. Most of the time I***8217;m in some kind of traffic and for that the luxury is what I want.

Pics!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I think it's hit and miss with BMW in terms of how bad the electrical gremlins are. Hoping the issues do sort themselves out. When friends ask me (excitedly) "So how's the car?!" I feel like a DB saying that "...it's ok BUT....". I do understand that we here driving the 550 live in some rarefied having the privilege to drive a $80K+ car every day and don't mean to sound whiny. Everything is a compromise these days and I do agree that the the 550 does blend a good amount of sporty and luxury, but I think there is a heavy leaning towards the luxury.

I'm with you modthipsny - I could not have reupped my lease with the S6 - when I first got the S6 it was already a little dated as the full LCD dash had come out but had not migrated to the S6 yet. We have a newer Q7 with the newer interior that made the S6 feel even that much more dated. I was concerned I would feel that way with this 550 - eerily similar in that (like the S6) has an upgraded interior but not quite what is in the new X5 and 3 series. Difference it that the newer interiors do not feel outrageously upgraded to me, but with the S6 and newer Audis (not the brand new ones with the all touch screen interiors) there was a significant upgrade.

Love the BMW forums though. Audi or BMW - people are passionate and knowledgeable about their cars.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
No pics??! Come on man! Congrats on the new ride, I enjoyed reading your takes vs Audi etc. For some reason I hate the Audi 7 but love the 6, awkward ass vs classy understated sedan, so I love the s6 and may have one if it leased better. I agree on the wonkiness of the CarPlay integration, but it has gotten better and I expect it will continue to. Also I'm sure many differ, but in my opinion the M550i is the perfect amount of luxury vs sport. Most of the time I'm in some kind of traffic and for that the luxury is what I want.

Pics!!
Thanks brother! That's kind of the realization I've had over the last couple weeks. Super sporty means super stiff and super uncomfortable. Handling wise you lose out, but the days of trying to make a hairpin turn at high speed especially with kids in the back - are over.

I wouldn't say I hated the A7, but I too had the choice between the S7 and S6, and I could not get over the fact that you were paying close to a $10K premium on looks when mechanically they were exactly the same car. I know looks are a huge part of car buying, but like you I always enjoyed the A6/S6 - stealth luxury look. That's kind of what drew me to the 550. No huge scoops or fender bulges or ridiculous badges all over the place.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Winter set up... liked that these Enkei's had the CSL profile. The Michelin Alpins perform very similar to the Sottozero 3s I have been using on the S6, but they definitely are quieter. The Sottozero's performed great but were damn loud.



 

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Pretty. Enjoy!
 

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Looks great, digging your winter wheels too. I***8217;m running winter wheels and tires for the first time ever this season thanks to a good deal from a forum member, and I***8217;m loving it. Guess I hadn***8217;t noticed my sottozeros being especially loud. Ready to get the 668s back on though!

You going to tune that bad boy? I***8217;m on the fence still on that.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It's been a few months and I don't know - I'm not completely loving the car. Again I do not want to keep beating a dead horse with constant comparisons with my old car, but the S6 was just much more dynamic which is ironic because when I first got the S6 coming from an S4, I complained that the S6 felt so less dynamic.

The 550xi truly feels like a vault. Very solid and fast, but steering, handling and cornering all extremely heavy and dead. I cannot stand the infotainment system either. Looks good, but functionality is extremely counterintuitive. Still cannot get Carplay to keep from dropping calls. The way you have to turn off the engine before taking off your seatbelt for the everything to shut off until you press the key fob. How everytime the system goes to my itunes playlist it defaults back to the first song in the list (you don't know how everyone in my family wants to kill me when Enya plays every time I start the car up and system is set to itunes playlist lol).

I kind of have alot of regrets. I think I would have been happier with the X3 m40 honestly and at far less cost.
 

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It's been a few months and I don't know - I'm not completely loving the car. Again I do not want to keep beating a dead horse with constant comparisons with my old car, but the S6 was just much more dynamic which is ironic because when I first got the S6 coming from an S4, I complained that the S6 felt so less dynamic.

The 550xi truly feels like a vault. Very solid and fast, but steering, handling and cornering all extremely heavy and dead. I cannot stand the infotainment system either. Looks good, but functionality is extremely counterintuitive. Still cannot get Carplay to keep from dropping calls. The way you have to turn off the engine before taking off your seatbelt for the everything to shut off until you press the key fob. How everytime the system goes to my itunes playlist it defaults back to the first song in the list (you don't know how everyone in my family wants to kill me when Enya plays every time I start the car up and system is set to itunes playlist lol).

I kind of have alot of regrets. I think I would have been happier with the X3 m40 honestly and at far less cost.

The driving dynamics were my biggest disappointment with the M550i end, in a way with the M5 as well (well better say the driving feel because the cold, numeric performance are excellent) Surprisingly, I found the RS7 being more communicative, the better driver car.

I agree, the 550i feels very, very solid.
 

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The engine - it's awesome. But not really an upgrade over the 4.0 twin turbo in the S6. They both feel similarly fast, have gobs of low end torque and generally make me fear for how I will be ever be able to own a non-8 cylinder in the future.

:D :thumbup: I totally agree on this....V8s are addictive (torque and especially sound)....one of the major reasons why I excluded the Maserati Ghibli from my recent purchase is because it did not have an eight.
 

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My driving history is pretty similar to OP... I had multiple Audi S cars and multiple BMWs. I'm currently have a SQ5 and a F80 M3 which I got primarily as part of my "buy all the manual car before they go extinct tour". Love the M3 but G80 won't be out in time for my lease expiration so I started to look at what else is out there. I was thinking how much I missed having V8 (I had the B7 S4) and maybe my next one will be "buy all the V8 cars before they go extinct tour". That lead me to M550i... on paper it checked a lot of boxes but after driving one, I'm not so sure anymore. It just feels too big and doesn't feel quite right.

I will be checking back in to see if the OP has any update... In the meanwhile, I was a bit disappointed to learn the new S6 and S7 will be trading in the Audi 4.0 V8 for the Porsche 2.9 V6 that are also used in RS5, Caynene and Panamera. I'm sure the V6T will be faster and handle better but there is something about V8... mostly the noise it makes.

Time to check in with Mercedes dealer I guess?
 

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I find the comments interesting because I had two A7s sandwiched between my 2012 550 and my current 540. I agree with all of the OPs comments. The A7s did handle better. But I live in Houston and the cars are basically just commuter cars for me on boring roads. So I like the BMWs tradeoffs.
 

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Given aging buyer demographics, I think the M550 has hit the mark. Like many enthusiasts I have had my share of hard riding performance cars. Been there done that. I thoroughly enjoy the firm but comfortable ride and the many amenities and the absolute beast of an engine in the M550. The fastest car I've owned. Just right in every way for me. I will go to track days with event sponsored track cars. Then I will get in my M550 and relax and drive home, with the music just right and the seat massager on. :)
 

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Photobucket lives!
 

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It's been a few months and I don't know - I'm not completely loving the car. Again I do not want to keep beating a dead horse with constant comparisons with my old car, but the S6 was just much more dynamic which is ironic because when I first got the S6 coming from an S4, I complained that the S6 felt so less dynamic.

The 550xi truly feels like a vault. Very solid and fast, but steering, handling and cornering all extremely heavy and dead. I cannot stand the infotainment system either. Looks good, but functionality is extremely counterintuitive. Still cannot get Carplay to keep from dropping calls. The way you have to turn off the engine before taking off your seatbelt for the everything to shut off until you press the key fob. How everytime the system goes to my itunes playlist it defaults back to the first song in the list (you don't know how everyone in my family wants to kill me when Enya plays every time I start the car up and system is set to itunes playlist lol).

I kind of have alot of regrets. I think I would have been happier with the X3 m40 honestly and at far less cost.
You mentioned that you got a great deal. Lease? If so, Swap out of it. Life is too short.
 
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