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BMW M5 vs BMW 550i

jedi0077jedi0077 Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in BMW
Do you guys think that the M5 is worth the 35-40,000 price difference? I mean, I love the M5. But a 550i with the "no cost" option of SMG trans is a beast. And for 40,000 I could buy a new Mustang Cobra this summer. But the V10 is a beast. Just try going through a 20mph school zone in one!


  • lopzlopz Posts: 22
    When you consider the standard features in the M5 that are options in the 550i, the difference is only $15,000, certainly not $40,000!
  • gts_08gts_08 Posts: 3
    I would go for the 550i. My dad's got one and I've driven it many times. Its extremely fun to drive and very quick. I don't think the M5 is worth even the $15,000 price difference, especially since a few simple add-ons can increase the HP to around 400 easily. And you can get a body package from the dealer to make the 550i look like an M5. But you may want the M5 because its unique, rare, and....well....and "M" car. What more can I say.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I'd take a 550i 6-speed over the M5 SMG. I drove one recently and, much as I felt about the M3 SMGII when I drove it a year ago, it just doesn't do it for me. A little hesitation when downshifting, a bit from a dead stop (w/o using "launch control".

    I recall my first drive in the previous M5 6-speed. Great gear box, comfortable size, no i-Drive distraction, etc. It was fantastic. BMW took one step forward (V10 engine), but about three steps back (SMG, i-Drive, bigger/heavier feeling). And in order to access the extra horsepower, you have to fool around with the i-drive program.

    I have no regrets for opting to keep my sedan and get a 911S Cab in lieu of the new M5. It's still the best performance sedan onthe planet, IMO, but it fell short of my expectations from my previous M5 experience.
  • Obviously You never drove the M5... I never drove the 550. SO I can not comment either... You shouldn't!
  • i never said the 550 was better....i just said it was quick and fun to drive. i'm sure the M5 is quite a bit quicker than the 550....but is it worth the price difference?
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Power is one thing. Too bad you can't get the 550 with same suspension, manual transmission and clutch as the M5. I'd still take the E39 M5 and be happy as a clam... my dealer has two of them and I'm drooling.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "Too bad you can't get the 550 with same suspension, manual transmission and clutch as the M5."

    For 2006, the 550i came with a 6-speed manual, the M5 did not. Which is why I would have taken the former over the latter. And, for the record, I have driven both.

    For 2007, the M5 will have a 6-speed manual option. That changes everything.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Yes, I am aware of those things. I was referring to the differences in the M series compared with the lesser-performing models within the platform. Not only is the engine different but they have differences in suspension, manual transmission, clutch, differential, driveshaft, steering and brakes. People tend to focus on the engine differences but, as you are probably aware, it doesn’t stop there. The Ms truly raise the bar in many aspects, although I feel the high revving nature of the E60 M5 engine took it a little over the top for a sedan.
  • Ill give you a little bit of advice if you are really a enthusiast. You should get the 550i with the trans you want, and take the money left over to customize your 550i. You can get a Hamann, AC Schnitzer, etc bodykit and customize your interior with the colors and materials you want. Tune the engine at Active Autowerke, Hamann, etc. You can do a lot with $40,000, and you can definately get a car that is truely one of a kind, built to YOUR individual taste, that you'll enjoy 10 times more than a M5. After a year or so there will be more M5's on the road, but your car you customized will always be the only one like it.
    I would take a great deal of time and effort in searching out a quality tuner shop in your area, and it may not be in your immediate area but im sure you'd rather drive a little further or ship it a little further and get qualtiy work, than pick a local shop that has NO craftsmanship ability. Anyways, thats just my thought
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,926
    Just be aware that you won't get anywhere NEAR what you invest in a highly customized car. Matter of fact, there's a chance that he'd not even get as much for his customized 550i as a bone stock 550i.

    Ever notice how those custom hotrods never sell for much? The owners usually say they put $50K - $100K in mods, etc. to the vehicle and when they sell it, they RARELY ever get more than $30K for them.
  • I understand that, and for the most part it is true. However with M cars and AMG cars, they also do not hold their value. A client of mine traded her 2005 CL55 with 4,000 miles on it to the local Mercedes-Benz dealership in Pineville, NC and they offered her $56,000.00 The car hasnt even been broken in yet, and she paid well over that. So it just comes down to what you want, what you like and what you're willing to pay. Thanks for the point.
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,926
    Thanks for the heads up on that dealership. I'm in Charlotte and know exactly where you're talking about. I was thinking of trying to do business w/ them, but now that I know they rip folks off, no thanks. Question is, did they rip her off because she's a woman or is that standard dirty practice across the board? :confuse:

    Wonder if I can get a good deal on an E55 AMG that they stole from somebody... :blush:
  • Im sorry, we kind of got our signals crossed. The reason they offered her such a low price was because the AMG models dont hold their value. I think the reason behind the dramatic loss with AMG and M cars is because the people who can afford the cars new are a select group, and that makes the re-sale value of the cars drop because the people that want them, want them new. I actually deal with the Pineville dealership quite a bit, they are great people and are most definately the "best game in town". They have great customer service. Im sorry for the miscommunication, but the Pineville MB dealership is on the level. Thanks
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,926
    That's a pretty lame reason for them to lowball her like that. Not to mention it's not true. There are tons of people that want the AMG cars but can't afford a new one. I checked KBB and based on what you said about the car's mileage, she should've gotten in $70K range (with no options selected) for trade-in. They screwed her over big time. I bet they put it back out on the lot for still near $90K. That's definitely not "on the level."
  • Well it is what it is. The KBB is what the car is valued at, but you know that they have to make money on it, so they may charge about 70K for it. It is a 2004, the low miles dont add much. I know as good as anyone, the trade in on that car is always going to be less than what the car is worth but that is just how it works out. Thanks for the conversation.
  • shulseshulse Posts: 11
    I went to my dealer and priced out the 550i with ED at $60k, while the M5 was about $25k more - apples to apples, upgraded sound, etc. I drove the 550i and it was amazing. If they are planning to upgrade the engine for 2008, it seems the gap is smaller and smaller - why would they offer both models?
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    In my area (washington DC), AMG cars appear to have MUCH, MUCH lower resale value than do M cars. When I was considering a new M5 in 2004, it cost roughly $5,000 less than an E55. Today, that 3 year old M5 would sell for at least $8,000 to $10,000 more than the E55.

    In my opinion, the difference between AMG and M is dramatic. AMG has gone to stuffing a supercharged V8 or V12 into every friggin model that Mercedes offers. Pardon the French, but they've become whores. Instead of taking soemthing like the SLK55 and equiping it with a real sports car like chassis and 6-speed manual and DSG options, they are busy stuffing a 500+ horsepower engine into the R63 Minivan. When I test drove the SLK55 to humor my friendly Acura/Mercedes dealer before buying a 911S in 2005, it was an embarassment. I could take a sip or two of a Starbucks latte waiting for the manumatic slushbox to engage the next gear. Tap two times and you could get a bite out of your bagel as well.

    I'm not a big fan of the new M5 with it's 7-speed SMG compared to the good old previous generation 400 hp M5 6-speed. But compared to anything offered by AMG, the M cars are far, far more appealing to me and just about anyone who derives driving pleasure from more than using a lead weighted right foot and pointing the car in a straight line. That gets pretty old pretty quick, which IMO, is why a 3 year old M5 still has enthusaists lining up and a 3 year old SL55 or E55 doesn't.

    Lastly, as much of a fan I am of the 550i 6-speed, you get a lot more than just more power going to an M5. Besdies all of the chassis improvements, even the type of engine you get (free revving 8,200 RPM redline) is a completely different experience. Again, the same cannot be said for AMG.
  • Well if you're interested in a sporty SLK, look at the SLK55 Black Edition. This AMG model is all but a track car, with race ready suspension, brakes, carbon interior, etc. The AMG cars are fairly new to the game. The AMG name has been around for a long time, since the mid 1960's but they didnt have serious backing until 1999 when Mercedes-Benz bought them. It is hard to compare AMG and M models, the cars are built with different ideas in mind and are made for specific audiences. The AMG cars are focused on luxury and performance. AMG cars offer alcantara headliners, alcantara seat inserts, key-less go options, and many more luxury options; on top of that they also offer a beefy engine, exhaust, brakes, trans, etc to make they car perform better than other models. M models offer very little interior differences, they used to have different seats but they have changed that with the new M5, they are almost identical to the 550i inside. On the outside both cars change about the same thing; front bumper, rear bumper, side skirts, and sometimes a spoiler. As far as performance, the M cars have been and always will be a "track" car. For years now M owners have gathered and had track day in various countries. M owners like using their cars in racing situations, etc, which is displayed in how they build their cars. AMG owners are interested in luxury and performance but usually they are not as particular in performance as M owners. It is just a matter of opinion, but give AMG a couple more years and they will be at the same level of performance as M models if not pass them. You cant beat a 6.5 liter bi-turbo V12 in a damn 2 seater convertible coupe, how can you not like the people that thought of that?
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "You cant beat a 6.5 liter bi-turbo V12 in a damn 2 seater convertible coupe, how can you not like the people that thought of that?"

    Actually, I can easily match or beat that $165k 600+ horsepower SL65 around a road course with my former $32k S2000, let alone my current 911S. After all, at an ubber-obese 4,500 lbs, that "damn 2 seater convertible coupe" weighs MORE than our former Isuzu Trooper SUV. Not exactly the epitome of sports car nimbleness.

    I'm not sure what you consider the "same level of performance" as an M-car, but for someone like me that is 30+ years past drag racing at stoplights, AMG is light years away from Motorsports in floating my boat, as far as overall performance and handling goes. If all that mattered was how much horsepower and torque you could cram in under the hood, one of my childhood buddies with his old souped up Buick would embarass the best from AMG (or Ferrari, for that matter), with low 10 second 1/4 mile runs. That didn't impress me that much in 1976, so it's sure not what I'm looking for in 2006.

    I'll grant you that AMG has always been a more luxury oriented, less true "sport" oriented tuner. The old 300 SEL 6.3 was a very impressive car for its day. But I think they have taken their recent efforts to the extreme. They have more AMG models than I can name at this point. And the idea that a slushbox equiped SLK55 "Black Edition" would appeal to anybody other than a posseur with more money than brains is a pitiful statement as to their disconnection with my demographic, however small it might be. That said, I'm quite content with my current 911S and it even sneaks in a back seat to allow my kids to enjoy the ride while the 3/4 ton heavier two seater SL65 sits waiting at a stoplight to show its unidimensional abilities. Hopefully not against a 1970's Buick. ;)
  • I guess there is no accounting for taste but everyone has different likes/dislikes which is why there are so many possibilities out there. I personally have driven almost all of the AMG cars, and M cars. I like both sides, they all are more than fast enough and if you're telling me that you can tell the difference in hundredths of a second then you need to be using that gift. Ill give the transmission for the M cars, they build great transmissions and there is no way anyone can deny that. Also for me, someone who probably isnt going to take his 100 - 200k sports car to a race track, I feel like the suspension in the M cars can be abit rough/stiff but thats what you want if you are into track days.

    I am kind of disappointed in M Technik, they have cut themselves and BMW enthusiasts short. They do not offer a M 7 series, for reasons I dont know. I understand that they have the 760il, and thats all and great but I would like to see a 7 series with M upgrades. I also liked the 3 series M sedan, the E36, however they have also stopped making the 4 door 3 series M car. I think M Technik should take a lesson from AMG and start offering options/upgrades for all BMW models. I like the AMG idea because it allows customers to have a unique performance vehicle in whatever model they like best. I personally like the M3 to no end, I fell in love with the E36 car and have been a fan ever since and when I found out they would not be making a E46 sedan M car I felt letdown.

    I cant knock the M cars because I do like them so much, but I appreciate the great craftsmanship of both M and AMG cars. I also give AMG a lot of credit for what they've inspired in the aftermarket tuner community. Look at BRABUS and Kleemann, 2 Mercedes-Benz tuners who have battled back and forth creating the Worlds Fastest Sedan. Each tuner builds upon the base AMG engines. BRABUS recently built the 6.3 liter bi-turbo V12, that puts out 730hp and 1,100nm at 1,750 rpm (the torque is limited electronically) which was put into a W221 S class and is now the Worlds Fastest Sedan. And you've got to give Kleemann credit being the first to ever incorporate the intake manifold, kompressor, and intercooler into 1 integral unit.

    Like I said, its all in what you like. I personally like both cars and think lots of credit should be given to each company. The AMG cars are more focused on luxury and street driving experience, while the M cars are more focused on suspension, transmission and on the whole a great daily driver that can also be taken to the track on a weekend and kick some [non-permissible content removed]. I appreciate your opinion, Thanks. Joshua

    Now you cant make fun of AMG for stuffing a huge engine
  • benztuner,

    I am not an expert in this area, but in response to "I would like to see a 7 series with M upgrades" I read where BMW recently announced the Alpina B7 (Detroit Auto Show?). They were not claiming its an M, but maybe its an AMG type car.

  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I apologize for getting this forum off track on a debate of AMG vs. M cars. It wasn't really my intent, but I got carried away responding to a post that indicated that neither M nor AMG cars have good resale value. I respectfully disagree, with the previous point that M cars have retained much more exclusivity and appeal to serious enthusiasts, whereas AMG cars have become a dime a dozen and base almost all of their differentiation on quantity of horsepower. As for..

    "The AMG cars are more focused on luxury and street driving experience, while the M cars are more focused on suspension, transmission and on the whole a great daily driver that can also be taken to the track on a weekend and kick some [non-permissible content removed]."

    I see your point, but don't think its quite that clear cut. When I was seriously considering the C32 and M3, I would have said the AMG doesn't focus on the "street driving experience" at least as far as streets that have curves. It might have been a blast to floor at a stoplight, just hold onto the wheel and not worry about shifting, but after one or two of those, I was bored. The M3 was a pleasure to drive in all road conditions except maybe serious potholes, thanks to its handling and overall driving dynamics. I wouldn't have felt deprived if I got an M3 and never made it to the track.

    A friend of mine bought an SL600 last year. When I asked him why he didn't get an SL55 or SL65, he claimed the former was too "commonplace" and the latter was "too over the top in horsepower, without the luxury feel and smoothness of the SL600". He also said that if he wanted a real sports car, he would have gotten a 911S like I did and not have to catch grief from his kids that they can ride in my car but not his! ;)

    But you are right, that there are many alternatives out there and one could do a lot worse than an AMG.
  • davidc1davidc1 Posts: 168
    I don't see the need to pay 10k more for 550 when 535 with 6-speed is just as good.
  • atlm5atlm5 Posts: 4
    Most M5 owners have the car fully loded(like me), the price is about 97k. I don't see the gap that is closing you are talking about. The 550i has a 360hp V-8 and the M5 a 507hp V-10. The 550i is a mid sized luxury sedan. The M5 is a luxury super sedan that rivals some exotics in terms of speed.
  • atlm5atlm5 Posts: 4
    It seems everyone here is getting their facts wrong about the M5. You can set the idrive once so when you press the m button everything is set to its best.
  • atlm5atlm5 Posts: 4
    Mercs have terrible handeling also.
  • atlm5atlm5 Posts: 4
    550i 0-60 5.5 1/4 mile 13.8
    M5 0-60 4.3 1/4 mile 12.6
  • If all you are considering is a 0 - 60 time then choose the 535i, but the 550i and the 535i are two different animals! Take the time to study the difference, not just numbers. Look at the two sport pkgs., the short-throw gear box in the 550i, the 19" wheels, not to mention what comes on the 550i as standard vs. options on the 535i. You will be surprised, I know I was... which is why I cancelled my order for a 535i and drove off the lot in a fully loaded '08 550i for under $2,500 over what the 535i with options would have cost me. The torque and feel of the 550i is something to behold. Life is good... :shades:
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    So is a brand new leftover 2007 550i 6-speed with an MSRP of $70k for $61k ($9,000 off) a good deal?

    I'm not really in the market, but they are tempting me with that price AND willing to give me close to retail value on my 2004 TL 6-speed in trade. I'm supposed to test drive this afternoon if I can get away from the office.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    550i 0-60 5.5 1/4 mile 13.8
    M5 0-60 4.3 1/4 mile 12.6

    Not sure what source those numbers come from, but they don't make "relative" sense. Think about it, if the 550i takes 1.2 seconds longer 0-60 than the M5, but is only 1.2 seconds slower in the 1/4 mile, then the 550i would be just as fast as the M5 from 60 to 1/4 mile (110-120 mph).

    My buttmeter (comparing cars to my own 911S) is that the difference between the M5 and 550 to 60 mph is nowhere near 1.2 seconds, unless that M5 time was with an SMG with some form of "launch assist" (similar to 911 Turbo Tiptronic) that spools the engine up to 5,000+ rpm before doing a mechanical clutch dump. Frankly, that's techno crap that has little to do with real world driving, unless your are a stop light drag racing red neck. The M5 is definitely quicker than the 550i, but most of that speed advantage comes well after 60 mph, not before. At least when all the cars are equiped with a proper 6-speed manual transmission. The M5, 550i and even little 335i all have 300 - 380 ft. lbs of torque and, given their respective weights, are about the same torque/weight ratio.

    If stoplight drag racing in an automatic/SMG is your thing, then the E63 or CLS65 with 500-740 ft. lbs of torque are much better suited to testosterone enhancement. But BMW's and M cars generally appeal to a higher standard of driving dynamics than the straight line.
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,926
    Do it! You WON'T be sorry. ;)
  • "If stoplight drag racing in an automatic/SMG is your thing, then the E63 or CLS65 with 500-740 ft. lbs of torque are much better suited to testosterone enhancement. But BMW's and M cars generally appeal to a higher standard of driving dynamics than the straight line."

    Very well stated habitat! :shades:
  • davidc1davidc1 Posts: 168
    I didn't think manual 5 series were easy to find. I thought they had to be ordered. I now think 550 6-speed makes a lot of sense.
  • tayl0rdtayl0rd Posts: 1,926
    It's extremely rare to just stroll onto a dealer lot and find a manual 5-series, much less a manual V8 5-series. Check out the last page or so of the "BMW 5-series Sedans" board to see my shock and excitement to see a manual 550i just sitting there on the lot. I subsequently bought it the following week. I was a sucker. Outside of an M5, I can't recall having ever in my life seen a manual 5-series.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    Hmmm, that's odd, prior to buying my 1999 328i and again before I bought my 2002 530i, I was able to take a test drive in a 5er with a stick, both dealers had several on the lot. Go figure.

    Best Regards,
  • I was looking about a year ago and all dealer models were autos with navigation. Two "features" I definitely was not going to pay extra for.
  • It's extremely rare to just stroll onto a dealer lot and find a manual 5-series, much less a manual V8 5-series.

    The dealership I bought my 6 spd '08 550i from here in Houston has several 5 series manuals, including the 550i, on the lot... including a M5 manual they will sell at dealer cost... $90,000. They also have an Alpina B7 that is only 6 months old for 90 something. :)
  • I am kind of disappointed in M Technik, they have cut themselves and BMW enthusiasts short. They do not offer a M 7 series, for reasons I dont know. I understand that they have the 760il, and thats all and great but I would like to see a 7 series with M upgrades.

    I think the Alpina B7 is pretty close what would be a M 7. BMW leaves the fast and furious to the 3, 5 & 6 Series (6 being questionable because of the wt.) and the 7 Series is more about handling and luxury. They are real serious at BMW not to stuff a large motor with a massive amount of torque and HP into a vehicle without a near perfect balance to handle the vehicle in more situations that straight line acceration. One's driving preferences and personal feel would be the decision maker here. Different strokes for different folks. :shades:
  • mkp6ermkp6er Posts: 9
    I have a dealer offering me a fully loaded M5 for $350 over invoice. Is this a good deal?
  • IMO the 550i with the Sport Pkg. and 6MT is perfectly positioned. It has 360 HP/360 lb. torque which gives it plenty of power in any situation. Plus it is refined enough to use as a daily driver, even with the 6MT. The M5 was designed for the AT and is a bit rough with a manual. Also, in times when you feel a little conservative if you shift at around 2,500 RPMs and maintain your speed at 70 MPH it has been my experience to achieve 17/18 city & 26/27 on the hwy. Personally I feel that is a really nice balance. Unless you plan on tacking an M5 on the track then why spend the money on the initial purchase, the gas consumption of 13 city & 15 hwy, plus the additional insurance cost?

    The M5 is an awesome car... NO DOUBT! It just didn't make sense for me. I did not lease my '08 550i and plan on keeping it for some time, had I wanted a lease perhaps I would have gotten the M5 instead and just enjoyed the hell out of it while I had it. Guess you would need to examine your purpose in getting the car, if you are going to lease or buy and how you plan on using it.

    Good luck... either way you are in for a good time! :shades:
  • mkp6er,

    I don't remember whether it was an announcement, or rumor, but I have read BMW is going to apply the twin turbo design to the M5's V-10 engine to produce 600 hp. Have not read anything about when that might happen, but if the M5 TT info is correct, then maybe the dealers are trying to unload the current M5.

  • I recently got a 550i and when I was shopping, the salesman asked me if I were interested in an M5 that he had in stock. It seems that until recently, M5s and other M cars were in short supply and had to be ordered. My guess is that now with the "normal" non-M cars being so powerful, (550i, 335i etc) the gap in performance has shrunk. If you factor in the truly low gas mileage of the M5, perhaps people are having some second thoughts about how much they are paying for how little extra performance. As for me, I couldn't even be tempted to test drive it because I was uncomfortable with the low mpg. I am sure it's a truly great car and whoever gets one will really enjoy it. The fact that they are relatively rare is also alluring. It's one of the great "speed" cars available and probably a good price value relationship when compared to the exotic market where its performance numbers will, no doubt, compete.
    My 550i has more performance capability than I could possibly experience on the street and I am very happy with my selection.
This discussion has been closed.