Following the launch of the all-electric BMW i5 and its combustion engine variant equipped exclusively with 48-volt mild hybrid technology, two plug-in hybrid models will be added to the range and launched in November 2023 although orders can be placed now.
The eighth generation of the world’s most successful business sedan is characterised by “extremely spontaneous power delivery, clearly increased efficiency and a significantly increased electric range.” The electric motor has been specifically developed for the hybrid drive models and is integrated into the 8-speed Steptronic Sport transmission.
It’s also incredibly efficient and contributes up to 197hp to the maximum power output of the 550e Sedan alongside the 3.0 litre in-line six-cylinder petrol engine for a maximum of 489hp and 700 Nm of torque. This then gives a 0-62mph time of just 4.3 seconds, a maximum speed of 155mph and fully electric range of 49-56 miles.
For comparison, the 530e Sedan receives 184hp power from the electric motor alongside a 2.0 litre in-line four-cylinder petrol engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology for a maximum power output of 299hp and torque of 450Nm. Its top speed is 143mph with a 0-62mph time of 6.3 seconds and a fully electric range of 54-62 miles.
The latest regenerative braking system helps to recover electrical energy during overrun and braking phases whilst the drive control system uses navigation data and information from all sensors of the driver assistance systems to adjust how much of the energy is recuperated according to the current traffic situation.
Meanwhile the high voltage lithium-ion battery has a space-saving arrangement in the underbody which has a positive effect on the vehicle’s centre of gravity but also keeps plenty of space in the luggage compartment, 520 litres to be exact. This is the same as in the purely combustion engine powered models meaning that you don’t have to make a sacrifice on space to choose a greener option.
The maximum charging power of the battery has been doubled compared to the previous models and is now 7.4 kW, so that the high-voltage battery can be charged from 0-100% of its capacity within 3 hours and 15 minutes.
Standard equipment on the plug-hybrid model will include 19 inch light alloy wheels and BMW IconicSounds Electric which provides a special soundscape with every movement of the accelerator pedal. These transparent and spherical sounds were created in a collaboration between the BMW Group and renowned film music composer Hans Zimmer.
The BMW 550e xDrive Sedan also comes as standard with Adaptive Chassis Professional, which includes electronically controlled shock absorbers and a lowered suspension as well as Integral Active Steering. It makes manoeuvring more comfortable, enhances agility at medium speeds and conveys confidence when changing lanes and cornering at higher speeds.
The BMW Interaction Bar combines modern functionality and fascinating design as part of the ambient lighting equipment. The backlit functional unit with crystalline surface structure extends across the entire width of the instrument panel far into the door panels and includes touch-sensitive control panels for controlling ventilation and air conditioning and for activating the hazard warning lights.