Second-rate sedans: BMW M550i vs Mercedes-AMG E53 Estate

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Second-rate sedans: BMW M550i vs Mercedes-AMG E53 Estate


The M550i’s 4.4-liter turbo V8 – an engine closely related to what you’ll find in an M5 competition anyway – absolutely wants nothing you’d never miss while driving on the UK road. It has huge reserves of power and torque, a quietly alluring and cultured V8 exhaust note to complement; and it’s a monstrously fast car.

Ride insulation and ride refinement are very good, although maybe slightly dulled by standard BMW runflat tires. The steering feel is a bit neutered when you steer the car out of center, for the same tire reason I guess; the inflexible sidewalls of runflat tires don’t load and flex quite like a conventional tire would.

However, the 5 Series chassis is really well balanced and the control of its body can be adjusted from cushion and absorbent to tightly linked with the adjustable drive modes. So when you want it to look like a mini-M5, the M550i xDrive can (although more like an older V8-powered “E39”, as you might expect). But it doesn’t have to feel like that when you get back midnight from the airport or on a weekend family getaway to visit Grandma, if you don’t want to. It is, in short, a fast and modern BMW like before; a car which, as a road car, simply offers more.

The Mercedes-AMG E53 has better all-round visibility and a less sunken driving position than the BMW. For the interior ambience, it’s also the most luxurious and technological car, thanks to its dominant side-by-side digital instrument screens and all the chrome and leather accents around the cabin. The driving position of the BMW is better, but that of the Mercedes is almost as comfortable and easier to access.

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