BMW claims its new M550d xDrive houses “the world’s most powerful six-cylinder diesel engine in the automotive area”.
It will be no surprise to many that a company with a strong history of performance in-line sixes could extract 294kW from one. The four turbochargers found attached to it could go some way to explaining how BMW achieved this feat.
The M550d also boasts more 80 more Newton metres of torque than the current M5 at 760Nm. With these figures, BMW claims the M550d’s 0-100km/h time is just 0.2 seconds slower than the current (but ageing) M5.
BMW’s decision to add an extra turbo to its performance diesel was made in an effort to improve engine responsiveness.
Instead of one large low-pressure turbo, two smaller (and more responsive) turbos take its place.
“This means torque is available early on and increases rapidly. A torque of more than 450Nm goes on stream at just 1000rpm,” the company says.
“The two low-pressure turbochargers and one of the two high-pressure chargers are permanently powered during travel.”
“The second high-pressure turbocharger is only added at engine speeds of over 2500rpm.”
To give the M550d a bit of bark to match its bite, BMW added an M aerodynamic package, M-sports suspension lowered by 10mm, and 19-inch M light-alloy wheels with mixed tyres.
If you’ve got a diesel-phobia, worry not. BMW have also announced the M550i xDrive, a 340kW petrol-powered V8, which BMW claims will beat both its diesel brother and the M5 to 100km/h with a 4.0 second run.
Initial word from Munich is that there are no plans to send them here, but BMW Australia says it will try to bring some in if it becomes available.