The German luxury car brand used the Frankfurt Motor Show to announce it would roll out a version of its 5 Series Touring in Europe using the most powerful diesel engine it has ever produced, an impressively numbered 294kW/760Nm 3.0-litre inline-six unit with four turbochargers strapped to it. The BMW M550d Touring xDrive – its torque figure alone shadows that of the just-revealed halo M5 sedan – will sprint from 0-100km/h in just 4.6 seconds, but sip a miserly hatchback-rivalling amount of fuel.
It’s that level of performance that has piqued BMW Australia’s interest in adding more xDrive-badged all-wheel-drive models to the only other traditional passenger cars that feature the technology – the upcoming 441kW V8-engined M5, and the long-wheelbase 448kW V12-engined M760Li that’s already in local showrooms.
“Traditionally we’ve seen xDrive M Performance passenger vehicles on offer in left-hand drive form only,” BMW Australia spokesman Adam Davis told Wheels. “xDrive has traditionally been available in markets that really benefit from the enhanced traction on offer. Having little snow and ice, our market demand for xDrive has been quite small.
“This is changing as our passenger vehicles and systems become ever more powerful and dynamic, to a point where it is making sense to introduce M and M Performance vehicles with all-wheel drive systems,” he said.
“The M760Li was a pioneer in this field, and the upcoming M5 furthers this movement with a rear-biased active system that still allows rear-drive when the driver demands it.”
To give the M550d Touring a bit of bark to match its bite, BMW has added active steering, an M aerodynamic package, M-sports suspension lowered by 10mm, sports brakes, and 19-inch M light-alloy wheels with mixed tyres.
Unlike the sedan version, the M550d Touring doesn’t yet appear to have a petrol-powered rival. The M550i xDrive sedan uses a 340kW petrol-powered V8, which BMW claims will beat its four-doored diesel brother to 100km/h with a 4.0 second run.