BMW originally made a name for itself with high-revving naturally aspirated cars that offered sharp rear-wheel-drive handling, but cars such as this M550i show it’s more than capable of building an ultra-rapid four-wheel-drive car, too. Audi, meanwhile, has excelled at producing turbocharged all-wheel drive rocketships for years… But which is best?
The BMW M550i xDrive saloon steps into the ring with a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 producing 530hp and 750nm. The power is sent to all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic gearbox.
The Audi RS6 estate has a slightly smaller capacity 4.0-litre V8, also with twin-turbos, but tuned to produce an even more impressive 600hp and 800nm of torque. Of course, it comes equipped with quattro all-wheel drive and the obligatory 8-speed automatic gearbox.
BMW fans will probably be jumping up and down in their seats claiming that this is akin to sending in Arsenal’s B-side to take on Chelsea’s best players. And yes, this isn’t the full fat 625hp M5 Competition, but the M550i is definitely no slouch and weighing in at 1915kg, it is a full 160kg lighter than the portly RS6. It also costs a ‘mere’ £71,365 as opposed to the £95,440 Audi.
Then again, the Ingolstadt manufacturer has been building turbocharged all-wheel-drive performance cars for a lot longer than its Bavarian rivals.
Has the underdog BMW bitten off more than it can chew, or does the M-car understudy have what it takes to trump everyone’s favourite performance estate car? There is only one way to find out…
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