BMW brings long list of updates and a Drive Recorder to its 2020 lineup

The M550i makes a big bang, boosted to 530 hp and 553 lb-ft

2020 BMW 8 Series Convertible
2020 BMW 8 Series Convertible / Image Credit: BMW
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Starting in July, BMW has a heady checklist of improvements coming to its lineup, from the X2 to the 7 Series, from upgraded engines to newly standard features. We'll start with the biggest bang — literally — then work our way up the model lines. Thanks to a revised 4.4-liter V8 featuring a redesigned crankcase and larger turbos, the BMW M550i xDrive will make 530 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. That's an entire breeder's ranch worth of additional power, upping the numbers by 75 horses and 73 lb-ft. That sedan and the M550d xDrive will be available with Laserlight with BMW Selective Beam, neutered in our market, of course.

Sliding back down to the X2 on the ground floor, customers who buy after July will get LED headlights and fog lights standard. Five new wheel designs join the options sheet, as well as two as-yet-unspecified "upholstery variants." The X2 M35i will fit the M Sport braking system standard, those brakes becoming an option on other X2 trims. Screen size on the standard Navigation option grows to 8.8 inches, up from 6.5 inches, while the Navigation Plus screen grows to 10.25 inches, up from 8.8 inches.

In other markets, xDrive AWD will be available on the 320i, 330i, and 330d; it's already an option in the U.S. on our 330i. The press release says the M340i xDrive gets a new inline six-cylinder with 374 hp. If that's true here, it means the model sees a drop of eight horses, and a fractionally slower 0-60 mph time. However, the M Sport differential will come standard, accompanying the already-included M Sport suspension and M Sport brakes. Speaking of which, the rest of the 3 Series sedan range will offer the M Sport suspension and Adaptive M suspension as options. If either is selected, Variable Sport Suspension gets included, too.

The new 330e plug-in hybrid employs a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine and electric motor to produce a total output of 292 hp in XtraBoost mode. Without XtraBoost you're looking at 252 hp and 310 lb-ft. Pure electric range slides into a window between 37 and 41 miles.

Cosmetically, BMW Individual hues Citrine Black metallic, Oxide Grey metallic, Frozen Dark Grey metallic expand the palette, and interior extras grow to include two new BMW Individual Merino leather packages. A BMW Individual Composition themed package combines BMW Individual paint, leather seating and steering wheel, sport seats, and anthracite headliner with light-alloy wheels. The M Sport Individual trim adds sporty edge to exclusivity.

The X3 and X4 add M Sport seats and new trim strips as options. Starting in August those models also get an M Sport Individual option.

Markets that get the 197-hp Z4 sDrive20i will also get a six-speed manual as the standard transmission, the eight-speed Steptronic costing extra.

With the next-gen M3 and M4 on their way, the current M4 coupe and convertible will adopt the M Competition package as standard kit. That means 450 hp for everyone, as well as Adaptive M suspension, Active M Differential, M Sport exhaust, 20-inch M light-alloy wheels, different M seats and BMW Individual high-gloss Shadow Line trim seats. In markets with an upgraded HiFi speaker option, the speakers will come as base spec.

Elsewhere in the 5 Series range, the 530e iPerformance gets a four-horsepower boost to 252 hp, and will offer all-wheel drive. New-generation batteries across the entire BMW PHEV lineup mean more pure EV range. Also for the PHEVs, a new "acoustic protection for pedestrians" creates an "unmistakable sound" when driving on electric power to give notice to sidewalk users.

We're still not sure if an X5 diesel will come to the U.S. The regions that do get oil-burners will see a new base model in the X5 xDrive25d come August. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel makes 231 hp and 332 lb-ft, and is mated to an eight-speed Steptronic. The X5 xDrive45e PHEV produces a total 394 hp with the help of an inline six-cylinder, and has 50 miles of all-electric range.

The X5 goody sheet gets longer in August, adding a Manhattan metallic color, 22-inch M wheels, BMW Individual Alcantara headliner in Anthracite or Ivory White, and BMW Individual high-gloss Shadow Line trim.

Also in August, the X7 cabin puts more super-lush on the menu with a BMW Individual Merino full leather trim option in one of three colors, plus a BMW Individual headliner in Anthracite or Ivory White Alcantara. Outside, buyers get to choose from supplemental colors Manhattan metallic, BMW Individual Tanzanite Blue metallic and Ametrine metallic.

The BMW 8 Series coupe and convertible will throw another engine in the mix, an inline six-cylinder with 340 hp that powers the 840i in either rear-wheel-drive or xDrive flavors. M Sport seats with 3D quilting and contrasting seat belts pad the options sheet, as well as a number of BMW Individual appointments and hues such as Frozen Bluestone metallic, Frozen Brilliant White metallic, Frozen Dark Brown metallic, Frozen Arctic Grey metallic, Frozen Dark Silver, Frozen Cashmere Silver, Pure Metal Silver, Brilliant White metallic, Tanzanite Blue metallic, Aventurine Red metallic and Almandine Brown metallic.

Finally, the BMW Drive Recorder comes in handy for accidents and memories. Using the camera systems devoted to driver assistance features, the Drive Recorder automatically saves 20 seconds of footage after detecting an impact as well as the 20 seconds before the impact. Passengers can turn the system on, too, should they wish to capture the scenery or a section of track driving, but it works the same way as in an accident, recording for 20 seconds after being commanded and automatically saving the 20 seconds before the request was made.

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