So we got a 2011 BMW 550i

So we got a 2011 BMW 550i

We’d been asking for a round with the new BMW 5-Series ever since it was launched last year. We weren’t invited to two launch events for the car. We asked for this specific car only five times since we saw it on the cover of the now-defunct CAR Middle East in October 2010, and many other feeble magazines since then. Even a relatively-new website called Crank & Piston got a round with it for a month. We’ve been told before that we “don’t fit the criteria” for interacting with certain European luxury brands, but this is ridiculous. However, now with 30,000 km on the clock, we finally have it.

The BMW 550i is the definition of the perfect midsize sedan. The shape is flawless, and the styling details are not controversial in any way. And that’s exactly what makes it boring compared to the previous-generation creations of designer Chris Bangle. The older model was slightly weird, but at least it was unique and characterful.

Of course, once you step inside, it is all familiar BMW, nothing new, but then you don’t really complain about it, because the materials and gadgets are in a class of their own.

The 550i is not exactly spacious in the back seat for a midsizer, but that just means the boot is bigger. Much bigger.

What really struck us is how mean the 550i behaves, sort of like a muscle car, but with the smoothness of a traditional luxury car. The traction control works overtime with all that turbocharged torque, but more on that in the upcoming full review.

What do you think?



  1. Hey Mash,

    Any idea why Car Middle East would shut shop?I coincidentaly bought the last edition and while going through the editorial i realised that this had happened.

    I understand sales could be low in that case i always felt EVO had lesser sales inspit of having better articles but mostly of cars that never sold here.

    Inspite of Wheels having maximum attack due to their 4 issues/month ,its not a true car mag ,more like the trailer of the latest blockbuster.

  2. I wish some buys a BMW after reading this review. It would like *on their face*. 😀

  3. ill never pay 365k for this car

  4. Hey, don’t say anythig bad about this car. Its perfect!

  5. If I’m paying 365K, then I would be able to pay 400K, so I would opt for the new CLS 500

  6. Wait what…the booth has those tiida inspired hinges??

  7. Option # 1

    365k..= 1 BMW

    Option # 2
    3 basic Ford mustangs = AED 100k
    one kia optima…… = AED 65k

    Smart people go for option # 2 put on rent and it finance the BMW + option 2 cars..

    • I’d always go for option 1. Coz u see u might think you’re smart. But in the end the guy who chooses option 1 is driving a BMW 550, and ur the guy with a rental fleet !! The question is : Do u love cars? If you do, what do you want to save money for in your life, by chosing option 2 , if not to spend on your passion, i.e premium cars? If you dont love cars. I’d say just spending 65k for a kia optima is gud enuff, buy a house with the rest.

    • Well not really.. I love cars and I can get alot more excitement and driving experience for 1/3 the price..
      Some people like premium luxury maybe this is the car for them..
      Others like raw and primitive performance they go for a car 1/3 the price, like a mustang.. I think it is an over-done car… I would chose to buy a proper performance sports car or a proper luxury barge… This one is one expensive and over-priced luxury..

    • I cannot buy a option 1 and I do not own a house, I earn 300 plus a year, just can’t figure out where the money is going to.

    • I would never spend so much money on a car, esp. if I have to take a big loan from the bank. We are here to save money. As expats we can lose our jobs anyday. I dont want to live for years in Dubai and then leave with not a penny in my pocket.

      I am in my 30s. I have enough time to own a premium car. For now I am more than happy with my 2006 Audi A4 2.0 T which i bought for 50,000 AED

  8. PS

    3 basic Ford mustangs = AED 100k
    100k each

  9. Great car, cant see many people choosing an E Class over this.
    What “criteria” does one need to interact with “European brands”?
    I have a feeling it was forumlated by some bimbo from you know where, the ones trying to show they are more European than Europeans themselves…

    • So whats with this european thing !! LoL. Is it supposed to imply something, if a brand is european?!! I know german ‘CARS’ are gud. Is germany = europe? Citroen is also a european brand. Cant imagine many people interested in their reviews. Luxury brands which are not german, but european??!! Ummm Umm Nah. 🙂

  10. @adiyta

    by renting them out these cars pay for them selves and then one can use the profits to pay for the BMW….

  11. 365k for this beamer? dang
    any idea of the pricing of the 535i?

  12. maybe they say you “don’t fit the criteria” for interacting with certain European luxury brands” because they see how long it takes for your site to be updated in the car buyer guide section. While i am a fan, I have noticed many times over the years that it takes months or close to a year from release for you to put up information about some cars. As an example, the audi A7 came out in March or April and you still dont have it listed, the same goes for Audi A1. You also dont have info about the new mercedes cls listed which was released a while go. You have the audi A8 listed as discontinued???!!!

    • Author

      Most carmakers don’t care anyway whether their car shows up in the guide or not, otherwise I would’ve been asked to update them. I give priority to the more popular cars. As for Audi, who choose to continue a feud with me for the past 5 years, they don’t exist in my book, so I’ll take my time with them.

    • Some more feedback, if ur in the mood to take it.IMO atleast, the used car section in your site is pretty useless and very badly designed, although it looks newly built, but using it is a poor experience. I’m an IT guy, so i know wat to expect.Also, there are far too less reviews and tests on your site than neeeded. The best thing about it, are the discussions that people indulge in. Since your site is not too commercial it has a community touch to it, But most comments are made by the same set of people i.e regular readers. Just my 2 cents.

    • Author

      The used car section right now is outsourced dung. I have a new design hidden somewhere, but I am waiting on something that is too long to discuss.

    • mash, as a fan and a regular of your site I must say it worries me to hear you say; “I give priority to the more popular cars…. they don’t exist in my book…. I’ll take my time with them.”

      How can I or anyone take anything you write seriously then?

    • Author

      Because I actually have an opinion, unlike the magazines which modify their reviews to suit what the advertising manager dictates.

  13. Hey Mash,
    Where is this famous parking lot where you park all the test cars that you get? 🙂

  14. OMG Its the very same car that i had a test drive with a friend of mine who was running a review in it back in May or June’11. It’s an amazing machine for sure. Lucky u bro.

  15. Mash, I think you would better review your web site interface, it looks outdated for a first time viewer, though I am quite used to it.

  16. dam every one is gagging up on mash.. 🙂

    just a suggestion concerning the used car section, would it not be wise to ask people to submit reviews of thier own cars that they have owned for say more than 3 years and you could pick as choose the best ones for posting? in the end of the day it the subject matter that counts… other wise if we just came here for the pictures we could looks at the lame uae car magzines floating around.

    a actual long time owner can provide useful insight that even a skilled car journalist may not be able to provide…

    my 5 dirhams…

    • Author

      You’ll notice that I’ve posted some owner reviews before in this blog, for the Taurus and Mazda6. If it is written well, I post it. Otherwise there are the forums too, for whoever wants to say whatever they want. A reader wrote a review about his Avalon and his problems, and an Al-Futtaim rep even contacted him after seeing it.

  17. What happened to the full review? Did I miss it?

Recent Comments

Browse archives

Share This