2018 BMW M550i xDrive is the flagship offering for the US 5 Series roster image

For the first time BMW’s 5 Series is getting an M550i, serving as the “mild” flagship until the arrival of the proper M5 – much in the way Mercedes delivers an AMG 43 version ahead of the 63 and 63 S.

The flagship 5 Series G30 has a standard all-wheel drive system and the high-performance sedan actually gets the regular biturbo 4.4-liter V8. But for this model, the engine has been massaged for 456 horsepower at 5, 500 rpm and a maximum torque of 480 lb-ft available from 1,800 rpm – hooked to the very familiar eight-speed automatic transmission. The model has lost a great deal of weight compared to the old 5 Series thanks to the new CLAR architecture, so it’s going to nail the 60 mph sprint in less than four seconds – beating by at least two tenths of a second the outgoing M5.

The 2018 model year US version hasn’t been officially presented but we’re betting it will look the same as the European flavor, save for the mandatory side marker lights. It comes with a sporty yet truly evolutionary design, and differentiate from regular versions through the adaptive sport suspension, standard 19-inch wheels or optional 20-inch set, as well as Cerium Grey metallic matte finish on the alloys as well as kidney grille, front air vents, and on the side mirror caps. Pricing should be announced closer to the dealer introduction, set to take place in spring 2017.