Vehicle attributes were once strictly defined by segment: a luxury car was comfortable, an off-road vehicle was durable and a performance car was fast. Car buying was certainly simpler, but you needed a fleet to span the range of functionality. These days, the mass market is a blur of hybridized vehicles (and I don’t mean gas-electric powertrains). Consumers want efficiency, versatility, reliability, comfort — just about everything, really — all baked into a single car. On paper, everyone should buy a crossover (and many people do), but the problem with do-it-all vehicles is that they don’t always do any one thing that well.
The sedan, and specifically the performance sedan, still has its place in the world. With a lower center of gravity and coefficient of drag than an SUV, passenger cars inherently handle better and ride more quietly than lifted vehicles. Among the current crop of performance sedans, the mid-size 2018 BMW M550i xDrive looks to have the right mix of agility, luxury and tech. Here’s what we learned after spending a week with Bavaria’s V8 bruiser.