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BMW 5-Series (G30) Forum 2017+ BMW 5 Series (G30) General Discussions M550i or M340i?

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      03-27-2019, 08:44 PM   #1
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M550i or M340i?

I've been on the fence lately as to which of these cars I like better. I like them both for different reasons and I can't decide which I would be happier with for my next car. The current M550i seems to have more luxury and plushness with its build quality and materials used around the cabin. It has less textured plastic around the center console and more soft touch and stitched material throughout. The current tech is very good but may not be the absolute greatest or latest. (e.g.- "only idrive 6.0 and not the latest digital cluster in the g20 and new x5). However, whatever it may slightly lack here makes up with the sweet v8 which with Dinan you get around 600hp. The m550i is more subtle and bland looking at stock, but can be made to look m5ish with mods and look awesome.

The m340i is going to be the most modern with the latest tech including digital cockpit, drive 7, remote start, etc. The car is sportier looking and is still very fast with its I6, but not like the m550i. The interior is a little less luxurious, and less plush with more hard plastics used throughout. Particularly what bugs me is the hard plastic used around the lower sides/sides of the center console that your knee and thighs touch. Its hard cheap plastic and not soft touch material. This annoys me to no end. With full merino interior, that fixes alot of the cabin's plushness, but still doesn't fix the hard plastic around the lower center console. Why didn't they use a nicer squishier soft touch.

what do you think?
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      03-27-2019, 09:06 PM   #2
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540 for me actually I don't see myself needing 550 kind of power, if 340 interior quality is better I might considered it, size wise g20 3 series is almost as big as E39 5 series so probably big enough me, just wish they would have better interior in 3 series.

Ps and of course i wouldn't complain if they can somehow upgrade my 540 engine to same hp as 340...
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      03-27-2019, 11:21 PM   #3
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Just ordered my 540, M550 is a beast I would love to drive. But for daily driving. I gotta have something more tamed lol.

I prefer the new 3 series way more than the current Gen, between 540/340 I went 540.
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      03-28-2019, 01:37 AM   #4
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Donít look at iDrive 6 as being outdated compared to idrive 7. It is older, but it is also a much better design. Aside from the countless bugs drivers are experiencing with iDrive 7 (see the x5 forum), itís just a poor design and unintuitive wheras idrive 6 is excellent. The digital instrument cluster serves little purpose other than for BMWís marketing team to say they have a fully digital instrument cluster to compete with Audiís virtual cockpit. The BMW digital cluster in the 3 series is ugly, hard to read and doesnít present the driver with the right information. The cluster in the G30 5 is better

Aside from the electronics, how the car drives is another big difference. The 3 will be much more tossable than the 5 and feel more sporty. The 5 has a more planted stable feeling, but lacks in steering feel and driver engagement. Do you prefer sport or luxury?

Personally Iíd go for the refinement of the 5 over the sportiness of the 3 for a daily driver. And definitely 540 not 550. The 540 has more than enough power for a sporty luxury car and weighs much less than the 550 so it feels better and gets much better fuel mileage. The 550 strikes me as pointless as putting a larger engine in an car thatís not engaging to drive doesnít make it anymore engaging. 540 is the perfect balance
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      03-28-2019, 02:34 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssquared View Post
Don’t look at iDrive 6 as being outdated compared to idrive 7. It is older, but it is also a much better design. Aside from the countless bugs drivers are experiencing with iDrive 7 (see the x5 forum), it’s just a poor design and unintuitive wheras idrive 6 is excellent. The digital instrument cluster serves little purpose other than for BMW’s marketing team to say they have a fully digital instrument cluster to compete with Audi’s virtual cockpit. The BMW digital cluster in the 3 series is ugly, hard to read and doesn’t present the driver with the right information. The cluster in the G30 5 is better

Aside from the electronics, how the car drives is another big difference. The 3 will be much more tossable than the 5 and feel more sporty. The 5 has a more planted stable feeling, but lacks in steering feel and driver engagement. Do you prefer sport or luxury?

Personally I’d go for the refinement of the 5 over the sportiness of the 3 for a daily driver. And definitely 540 not 550. The 540 has more than enough power for a sporty luxury car and weighs much less than the 550 so it feels better and gets much better fuel mileage. The 550 strikes me as pointless as putting a larger engine in an car that’s not engaging to drive doesn’t make it anymore engaging. 540 is the perfect balance
I agree with a lot of what you said but to say the M550i is less engaging is completely false.

The raw power of the V8 even in comfort mode is amazing and acceleration is silky smooth.

In sport+ the suspension becomes tight and responsive. The car feels much lighter than it is.

On top of that consumer and professional reviews of the M550i are higher than the 540.

Honestly, I'd take the 340 over the 540. But I think the M550i tops them both.
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      03-28-2019, 06:21 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drjolokia View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssquared View Post
Don't look at iDrive 6 as being outdated compared to idrive 7. It is older, but it is also a much better design. Aside from the countless bugs drivers are experiencing with iDrive 7 (see the x5 forum), it's just a poor design and unintuitive wheras idrive 6 is excellent. The digital instrument cluster serves little purpose other than for BMW's marketing team to say they have a fully digital instrument cluster to compete with Audi's virtual cockpit. The BMW digital cluster in the 3 series is ugly, hard to read and doesn't present the driver with the right information. The cluster in the G30 5 is better

Aside from the electronics, how the car drives is another big difference. The 3 will be much more tossable than the 5 and feel more sporty. The 5 has a more planted stable feeling, but lacks in steering feel and driver engagement. Do you prefer sport or luxury?

Personally I'd go for the refinement of the 5 over the sportiness of the 3 for a daily driver. And definitely 540 not 550. The 540 has more than enough power for a sporty luxury car and weighs much less than the 550 so it feels better and gets much better fuel mileage. The 550 strikes me as pointless as putting a larger engine in an car that's not engaging to drive doesn't make it anymore engaging. 540 is the perfect balance
I agree with a lot of what you said but to say the M550i is less engaging is completely false.

The raw power of the V8 even in comfort mode is amazing and acceleration is silky smooth.

In sport+ the suspension becomes tight and responsive. The car feels much lighter than it is.

On top of that consumer and professional reviews of the M550i are higher than the 540.

Honestly, I'd take the 340 over the 540. But I think the M550i tops them both.
Ditto! M550 is one bad*ss automobile.
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      03-28-2019, 06:48 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by drjolokia View Post
I agree with a lot of what you said but to say the M550i is less engaging is completely false.

The raw power of the V8 even in comfort mode is amazing and acceleration is silky smooth.

In sport+ the suspension becomes tight and responsive. The car feels much lighter than it is.

On top of that consumer and professional reviews of the M550i are higher than the 540.

Honestly, I'd take the 340 over the 540. But I think the M550i tops them both.
Another Ditto! The M550i probably won't be as tossable as the M340i (it is a bigger car), but it is more planted than the 540i - sorry all you M550i-haters, the numbers don't lie.

For me, the decision was between an M3 or the M550i. With a kid, I wanted a bit more room in the back seat, so that meant 5-series. When she's off to college, I'll probably be looking in the M2/M4 arena.
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      03-28-2019, 08:14 AM   #8
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don't think anyone can deny the acceleration capability and power on 550, but if I truly want dynamic (outside power) in that range I would go for M5 Comp (which of course cost more, and also I assume rides a bit rougher)
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      03-28-2019, 11:24 AM   #9
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One thing about the 5 series, including the M550i that I've owned for about 15 months, is that there is a lot of plastic in the car (not as much as the 3 series for sure). And it snaps crackles and pops all the time: driving over bumps, and especially when there are temperature changes (like blasting the AC on a hot day, or blasting the heat on a cold day). It's the only thing I've been disappointed in about the 5 series. BMW has gotten a bit cheap there.
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      03-28-2019, 11:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LexProf View Post
One thing about the 5 series, including the M550i that I've owned for about 15 months, is that there is a lot of plastic in the car (not as much as the 3 series for sure). And it snaps crackles and pops all the time: driving over bumps, and especially when there are temperature changes (like blasting the AC on a hot day, or blasting the heat on a cold day). It's the only thing I've been disappointed in about the 5 series. BMW has gotten a bit cheap there.
When you mean lots of plastic do you mean soft touch or hard plastic? I think this could be remedied with a full Merino interior but that requires BMW individual which is custom as a brand new order and $$$ or find it on a used car which will be rare. I think some people have said with the right trim (open pore wood) and nappa leather along with leather dash which includes leather on upper dash and door tops which is thought to be a good compromise.

Hard plastic anywhere except door bottoms should be illegal in a 5 series
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      03-28-2019, 11:56 AM   #11
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I couldn't see myself getting a 3 series after having the 550 but I bet my right foot wouldn't get me in as much trouble in the 3. It takes control sometimes
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      03-28-2019, 11:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssquared View Post
The 540 has more than enough power for a sporty luxury car and weighs much less than the 550 so it feels better and gets much better fuel mileage. The 550 strikes me as pointless as putting a larger engine in an car thatís not engaging to drive doesnít make it anymore engaging.
Both are excellent cars, but the M550 is far from pointless. I will assume you have not spent much time behind the wheel of one - it is more than the sum of it's parts. The M550 is not simply a big engine stuffed into a bland car. The 300 pound weight difference is more then offset by the increase in power. In reality, both cars are more than anyone really needs - but the M550 ticks a lot of boxes for a 500HP+, leather wrapped 4 door sedan that can run with most any street car it meets.
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      03-28-2019, 12:08 PM   #13
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Both are excellent cars, but the M550 is far from pointless. I will assume you have not spent much time behind the wheel of one - it is more than the sum of it's parts. The M550 is not simply a big engine stuffed into a bland car. The 300 pound weight difference is more then offset by the increase in power. In reality, both cars are more than anyone really needs - but the M550 ticks a lot of boxes for a 500HP+, leather wrapped 4 door sedan that can run with most any street car it meets.
Understand what your saying, but to me the M550 is a bland car and lacks the agility and engagement Iíd expect out of a sporty vehicle. Given itís size, thatís certainly to be expected and I guess thatís why I donít see the point of going with 550 over the 540.

The way the 5 series is ultimately going to be driven (commuting, long road trips etc) does not really warrant the extra power. Itís too big of a car to take to the canyons and nobody in the right mind would track it because itís too big and frankly isnít fun to drive.

The 550 is a great car and is more capable than a 540, but itís not more fun. I donít consider quicker acceleration all that much more exciting. If it had better steering feel then Iíd be more inclined to get a 550 over a 540, but both of them are fairly bland driving vehicles.

Personally for my daily driver I went with a G30 530i M-Sport with most of the options checked. I test drive the 540 and 550 several times but I commute in heavy traffic and the extra power would not be beneficial. Moving from the 530 to the 540 is probably a bigger step up in refinement than going from 540 to 550 so in retrospect, maybe I should have done the 540 for the added smoothness even though I didnít need the extra power.

If I want to have fun though, a 550 really doesnít cut it. My e36 M3 is a much better fun car, as is the M2 comp. if I wanted a 5 series and it had to be fun, the M5 is a significant leap over the 550 in driver engagement. While you can get an m550 to m5 power levels, the suspension and steering in the m5 are on a completely different level and actually makes the car feel like an engaging vehicle.

Aside from all of that which is subjective, the 550 suffers BMWs notorious issues with the V8. Its a car Iíd only feel comfortable leasing whereas the 540 is a car Iíd feel comfortable owning.
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      03-28-2019, 12:20 PM   #14
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I think 550 is a bit BMW's take on what Alpina B5 would have done without go in M5 territory (or just MB E53), which is awesome, but just a different kind of car than 340.

For 340 I'm not sure if you can spec it as nicely as 5 series, if you could I can see myself picking 340 over 540 (i.e. 340 is E39 5 series big, which is big enough, and smaller car is general more toss able)
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      03-28-2019, 12:37 PM   #15
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I think 550 is a bit BMW's take on what Alpina B5 would have done without go in M5 territory (or just MB E53), which is awesome, but just a different kind of car than 340.

For 340 I'm not sure if you can spec it as nicely as 5 series, if you could I can see myself picking 340 over 540 (i.e. 340 is E39 5 series big, which is big enough, and smaller car is general more toss able)
Iíve had my 5 for 1.5 years and have sat in the 330 m sport a few times. The lower quality interior is definitely apparent but I think the full merino option in the 3 with leather dash would go a long way towards bridging the gap
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      03-28-2019, 05:38 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drjolokia View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssquared View Post
Don't look at iDrive 6 as being outdated compared to idrive 7. It is older, but it is also a much better design. Aside from the countless bugs drivers are experiencing with iDrive 7 (see the x5 forum), it's just a poor design and unintuitive wheras idrive 6 is excellent. The digital instrument cluster serves little purpose other than for BMW's marketing team to say they have a fully digital instrument cluster to compete with Audi's virtual cockpit. The BMW digital cluster in the 3 series is ugly, hard to read and doesn't present the driver with the right information. The cluster in the G30 5 is better

Aside from the electronics, how the car drives is another big difference. The 3 will be much more tossable than the 5 and feel more sporty. The 5 has a more planted stable feeling, but lacks in steering feel and driver engagement. Do you prefer sport or luxury?

Personally I'd go for the refinement of the 5 over the sportiness of the 3 for a daily driver. And definitely 540 not 550. The 540 has more than enough power for a sporty luxury car and weighs much less than the 550 so it feels better and gets much better fuel mileage. The 550 strikes me as pointless as putting a larger engine in an car that's not engaging to drive doesn't make it anymore engaging. 540 is the perfect balance
I agree with a lot of what you said but to say the M550i is less engaging is completely false.

The raw power of the V8 even in comfort mode is amazing and acceleration is silky smooth.

In sport+ the suspension becomes tight and responsive. The car feels much lighter than it is.

On top of that consumer and professional reviews of the M550i are higher than the 540.

Honestly, I'd take the 340 over the 540. But I think the M550i tops them both.
M550i all day every day. There's not a day that goes by that I regret purchasing my vehicle.
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      03-28-2019, 08:12 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by VirtualGuitars View Post
M550i all day every day. There's not a day that goes by that I regret purchasing my vehicle.

Totlally agree. Most people on the forums putting down the M550 have a 540 or 530. Sounds like rationalization of their choice to me
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      03-28-2019, 09:32 PM   #18
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Iíve had my 5 for 1.5 years and have sat in the 330 m sport a few times. The lower quality interior is definitely apparent but I think the full merino option in the 3 with leather dash would go a long way towards bridging the gap
I agree with the full Merino interior for the 3 series bridging the Gap, but according to pictures at the auto shows, the full Merino still doesn't cover the sides of the lower center console by your knee, thigh, and up around the arm rest area which is still hard cheap ass plastic. It's not even squishy soft touch which would have made all the difference. Why wouldnt the full merino cover that while area like the merino does in the 5? I thought "full" merino is suppose to be full. They covered 80% of areas with leather and then stopped, why? Is it so that it doesn't have an opportunity to match the merino coverage of 5 series to purposely be a level below?
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      03-28-2019, 10:47 PM   #19
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I've had a car in the 3-series, C-class, A4 range with various performance levels for most of my driving years, and I finally stepped it up to the M550i last month. I grew tired of the lesser build quality, rattles, wind noise, etc in the lower class cars, and the M550i has truly satisfied.

No, it is not as tossable as the smaller cars were and not as twitchy as my C450, but once you engage that engine it propels you into danger territory and just wants to keep going. All the while, its quiet, comfortable, and luxurious. Sometimes its doesn't feel fast until you look at the speedometer. This is the first car I have actually wanted to drive in comfort mode.

If you can afford the M550i over the 340, go for it. You'll be glad you did.
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      03-29-2019, 01:45 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutt1113 View Post
When you mean lots of plastic do you mean soft touch or hard plastic? I think this could be remedied with a full Merino interior but that requires BMW individual which is custom as a brand new order and $$$ or find it on a used car which will be rare. I think some people have said with the right trim (open pore wood) and nappa leather along with leather dash which includes leather on upper dash and door tops which is thought to be a good compromise.

Hard plastic anywhere except door bottoms should be illegal in a 5 series
There is hard plastic in the center console, metal looking trim bits that I suspect are plastic, and the area around the shifter contains hard plastic (partly). My E90 M3 had better plastic bits than my M550i. But the M550 is otherwise totally awesome. Just sit in a M500i if you can and check out all the plastic bits. I don't think full leather will remove the plastic, and just know that the plastic bits snap and crackle.
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      03-29-2019, 05:50 AM   #21
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There is hard plastic in the center console, metal looking trim bits that I suspect are plastic, and the area around the shifter contains hard plastic (partly). My E90 M3 had better plastic bits than my M550i. But the M550 is otherwise totally awesome. Just sit in a M500i if you can and check out all the plastic bits. I don't think full leather will remove the plastic, and just know that the plastic bits snap and crackle.
The only ďsnaps and cracklesĒ I get on my G30 are on a hot or cold day first getting into the car and turning on the A/C or heat. Other than that I have absolutely no rattles or creaks or anything even on poor roads.

The creaking with the change in temp is a known issue attributed to the plastic center HVAC vent behind the nav screen. This shouldnít be an issue in 2019 models and bmW has a fix for earlier models.
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      03-29-2019, 06:21 AM   #22
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You talk about the fit and finish of the car and the electronics but what will be using the car for? Do you need to carry a family regularly and do you need boot (trunk) space to match? If so then the 5 Series is for you. Start with the practicalities of the car and once you have that side of things sorted look at the fit and finish which is always going to be superior in the 5. That's just how BMW rumbles to distinguish their more expensive models.

In the US your speed limits are quite often restricted to 60mph on the motorways so why would anyone need the gas guzzler M550i engined beast? Ok if there is money to be thrown at it fine but the 540i is a great engined car.
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