There’s been a lot of hubbub lately about the Chevy SS and how it stacks up against BMW’s most famous luxury sedan, the 5 Series. In terms of power, it’s the BMW 550i that stacks up most evenly with the SS, not the M5 as so many tend to use in the comparison.
At first, on paper, one can sort of see the similarities between the two, as both are big sedans with powerful V8 engines and are both rear-wheel drive. However, that’s about where the similarities end. The Chevy SS features a naturally-aspirated big-block 6.2 liter V8, while the BMW uses a 4.4 liter twin-turbocharged V8. The BMW makes 445 hp and the Chevy makes do with just 415 hp.
The Chevy SS is available with either a six-speed automatic or a six-speed manual, while the BMW 550i only has an eight-speed automatic as its gearbox. The Chevy SS has a decent interior, but it’s no where near the level of luxury or fit and finish as you’d get in the 550i. Plus, BMW’s iDrive and various other technologies are vastly superior to anything you’d find in the Chevy. However, the BMW does has a hefty price penalty, as it’s almost $20,000 more to start.
In terms of performance, the BMW’s twin-turbocharged engine and extra power allows it to be faster in a straight line, with a claimed 0-60 mph time of 4.3 seconds compared to the Chevy SS’ 4.6 second time. However, it’s arguable that the Chevy SS is the better handling car, with its magnetic suspension, Brembo brakes and overall performance demeanor. The BMW 550i is very fast and very capable, but excellent handling dynamics aren’t what the 550i is for. The BMW 550i is a luxury car first and foremost, so it’s not really supposed to be able to keep up with the SS on a track. This isn’t the 5 Series of yore.
So the comparison between the two cars, which is getting quite stale by now, is pretty useless as both cars are great in different ways. There’s no doubt that the Chevy SS is a far better car than many people give it credit for. It’s plenty fast, handles great and makes an awesome V8 noise. Sure, it looks like a Chevy Malibu and its interior is a bit crap compared to a 5 Series, but that’s a lot of performance in a four-door package for under $50,000. While the BMW 550i is crazy fast in a straight line for its class and is much more luxurious. So while the Chevy SS may compete more with the E39 BMW 540i or M5, it’s just not meant to compete with this generation 5 Series.
But despite there vast differences, the Chevy SS does offer and interesting value proposal. It sort of gives you the old-school 5 Series experience you’ve probably been missing, but lacks the luxury and refinement of the current-gen 550i. On the other side, the 550i is more expensive and lacks the handling dynamics of the SS, but is much more luxurious, bigger and even faster. So which would you buy?[Source: Autoguide]