BMW 550i Journey – 4 Year Ownership Report

Hi guys and welcome back to the SimpleCarGuy channel. BMW 5 series is one of the most popular luxury sedans on the market and I’ve had the pleasure of owning this one for over 4 years. Welcome to my 4-year ownership journey with the BMW 550i where I will talk about why and how I bought it, problems over the years, some of the mods I’ve done, why I’ve had it for all these years and finally, why I sold it.

WHEN/WHY/HOW I BOUGHT IT:

About 4 and a half years ago I was driving a 2009 BMW 335i Coupe and was looking to upgrade to the BMW 435i M-Sport. It was a logical choice as both were 2 door sport cars with a 3-liter turbo engines, great design and very sexy curves. I visited all dealers in my area as there were practically no second-hand cars at the time and what I found was overpriced coupes that didn’t have the options I wanted and sales people that didn’t seem interested in selling me the car. There was one guy that seemed more interested in talking about cars rather than just trying to sell me a car and he offered me to go drive any car I wanted on the lot. We jumped into a few cars and most were great, but I was really, really impressed with the 475hp and lots of torque from the N63 V8 engine in this BMW 550i. It was smooth, comfortable and pulled harder than it had a right to being a big 4 door sedan. I never looked or even driven a 5 series until this time and I was impressed. The car only had 34000 miles and all of the options you could imagine. We’ll talk about those later in the video. I offered him $5000 less than what they were asking for and after some negotiations, I worked out a good deal and a set of 4 new run flat tires to boot.

PROBLEMS OVER THE YEARS:

BMW V8s are not known to be the most reliable and at the time, I didn’t have a garage I could wrench on this car if something were to happen, so I was a little worried. Luckily the car came with a little over a year of warranty. I never needed the warranty and honestly this was one of the most reliable cars I have ever owned. Here is everything I’ve had t o do to the car over the years. I changed oil every 5-6k miles, I changed the rear brakes and later on the front bakes and I replaced the sparkplugs and coils after a misfire when I did a hard pull on the highway. Luckily, I didn’t have, high pressure fuel pump, injector or any kind of oil leak problems that people bring up every time they hear a BMW N63 engine. I’ve made a video on Problems to expect on these cars and if you’ve watched it, you’ll know that the problems are mostly on the pre-LCI, 2013 or older version of the car.

WHY I KEPT IT FOR 4+ YEARS:

Whether it was luck or I just did a decent job at maintaining the car and not beating on it too much, it obviously has been very reliable for me. So, was that the reason why I kept the car for so long? Usually, I get bored of a car after a couple of years, I sell it and I get something different, but in this case, this car just had too much to offer and never felt outdated even after 4 years. Not only was this car powerful even by today’s standards, it had a very smooth power delivery (include 0-60 video), felt absolutely planted and stable at high speeds and handled road trips better than any other car I’ve ever been in. What I loved the most about it though, was how understated it was. I love flashy cars as much as the next guy, I mean, I have a blue Z4, but there is something about a car that looks like a big ol boat but performance on par with a lot of sport cars. Using launch control, it can do close to 4 second 0-60 and around 4.5 seconds for a regular start. If you remember that this car weights around 4400lbs, has space for 5 people and a few suitcases, features like heads up display, comfort access and soft closing doors, 18 way adjustable seats and you can even open the trunk with your foot, it becomes obvious why I would keep this car for sol long.

THE MODS:

Part of keeping the car understated, but also giving it a little bit of attitude and removing some of the mid-level manager feel of the car WAS to add a few mods. I didn’t touch any performance modifications on this car as I wanted to keep it as reliable as possible and I was happy with the amount of power it had, anyway.


One of my pet-peeves on modern cars is fake chrome and orange reflectors. The first thing I did was replace the chrome kidney grills and shortly after, the orange reflectors with grey ones, which I think fit the car much better. In fact, this was my first video that I posted on this channel, even before I thought of becoming a “Youtuber”. You can say that this simple mod started me on this YouTube journey and gave me confidence to continue working on cars. Over the next few months, I blacked out the chrome pieces in the bumper, on the side of the car and even on the door handles. Adding a spoiler to the trunk and tinting the windows completed the look I was going for.

One other item I would definitely recommend upgrading on the interior would be the navigation system. I added CarPlay functionality to modernize the car and bring it into this decade.

Thinking back on this, I do wish I would have gotten better wheels for it and maybe put a sporty exhaust on it, but it would also ruin the entire understated feel of the car I tried to maintain.

WHY I SOLD IT:

Now comes the big questions, why did I sell this car I liked so much? I wish I had a very elaborate and cool story to tell here, but honestly it was mostly because I haven’t been driving it since the pandemic started. Back when I was commuting 50-60 miles every day, this car made perfect sense, but now just watching it sit there for days at a time, not being driven, just didn’t make sense and she had to go to a better home. Of course, the fact that the prices are way higher than I could have sold it even 2 years ago and the fact that I have 3 more vehicles at home made that decision a little bit easier. Overall, these are still a great deal in my opinion as long as you know how to take care and maintain these beasts. I really do hope the feature owners enjoys and cherishes the car as much as I have over the years.

WHAT AM I BUYING NEXT?

This, of course, brings up another question, what will I get next? Well, since it doesn’t look like I will be going back to the office for at least another half a year, I will most likely keep driving what I have and keep getting better in the snow in my rear-wheel-drive Z4. I also, like the idea of BMW I3 and how quirky and weird it is, but eventually I will need a vehicle that’s be really good in winter. BMW Z4 is my current main ride and as fun as it is in the snow, it’s not very good once we have over a few inches. I’d love to hear your recommendations on what I should get next. Should I got for the BMW M550i, maybe a 6 series or should I be looking for Porsche? Leave your comments down below.

With all of that said, I’m sad to see my BMW 550i go, but more fun and fast cars to come in my future. Thank you, guys, so much for watching and I’ll see you in the next one!

BMW 550i Free Exhaust Mod

In the video below I will be testing whether it is worth opening the exhaust valves on a BMW 550i with an n63 engine.

On BMW engines such as the N20, N54, N55 and many others people have been doing what is known as the GOLF Tee exhaust mod. That’s when you stick a golf tee into the vacuum line that goes to the exhaust valve.  Unfortunately, on this and a few other cars, that would not work as the valve is CLOSE and NOT open by default. It only opens when the car is in high revs or high-power demand.

I wanted to experiment and see if keeping them open at all times would the exhaust note better. So, I used some metal zipties I had laying around and ziptied the valves open.

Let’s see if it made any difference and if it’s worth the trouble.

In my opinion, it gave slightly throatier sound on idle and around 3000 RPM. I would totally recommend it as a cheap and easy mod to make you exhaust sound just little better. Of course, this isn’t anything like installing proper sport exhaust, but something is better than nothing. I also wanted to mention that I drove the car for a few miles and no codes or other issues came up. Let me know what you think, could you hear a difference via the camera mic? Leave your comment below and don’t forget to like the video and subscribe to the channel.