City’s previous record was the £49m handed to Liverpool for England forward Raheem Sterling earlier in this summer. England midfielder Fabian Delph and Argentina centre-back Nicolas Otamendi have been City’s other major new arrivals.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini said: “It takes a special footballer to improve our squad and I have no doubt that Kevin is certainly one of those – he has all of the mental, physical, tactical and technical attributes required to fit straight in.
“We like to play attractive, attacking football and bringing in a player like De Bruyne will only aid us as we fight on four fronts.”
De Bruyne forged his reputation as a creative player and a goal threat at his first club, Genk, and joined Chelsea in January 2012, but barely saw any first-team action during his time with the club.
He stayed at Genk on loan for the remainder of the 2011-12 season before spending the following campaign at Werder Bremen, again on loan. Without establishing himself in new Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho’s plans, he was allowed to depart for Wolfsburg on a permanent transfer in January 2014.
The Belgium international played a starring role in Wolfsburg finishing second in last season’s Bundesliga.
De Bruyne said: “I want to reach the highest level possible as a player and I think the most important thing is that at the end of the season we can be happy and maybe have some titles.
“I think this is the most important for the club, the players and for the fans of course.”
Wolfsburg could not compete with City’s “astonishing” salary offer to De Bruyne, the German club’s director of sport Klaus Allofs acknowledged on Thursday.