Back in the early days of the BMW 2002, BMWs were rare and driven mostly by enthusiasts. They often flashed their brights upon encountering another member of the then-tiny tribe. These days, BMW sells around a quarter-million cars a year in America, and their drivers are neither committed nor rare enough to observe such niceties. But with the electrically powered iX, BMW might well re-create that exclusivity.
Although it’s roughly the size of the X5, the iX has little in common with that established SUV—structurally or visually. The iX was introduced as a newly developed 2022 model with a unique structure made from high-strength steel, aluminum, plastic, and carbon fiber. The chassis uses a mostly aluminum control-arm suspension with dual lower links in front and a multilink layout in the back.
It sports a giant version of BMW’s vertical rendition of the traditional twin nostrils, and the iX lacks the full-length character lines of most BMWs. It’s a rather shapeless lump, particularly in the contour-smothering Storm Bay Metallic hue of our test car. However, it is a smooth lump, with a drag coefficient of 0.26.
iX M60 Performance
The iX launched as the xDrive50, but now BMW has added the more powerful iX M60. It boasts uprated front and rear electric motors producing a maximum of 610 horsepower (in Sport mode) and up to 811 pound-feet of torque (using launch control). These figures are up by 94 ponies and a whopping 247 pound-feet compared to the xDrive50.
As you’d expect, these increases are noticeable. Acceleration to 60 mph consumes but 3.2 seconds, and the quarter-mile is covered in 11.5 seconds at 120 mph—both figures almost a second better than the already-quick xDrive50. For a machine that weighs the better part of three tons, such acceleration is amazing. And thanks to its instantaneous response and shift-free acceleration, the M60 feels even quicker than these figures. With a twitch of your right foot, you can pass just about anyone, anywhere, at any speed, with little effort.
On a winding mountain road, this acceleration slingshots you from corner to corner with nearly the intensity of a 1000cc crotch rocket. Driven this way, you need more than regenerative braking to slow you down, and the M60’s big discs are up to the job. In our testing, they hauled the M60 to a stop from 70 mph in 160 feet.
To match its driver’s preferences, the M60 offers multiple levels of regen braking, as well as one-pedal driving, which requires only brief adaptation and is very convenient in urban driving. It’s a feature you quickly get used to.
Air springs and rear-wheel steering—both optional on the xDrive50—are standard here. Though the M60 bends into corners willingly at a fast clip, there’s no mistaking that you are piloting a massive machine. And despite the 275/40-R22 Bridgestone Alenza 001 tires on our test vehicle, the maximum corning grip is only 0.87 g, one count less than the xDrive50 managed. Blasting effortlessly through everyday traffic is more suited to the M60’s inclinations.
In that role, the M60 is remarkably capable. It rides very nicely, thanks to the adjustable shocks and air suspension at all four corners. Road noise is also reasonably low, and there’s plenty of space inside. In fact, despite being a couple of inches lower than an X5, the M60 has more passenger room, front and rear, and greater luggage space as well.
Ritzy, Tech-Forward Interior
Its interior appointments are also very nice, with lovely perforated upholstery and the same cut-glass crystal-like controls for seat adjusters, volume controls, and iDrive knobs that you find in the just-introduced new 7-series models. It’s a comfortable cabin for your journeys.
The instrument layout is very much in the current BMW idiom with the Curved Display incorporating a 12.3-inch LCD instrument cluster in front of the driver and a 14.9-inch display for iDrive 8 in the center of the dash. It’s an attractive, legible, and usable arrangement, though the so-called hexagonal steering wheel is a fashion affectation that partially blocks the cluster and is hardly necessary for thigh clearance.
Many of the instrument-cluster configurations provide information in a random and not necessarily attractive fashion. And the iDrive screen has 37 icons, each representing functions offering submenus of varying degrees of complexity. For example, you can select an option that tries to replicate the ambiance of an internal-combustion engine but sounds more like a wheezing turbine.
Range and Charging
Fed by a 106.3-kWh battery, our 22-inch-shod iX M60 gets an EPA rating of 274 miles of range. With the standard 21-inch tires, the range increases to 288. In our 75-mph highway-range test, our iX M60 outdid its EPA estimate—an unusual result—delivering 290 miles.
Of course, a battery this big requires a Level 2 charger to keep it juiced. Using 120 volts, you can’t keep up with even 30-mile daily drives. The iX’s on-board charger is rated at 11 kW, so you can charge even a fully depleted battery in about 12 hours with the typical 9.6-kW Level 2 box, with a more usual top-up from half empty something that’s easily accomplished while you sleep.
Unfortunately, the M60’s unique combination of qualities does not come cheap. Our test car had a base price of $109,895, which is about $25K higher than an xDrive50. And that price swelled to nearly $120,000, thanks to Amido (dark gray) perforated leather upholstery ($3500); the Executive Package ($3000); the Storm Bay Metallic paint ($1950); 22-inch M Aero bicolored bronze wheels with summer performance, non-runflat tires ($950); and Individual Titanium Bronze trim ($500).
Based on the year’s sales so far, the iX will probably barely sell 4000 units for 2022. If you want a high-performance, exclusive model with genuine utility, it’s a great choice. Who knows, other iX drivers may flash their lights.
2023 BMX iX M60
Vehicle Type: front- and mid-motor, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon
Base/As Tested: $109,895/$119,795
Options: Amido perforated leather upholstery, $3500; Executive package – active cruise w/stop and go, active lane-keeping assistant, side collision avoidance, surround view, glass and wood controls, soft-close automatic doors, $3000; Storm Bay Metallic paint, $1950; 22-inch Aero bicolor wheels with performance tires, $950; BMW Individual Titanium Bronze trim, $500
Front Motor: current-excited synchronous AC, 255 hp
Rear Motor: current-excited synchronous AC, 483 hp
Combined Power: 610 hp
Combined Torque: 811 lb-ft
Battery Pack: liquid-cooled lithium-ion, 106.3 kWh
Onboard Charger: 11.0 kW
Peak DC Fast-Charge Rate: 195 kW
Transmissions, F/R: direct-drive/direct drive
Suspension, F/R: multilink/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 13.7-in vented disc/13.6-in vented disc
Tires: Bridgestone Alenza 001 B-Silent
275/40R-22 107Y Extra Load ★
Wheelbase: 118.1 in
Length: 195.0 in
Width: 77.4 in
Height: 66.8 in
Passenger Volume: 112 ft3
Cargo Volume, rear seat up/down: 36/78 ft3
Curb Weight: 5778 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 3.2 sec
100 mph: 7.6 sec
1/4-Mile: 11.5 sec @ 120 mph
130 mph: 15.3 sec
150 mph: 26.4 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.2 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 3.7 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 1.5 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 2.2 sec
Top Speed (gov ltd): 154 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 160 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 330 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.87 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY AND CHARGING
Observed: 81 MPGe
75-mph Highway Range: 290 mi
Average DC Fast-Charge Rate, 10–90%: 112 kW
DC Fast-Charge Time, 10–90%: 50 min
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 78/77/80 MPGe
Range: 274 mi
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