BMW's Electric 610-Horsepower Beast
Can a huge, high-performance SUV also be all about sustainability? BMW thinks so. The third, and most powerful, version of the company’s EV and technology flagship, the iX M60, is the first BMW M vehicle not powered by a powerful gasoline engine. Thanks to 610 horsepower from twin electric motors, and an M-specific suspension setup, BMW promises outstanding performance and a thrilling driving experience, along with zero-emissions mobility. Does it live up to the promise of being the best of BMW i, BMW X, and BMW M models? Let’s find out.
All the Performance You Need
The BMW iX M60 accelerates will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than 3.8 seconds, so the acceleration is certainly there. The company promises “vehement” power delivery from its M specific electric drive units all the way up to high speeds, where electric vehicles’ power output typically trails off. Indeed, BMW promises that the iX M60 can cruise at a sustained 155 mph – far higher than the limited 124 mph top speed of the less powerful iX 50. The company promises an EPA estimated 280-mile range thanks to a dedicated electric architecture, surprisingly sleek aerodynamics, and efficient electric motors.
50 years ago, the first BMW M cars were powered by highly-strung six-cylinder engines, and lately, they have been defined by high torque and turbocharging. The iX M60 now ups the ante with extreme power and precise control – its electric all-wheel drive, together with highly-responsive wheel slip limitation, generates incredible traction from a standstill and out of corners, delivering a slingshot effect that must be experienced to be believed. Torque is a barely believable 811 lb-ft.
Supreme Vehicle Handling
While the BMW iX M60 is a large, SUV-shaped vehicle, its battery sits very low in its big body, meaning a low center of gravity. The aluminum spaceframe and the carbon cage with carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) in the roof, side and rear sections combines increased rigidity with reduced weight, benefitting performance and efficiency, as well as contributing to extra responsiveness.
This, combined with a specifically-tuned dual-axle air suspension with automatic level control, ensures that the BMW M driving experience remains, with impressive agility and precision. 22-inch aerodynamic wheels featuring exclusive Titanium Bronze design are optional, further enlarging the footprint and providing additional cornering grip.
Loaded with Technology
The iX M60 features the most extensive range of standard driver assistance systems ever fitted to a BMW. A new generation of sensors, and a powerful central brain provide the expected suite of active cruise with start-stop, blind spot and lane assist, and the potential for even more automated driving and parking functions; the vehicle’s architecture is ready for level 3 functionality, when legislation permits.
Inside, the latest iDrive display and control system makes life easier for the driver and passengers. Voice recognition allows natural dialogue. The new curved display can be operated by a central control knob, or by touch. Remote software upgrades offer the ability to install new and improved vehicle functions over-the-air. And navigation is cloud-based, using augmented reality video to deliver perfect traffic guidance. The BMW iX is also uses the 5G mobile phone standard, for the fastest data connection possible.
It charges fast too: the iX M60 can charge at an impressive 200 kW. Filling up its 105.2-kWh battery from 5 to 80% can be accomplished in just over half an hour.
Looks Like the Future
The iX looks like no BMW of the past. If you were expecting a sleek sports sedan, you might be shocked by its tall, almost blocky proportions. But there’s no doubt it looks futuristic in its own way. The surfaces are reduced and simplified, and precise details mean the shape is exceptionally efficient despite being quite bold, with giant “grilles” and large air intakes up front. Sporty touches include blue brake calipers, and titanium bronze exterior trim.
Inside, to go with the giant curved display, the design is similarly pared-down. The elimination of the central tunnel creates additional legroom as well as space for storage and a console designed like a high-quality piece of furniture. We particularly like the creative and innovative choice of materials available – this feels more like a high-end hotel lounge than a car interior.
It’s telling that BMW introduced the ix M60 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in early 2022. The power-hungry U.S. will be the iX M60’s largest market, and it is as much a technological milestone for the brand as it is a new piece of mechanical art. Deliveries for the iX M60 will begin in June 2022. The company has yet to announce a list price, but as soon as it does, we’ll add it to the GreenCars Buyer's Guide, where you can judge it against other large, high-performance EVs.