CAR sampled BMW’s latest marmite car, the iX, towards the end of 2021 on a drive from Munich towards the picturesque Tyrol region in Austria – the Driven review can be found in the January 2022 issue of CAR – and we were hugely impressed by quite a lot.
The latest variant of the iX has just been announced, and just in case you thought that the iX in xDrive50 flavour needed a bit more oomph than its 385 kW and 765 N.m, BMW have answered your call with the iX M60.
M Performance’s first ever electric SUV
The only other fully-electric M Performance product in BMW’s stable is the i4 M50, however that makes use of the CLAR platform in modified form for an electric powertrain. Touted as the first ever M Division product to make use of BMW AG’s all-electric architecture, the iX M60’s dual synchronous motors produce 455 kW and a mind-boggling 1 100 N.m, enough to deal with the 0-100km/h sprint in 3,8 seconds. Erm…
An important thing to note, before we get too excited, is that those figures are only available for a short period of time, while using the SAV’s launch control function. The rest of the time, power outputs of 397 kW and 1 016 N.m haul the M60 around.
As mentioned above, the M60, like all iX models, makes use of dual synchronous electric motors a opposed to the industry norm of permanent magnet motors, standard fitment to most performance EV’s. The reason for this departure is that the latter requires rare-earth materials in their construction – not ideal when one considers the current global situation regarding natural resources – whereas the iX’s motors do not.
The M60 also makes use of a slightly different rear motor; it’s a six-phase operated item and features a double inverter, resulting in an increase in power, as well as the kind of response that a typical M-driver would expect, even at high-speeds.
More power, less range.
The iX M60 makes use of the same 105.2 kWh battery pack as other iX models, however the result of the increased power is that the range isn’t quite as high as that of the xDrive50 for example. At 450 km, it’s just 30 km or so shy of its sibling’s range, it’s still not shabby at all, granted the quoted figure is for a vehicle riding on 21-inchers and not the optional 22-inch wheels.
Is it electrifying in the twisties?
As standard, the iX M60 benefits from dual-axle air suspension with electronic dampers, allowing for the 2,6-tonne EV to roll (literally) with the big boys. A big advantage here is the auto-levelling suspension’s ability to manage each corner and adjust to uneven loads, fundamental when bombing into a corner with a smidgen of haste. The dampers are slightly more sporty than the items found in other iX’s and as with all BMW’s can be adjusted by the driver. Up front are dual wishbones and at the rear, a good old multi-link suspension setup keeps things comfy, yet sporty.
How different does it look?
Visually there’s little to distinguish the M-fifty-plus-ten from other iX’s. That extra ‘10’ is mostly made up of minor changes here and there that come together to make for what, at face value, appears to be a notably more sporty version of the current iX top-dog. Optional titanium bronze finishes here and 22-inch performance wheels there give it away, as does the “M60” badge finished in gloss black with zhuzh Titanium Bronze trim. There aren’t even any aerodynamic changes, because the standard iX is made to slice through the air as efficiently as possible anyway with its remarkable drag coefficient of just 0,26.
What of the interior?
Behind the wheel, there is quite literally nothing that one might be able to spot that lets you know that you’re in the ‘sixty as opposed to the ‘fifty. Panoramic Sky Lounge LED Roof, Surround View with 3D View, the Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System and Adaptive LED headlights with laser lights are standard fitment here, but those can be added to lesser models, too.
There’s no word yet on local availability or pricing, however some napkin mathematics tells us that an iX xDrive50 costs $85 000 in the US and R2 175 00 in South Africa, so at $105 100 stateside, one could hazard a guess that the iX M60 could play in the X5 M’s sandpit at around R2 750 000.