COMO, Italy – The range of BMW models has been partially defined by letters for many years. You got M, X, and i, and they all represent distinctly different personalities. If you’re familiar with the nomenclature, you know from the bat that the i3 and X6 M are on opposite ends of the BMW spectrum. Some models have been pegged at the junction of the two sections, such as the X6 M and iX3 mentioned above, but the three boxes were not ticked until the electric BMW iX M60 debuted in 2022. It’s an i, an x, and an m at the same time.
Could it be wearing three hats at once, or is it in the throes of an identity crisis? I trek across the Alps to find out.
Most of the changes BMW made to the iX before the M badge was considered fit are below the body. Power comes from a pair of motors (one-axle for all-wheel-drive all-wheel-drive) that draws power from a huge, 111.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack to zap four wheels of 610 horsepower and 811. . Pound-foot torque. That’s enough for a fast 3.6-second sprint from zero to 60 miles per hour, but keep in mind that these stats can only be unlocked by turning on Sport Mode and Launch Control. Turn off both systems, and you’ve got 532 horsepower and 749 pound-feet of torque under your right foot, which is still plenty. The maximum driving range is checked at 288 miles with standard 21-inch wheels and 274 miles with optional 22-inch wheels, according to the EPA. For comparison, the Base iX xDrive50 comes with dual-motor all-wheel drive, but it offers a total output of 516 horsepower and 564 pound-feet of torque, taking 4.4 seconds to reach 60 miles per hour from one stop. Its EPA-rated maximum driving range varies from 305 to 324 miles, depending on the size of the wheel.
Chassis changes are also part of this recipe. The optional air suspension system on the iX xDrive50 is standard on the M60. It automatically adjusts to ride height and humidity based on current driving, road and load conditions and I have been told that it has been calibrated by M Division engineers to handle sporty handling. Roll bars are also M60-specific.
One thing to note is that the iX M60 is not the electrical equivalent of the V8-powered X5 M. This is not a fully-developed M car
“It’s an M-performance car, not a high-performance version,” BMW M boss Frank Van Mill told me. “Our goal for M-performance cars has always been to give the driver more power and more precision. We change the chassis setup so that it is more direct and has better body control without having to build a track car like the high-performance car. Interval between series-productions [iX] And a pure M was so big that customers demanded, ‘Can you give me more M characters, but not for the track? You can develop it on track, but please don’t give me a car to track ৷ I just want more performance and a better chassis, but don’t make it too difficult. ‘
This method of design at least partially explains why the iX xDrive50 and iX M60 look alike. Take a closer look and you will notice that the range-topping model gains a sports presence package, fine symbols and the 21-inch wheels mentioned above. It can be ordered with optional BMW standalone titanium bronze exterior, as shown in our gallery, and comes with gloss black and bronze exterior trim.
Go inside (be sure to check the carbon fiber door seals first) and you’ll notice again that the standard doesn’t separate the iX and M60. BMW packs a long list of standard features, such as a Boers and Wilkins sound system, but the two variants look and feel much the same. That’s not a bad thing: iX offers an intuitive infotainment system with lots of space, comfortable seats and navigation software that cleverly relies on augmented reality so you don’t miss a turn (more effective than listening). The steering wheel is a hexagon, the center console has two stories, and the dashboard is defined by an elegant minimalist design. But, since the M60 is part of the vaunted M range, shouldn’t it be sprinkled with carbon fiber trim, front seats and the M symbol? No, Van Mill argued.
“The dashboard itself is iconic,” he explained. “It was a discussion with IX: how much do we want to change this unique vehicle? It’s really unique; it’s different from all other BMWs. And, if you look at the dashboard, it was hard to fit carbon fiber into it because it gives you this very light flying impression. So we decided not to change the interior too much. “
When you visit our gallery, you will not be surprised to see the unusually large number of bugs that have chosen the front end of the iX as their final resting place. It’s not that insects are attracted to designs like crazy; They ended up there because it wasn’t your average first drive. I picked up the iX in Berlin and dropped it off in Como, Italy, 600 miles after crossing the Splugen Pass in Austria, Liechtenstein (a country the size of Denver), Switzerland and the Alps. I imagined almost every common type of road during this track.
I took the car from Berlin to Munich for the sake of time and to test BMW’s claimed maximum speed (155 miles per hour, 124 miles per hour for the standard iX) in the unlimited section. A breeze reaching 155 miles per hour: Like most high-power electric vehicles, the iX provides fast and linear acceleration without any flat spots. At this speed – which some owners on the side of our pond will feel, admittedly – the iX doesn’t feel as stable as I expected the M badges to wear it and the huge battery pack that significantly reduces the center of gravity. More worrying is the range: 155 miles per hour cruise and you’re losing about one kilometer (or three-fifths of a mile) of driving range every 5 or 6 seconds, according to the instrument cluster’s display. Gasoline- and diesel-powered engines also burn fuel at a spectacular rate at triple-digit speeds, but a fuel tank can be brimmed in minutes, which is not the case with an EV. Driving at 150-plus miles per hour will cause you to lose at the charging station no matter what time you gain. If you’re wondering what’s going to kill the uncontrolled sections of the automobile, that’s it.
The Austrian authorities are not so enthusiastic about the idea of how quickly drivers can choose to cover the ground, and the country’s highways are limited to 75 miles per hour, as in the United States. At this speed, the iX is accurate in its components: it is comfortable and it travels effortlessly. It’s impressively quiet … easy to say. Of course, there is no Straight-Six or a V8 to mute, but taking the engine out of the equation means that other sound sources (for example, wind) will eventually have a chance to sing for you. Engineers have done a good job of controlling the noise in the cabin of the iX. There’s also some great technology: the adaptive cruise control works with steering support to keep it in the lane of the iX without having to play ping-pong with it (previous BMW systems weren’t as successful). When this system is turned on, the instrument cluster shows a specific configuration that shows what is around it, including cars, its lanes and motorcycles, cars and trucks.
The Alps appear on the horizon almost like a mirage, with snow-capped peaks running through the clouds. This huge mountain range, once believed to be indomitable (locals feared that dragons lived on the summit in the 18th century) is now a source of excitement for hiking and driving enthusiasts alike. With a touchscreen-enabled sport mode to unlock the entire output of the drivetrain, the iX M60 looks quite different from the xDrive50 (which I also ran in the Alps). It leans much less when going into a bend, gets out of it much faster, and the four-wheel-steering system makes it feel more chic than it really is. It’s finally close to the soul of the M brand.
On a secondary but significant level, driving an EV near a mountain is the automatic equivalent of reading a thriller. First of all, seeing a range drop at a terribly fast rate spreads panic in your chest. Wild thoughts are swirling in your head: “What is the possibility of having a charging station at the top? Maybe someone has a generator? What if all I get is a family outlet? Oh, hell, Hannibal survived an elephant herd here in 218 BC, I can probably save myself for a night or two. “But then, past the peak, the brake power recovery system saves the day. IX has two settings to choose from. , Normal and more aggressive “B” নির্বাচন Selecting adequate recovery dials to allow single-pedal driving. It got lost on the way up
While the standard iX has a base price of $ 84,195, including a $ 995 destination charge, the iX M60 starts at 106,095. Both prices exclude any government rebates. Both are mandatory options for those in the market for an electric SUV. They offer a spacious interior, a usable amount of driving range and an intuitive suite of technology. They satisfy both i and X in their names. But for iX M60, what about M?
Seen through the M lens, it is an interesting addition to the range. It doesn’t look like a typical M (or M Performance) car, but it’s not No. Sounds like an M car. This is a distinctly different taste of M-Ness. And, at the same time, it has a distinct taste of i-ness compared to iX xDrive50; It is fast and usually sports without going overboard. It seems to know what. There is no identity crisis here.