Review: 2023 BMW iX M60



Words: Calvin Chan

Photography: Calvin Chan

Published: December 5, 2022

 



follow. It seems easy after all. Plop in a larger battery, crank up the voltage, sacrifice some range for the sake of performance, and voila. Add a hefty premium to the price, some pretty badges, and call it a day. This formula has worked quite well. The Porsche Taycan range is expansive, as is the Tesla Model S family tree, and the same goes for BMW’s new string of electric vehicles. More power, more price, more M.

 

Confusing naming scheme aside, BMW offers a sort of middleground for their vehicles, one that straddles the fine line between comfort and performance. This is what they call their M Performance line up, and it has birthed some of our favourite road cars, from the deliciously potent V8-powered BMW M550i to one of the best grand touring convertibles around, the M850i. But hop over the electric fence and the same kind of rules apply.

 

 

The new 2023 BMW iX M60 takes a standard iX with its 105.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and two electric motors on each axle, and ramps up the electrons with the help of a more powerful rear drive unit and inverter, to produce 532 hp and 749 lb-ft of torque. The horsepower is the same as the xDrive50 but the torque is a whopping 185 lb-ft more. Not to mention, selecting Sport Plus mode will temporarily summon extra horses to the stable, delivering 610 hp and 811 lb-ft to slingshot you from 0-100 km/h in 3.8 seconds, eight-tenths faster than the xDrive50.

 

 

Acceleration is violent off the line - it’s quicker than BMW’s own M3 afterall. Every horse and torque is instantly served up on a silver platter for your right foot to command. It’s like a light switch, and it’s always on or off but never in between, which is fun for the first few times but the level of driver engagement quickly fizzles away once the party-trick of silly acceleration gets old. What gets lost in that translation is the way the driver needs to fight and build momentum, and manage and caress the car to get up to speed. The iX M60 is effortless to drive quickly, offering near-instant reward with the push of a pedal, serving up immense power with zero delay and sadly, almost zero involvement. Even the brakes are immensely strong, serving up a better-tuned and more linear brake pedal than even that in the non-electric Mercedes-Benz C 300. That should cater nicely towards those with short-attention spans and iPad babies but for us, it just doesn’t quite nail the ethos of a performance vehicle.

 

 

But not all is lost. BMW has stiffened up the suspension on the M60 to give it more vigour around corners, and a front end that is more agile and willing to rotate. There’s also four wheel steering, which allows the rear wheels to rotate and effectively shrink the wheelbase and turning. Here, it feels very natural and not overbearing and overeager like in the Mercedes EQS. It doesn’t overcompensate, but feels like a natural extension of the steering arm. Even better, the M60 actually enjoys swinging its tail out and being thrashed about with some power oversteer. It really does corner like a BMW X5 M but with slightly more body roll and a different sensation of speed.

 

 

That’s because there is no engine noise coming through the firewall, or exhaust to rattle the senses. Instead, the M60 emits eerie spaceship sounds when you press the throttle. It’s like when the Millennium Falcon hits hyperdrive. The noises will change depending on the selected driving mode and if you feel that the deep, heart-wrenching, soulful tones belong in the soundtrack of Inception, Interstellar, or Dunkirk, that is because Hans Zimmer composed it specifically for BMW.

 

The two-axle adaptive air suspension means the iX M60 nails down the comfort factor. It rides impeccably well, muting out the harshest impacts and only letting minor ones fizzle through to keep you alert of what’s rumbling underneath the tires. We wouldn’t hesitate for a moment in taking this rig for a long-distance road trip, which brings us to the range.

BMW claims that the iX M60 will do 463 km on a single charge. Our real world drive yielded us about 360 km, which also took into consideration highway driving, zero-degree exterior temperatures, and the heated seats and steering wheel on at all times. Not bad, not terrible, but still more than 100 km short of the iX xDrive50 we tested a few months prior. So if lengthier road trips and fewer stops at the charging station are of paramount importance, best skip the M60.

 

 

But from the outside, you would be hard pressed to tell that you spent an extra $28,750 over the xDrive50. The M60 carries few visually distinguishable features except for the darker badges, trim lines, and blue brake calipers. It’s still a handsome looking thing, and has grown on us over time. Sure, the grill is way too big and unapologetic but it somehow fits the iX’s bold and burly aesthetic. Storm Bay Metallic also does a nice job of bringing out the SUV’s soft shoulder lines - it’s like a Nardo Grey but with the temperature bumped up a few levels towards blue.

 

 

The interior is a first-rate piece of kit. There’s so much yet so little going on. The layout is clean, contrasting, and crisp. The expansive dashboard accentuates the cabin’s width, and houses the new dual screens mounted under a piece of curved glass. Soft leather is laid out on all the high traffic areas, and there’s beautiful glass switchgear for the seat controls and infotainment dials, all of which make the iX feel more expensive than it actually is.

 

 

The steering wheel is an odd-shape - sometimes we can’t tell which way is the right-side up when turning at speed, but it’s definitely daring and bold. The wood inlay on the center console is a charming addition as it cleverly integrates the real buttons underneath, resulting in a flush and cleaner design. The passthrough tunnel between the front seats adds a sense of airiness to the cabin, and allows for a deep and spacious center console that could even swallow up my Canon 6D SLR camera. We also love the dedicated phone cubby right above the rotary dial. The rear cabin is equally spacious with its own separate climate controls and USB sockets integrated into the front seatbacks. Headroom and legroom are excellent, on par with the X5, part of the reason being that the sunroof is non-retractable. That means it won’t cut into precious overhead space.

 


The BMW iX M60 is exactly what we expected - a more powerful iX with more power and less range, but we dont find much appreciable value and usability from that added zest, and it sadly does not introduce more depth to the experience. The M60 rides exceptionally well and is a remarkably capable electric SUV, but so is the cheaper xDrive50. It looks the same too, and while we’re never ones to complain about too much power, we think the xDrive50 nails it just right. The M60 is overkill but we’re confident that for some out there, it’s the perfect amount.

 


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Specifications:

Model: 2023 BMW iX M60 xDrive

Paint Type: Storm Bay Metallic
Base Price: $121,750

Price as Tested: $140,350
Powertrain: 105.2 kWh lithium ion battery, two electric synchronous AC motors
Horsepower: 532 hp
Torque: 749 lb-ft
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Claimed Range: 463 km
Observed Range: 360 km

 



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