TEST: BMW iX M60 – so much M-era – Test drives

Premium The iX M60 will combine the best of BMW’s three worlds: i, X and M! That means a 2.7-tonne electric super SUV that does 0-100 km/h in 3.8 seconds and “floats” over the asphalt. A genuine M car?!

WHAT IS NEW? This is the first M car to be developed as an electric car from the ground up and the second electric BMW model to be bestowed with a big M.

But it is not developed by BMW M from the start – like the XM concept car – but is M-tuned and the strongest version in the iX family. Still…

The rear motor has been M-updated, the stator/rotor is 23 mm longer, and now produces 489 hp compared to 313 hp in the iX 50 and 272 hp in the iX 40. The dual inverter has six phase instead of three phase, for more powerful power delivery.

The chassis has been updated: the front electric anti-roll bars are ten percent stiffer and the rear ones 20 percent. Furthermore, the adaptive air suspension is firmer and the brakes have received larger discs, and the aero rims are 21 inches.

On the outside you can see M marks and bronze-colored decorative strips.

The top speed has been increased from 200 km/h to 250 and 0-100 km/h goes in 3.8 seconds against 4.6.

However, charging has the same speed as before, with 11 kW AC and max 195 DC charging. According to BMW, 10-80 percent should take 39 minutes. The range has unfortunately become shorter, 56 miles according to WLTP, compared to 63 in the iX 50.

The good thing is that there is preheating of the 105 kWh battery, so that DC charging can go faster in the winter. BMW will also update its navigation function so that you can enter an entire route and get help with when and how much to charge for an optimal journey. Plug & charge is also in the planning.

The M transformation provides a lot of extra equipment such as a sports package with, among other things, launch control, a super stereo system from Bowers & Wilkins, Innovation package and seat ventilation. This means that the car is almost loaded with everything that is in the accessory list.

Strange? The steering wheel is upside down in the picture, but the interior is more futuristic than travel.

HOW IS IT TO DRIVE? The only thing that reveals that you are sitting in an M car is the M badge at the top left of the instrument screen in front of the steering wheel.

The seats are nice, but far from some bowled sports seats. The square steering wheel is not as thick as M steering wheels tend to be and the interior is much more elegant than it is sporty.

On the center screen, however, there is a mode where you can see Nm, kW, engine speed and the rear engine oil temperature. It’s a bit of fun to note how speed and torque are not connected like on combustion engine cars, because electric motors can give their maximum right from the start. The temperature gauge also shows, after a few full-throttle accelerations, that this is not a car made for full-throttle all the time, as the oil temperature easily rises above 95 degrees.

Full speed also means 14,900 r/min – that’s sporty!

What is definitely really delicious is the launch control, which is pure child’s play to activate. Today’s (sorry) “genuine” M cars have two good and nice red controls on the steering wheel where you can choose the driving mode without having to go into a complicated menu. But in the iX you don’t even have to do that, select the sport mode and hold the brake down, press the gas pedal and the car starts to vibrate and yes, actually rumble!

Let go of the brake and the car pulls away impressively, it’s a big difference to normal full-throttle acceleration – and in the display you can see that you get 1,100 Nm directly on demand!

The brakes also bite hard. Good luck with that.

But the high seating position does not directly give sports car vibes and even if the grip is good and the iX M60 does not roll much for being a large and heavy SUV, it is of course not the same playful and sporty feeling as in a “regular” M car.

There will be a test run on film, keep an eye out on our website and on our YT channel.

We run a number of exercises on the Gotland Ring and what impresses the most is probably what the rear wheel steering does for directness and resilience.

At low speeds, the car almost hits a knot, so quickly it changes direction and if you go full throttle in such a situation, the rear trailer can break out into a small skid. It is not possible to turn off the ESP system completely and at slightly higher speeds it is possible to provoke smaller wires.

The difference in body control compared to an iX 50 is absolutely there, but it is not M-dramatic. And I think that is absolutely right.

The steering feels soft and pleasant and the car is always easy to drive and safe. But sports car steering? Well, it is not direct and sensitive enough for that.

In short, the driving experience is impressive considering the weight and height, but the question is, will anyone take their private iX M60 to a trackday? Sure, just to feel the resources, but probably not to enjoy sporty driving.

What impresses even more is what was already offered in the iX 50: The comfort! The chairs are comfortable and not tough at all. The cooling vent sucks air out instead of blowing, and that’s nice.

The driver’s seat also has a back massage as standard, but I would have liked to have also seen cushion massage and the entire massage package in the passenger seat. This is a luxury car.

Lots of grip and power. Good balance between heeling and comfort.

It certainly feels like the suspension is a little more controlled and stiff compared to that of the iX 50, but this is by no means a sports car hard-sprung car but a really comfortable one. The difference between comfort and sport is not great, but clearly noticeable.

Perhaps even more impressive is that the noise level is so low, and I’m mainly thinking of tire noise, which is a real problem in, for example, a BMW X5 M or a sporty Porsche Cayenne.

It is quiet and pleasant here. As I said, you sit quite high with good visibility and the interior feels airy and luxurious in a pared down way. Our car has been additionally equipped with iDrive controls in crystal and the seat settings on the door sides are also made of the same material. There is also some wood on the stylish center console which further enhances the luxury car feel.

But as I said, there is no hint of raw-barked M super duper sports car feeling. Now if anyone wanted it in this car?

Driving assistance is perhaps even more important these days? According to BMW, the system in the iX should pass level three, when it becomes legal. This means that you don’t need to have your hands on the wheel or full attention to the traffic – but that you should be able to take over at any time. The Mercedes EQS is allowed to drive like this on the autobahn at speeds up to 60 km/h.

But so far, it is more of driving assistance than self-driving and as such it usually works excellently, with smooth reactions and good lane keeping.

Stylish chairs that offer more comfort than hardcore sports. Great.

Environmental and climate considerations are also important, no matter what type of car it is and BMW is investing heavily. Interestingly, the electric motors do not contain rare earth metals. The batteries’ cobalt and lithium come from mines in Australia and Morocco – which are overseen by BMW. The aluminum is produced with the help of electricity from solar cell plants and all electricity for the production of the car is, according to BMW, “green”. A lot of material is also recycled.

The back seat is large and comfortable, although there is a hard section at the bottom of the backrest that is not comfortable.

The luggage compartment is easily stowed and has room for 500 liters, which can be compared with the X5, which holds 580 liters. However, there is no friunk, which is strange because this is a car that is built as an electric car from the ground up. But it’s the same with Mercedes’ new EQ cars – which also don’t have a front hood or an opening hood. Washer fluid is filled by lifting the BMW badge on the hood.

GERD FACTS. BMW’s electric car sales are around ten percent of the total, but it is of course much higher in Sweden. During the first five months of the year, 28 percent electric cars and 45 percent plug-in hybrids were registered in the country. It is thus 73 percent rechargeable!

The iX accounted for 0.4 percent, which means 355 units – and there are cars at home in stock for those who settle for the “smallest” 40 model with a slightly shorter range and less equipment.

In a hurry from the puddle? Launch control provides hysterical acceleration. If you also like engine sounds – turn on a specially designed “Iconic sound” created by film music composer Hans Zimmerman. It makes a funny whistling sound that increases the feeling of speed.

BMW:s chef Oliver Zipse however, has said that the company should not rush too quickly towards electrification because “car buyers who do not want electric cars will then keep their internal combustion engine cars for longer, which emit more polluting exhaust gases than if they bought a new one”. He has also said that “it would be harmful for the company to give up without reason a position in the automotive world where you have a technical management”.

BMW’s strategy is therefore to manufacture all car models with all types of powertrains on the same assembly line – so that production can be controlled according to demand and price.

It’s smart, but possibly not that radical.

BMW’s next fully dedicated electric car platform called Neue Klasse will not arrive until 2025 – and it will be at the technological forefront and utilize all the advantages of the electric car.

SHOULD I BUY ONE? The waiting time is estimated at one year, but the question is what appeared on the market then? Has something come along that you would rather have? Will the almost unimaginably long lead times on new cars last, when it is said that the semiconductor shortage is not expected to be a major problem after the summer? Perhaps waiting times will be cut, as demand for new cars is predicted to decline due to a weaker world economy? One can only speculate about that.

But the comparison between the iX models and the BMW X5 M option can of course be made here and now.

If we factor in all the equipment included in the upgrade from 50 to 60, we end up at around SEK 100,000 – and then I would say that the extra performance is worth the money. It’s not like the buyer takes their last penny, you want as much experience and value for them.

The car becomes a different “animal” with all the extra power, and the comfort is about the same. Then one can speculate that the second-hand value will be higher for an M model and that this will not immediately be a wagon of the dozen.

The iX 40 obviously does the everyday job just as well, but the range is around ten miles shorter and you don’t get the wonderful four-wheel steering or the fluffy air suspension, among other things.

If you want an iX, the M60 is by far the most attractive.

Then we have this with the X5 M. Just as fast to 100 km/h, a little more spacious, a lot noisier and noisier – especially the squeal from the tires. But perhaps mainly more “M” for a generation that grew up with M cars.

The fact that it costs around 70,000 kroner more, requires expensive attacks on the extra equipment list to get on par with its more modern sibling, and has outrageously high annual taxes perhaps matters less?

Here it’s mostly about what type of car you want: a super fast and comfortable electric car or an equally fast internal combustion engine car that barks and makes a lot more noise.

Neither of these is what I would call an M car – if M stands for race track. Sure, both can handle a few laps on a track, but they come into their own more in everyday life. Like fantastically fast family cars. More cars!


Source: Senaste nytt från auto motor & sport by www.mestmotor.se.

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