2023 BMW iX M60 is a Comfortable and Practical Screamer of an EV

  • The BMW iX M60 is a fully electric sports car that performs just as well on the highway as it does on an alpine pass.
  • Two motors drive four wheels with 610 hp and 811 lb-ft of torque, bringing the 5,769-pound beast to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds.
  • The five-seater will be released in June for $106,095.

    If you’re worried that the electric future of all cars, trucks and SUVs is boring, you should have been there on the A9 motorway last week when we were flying at 250 km/h. It’s 155 mph in more colloquial terms. I know 155 is not the fastest you have never been, neither have I, but it’s pretty exciting nonetheless. And 155 mph in a big, spacious SUV full of luggage and three adults is even more thrilling.

    We were ferrying from Berlin to Lago di Como in Italy for the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este and we weren’t going to be late. We also weren’t going to put out any tailpipe emissions because there was no tailpipe. We were flying with the new BMW iX M60, the newest, largest and most powerful $106,095 all-electric SUV — or rather, SAV in BMW parlance — to come from the automaker so far.

    “By integrating a sustainability-focused vehicle concept with modern Sports Activity Vehicle design and exciting dynamic driving characteristics, the BMW iX M60 embodies the best of three worlds; BMW i, BMW X and BMW M GmbH models,” the automaker said.

    The new iX M60 gets iDrive 8.

    BMW

    The i is BMW’s preface to its all-electric vehicles, the X means all-wheel drive, the M means it leans towards motorsport, at least in terms of performance, and the 60 refers, loosely, to horsepower, of which there are 610 when you put it in sport mode. Put it in launch control and total torque will hit 811 lb-ft, or enough to propel you from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, or to Pluto and back from 1 rpm.

    “The extreme power and precise control of electric all-wheel drive, a highly responsive actuator-based traction control system, and suspension technology that includes dual-axle air suspension with automatic level control deliver the driving experience characteristic of BMW M: power, agility and precision”, promises BMW.

    And they don’t lie.

    This is a level 3 DC charging cable, not a gas line.

    Marc Vaughn

    Our guests chose the A9 motorway from Berlin to Leipzig via Munich, at least partly because it has plenty of charging stations. BMW expects an EPA range of 280 miles, but that’s on our EPA cycle run at and below US highway and city street speeds. In Europe they use the much more optimistic WLPT cycle, which returns a range of 349 miles. Of course the range depends on how you drive and like I said we were going 155 mph. Since aerodynamic drag is proportional to the square of airspeed, even with the M60’s very efficient 0.26 drag coefficient, you’re using a lot more power at 155 mph than you would at, say, 55. As a result, we were stopping every 150 miles or so to recharge.

    This was accomplished each time on level 3 DC chargers, which are very good for cramming electrons into batteries. We would typically drive into charging stations with around 20% battery charge on the M60’s 111.5kWh batteries and pull out 45 minutes later at 100%. Thus, any range figure obtained from these hyperspace driving sections would be useless for a driver on any US highway, where driving at 155 mph for long periods of time is generally frowned upon.

    Notice the BMW iDrive 8 screen and the oncoming biker,

    Marc Vaughn

    Once in the Alps, we were able to discover another fun feature of the iX M60: the maneuverability. BMW promises that the M60 offers an “extremely sporty orientation”.

    Generally speaking, BMW’s M cars are among the most perfectly balanced combinations of handling and ride comfort available. Ask anyone who has a BMW M-anything and they’ll tell you how much they love driving it. The M60 gets a double-wishbone front setup and a five-link rear, combined with electric steering with Servotronic assist and variable ratio. Add standard M-tuned adaptive air suspension front and rear with electronically controlled dampers and you get “particularly comfortable handling combined with increased agility and dynamic performance”. The dual-axle air suspension also compensates for heavily loaded rides, as was the case with our three adults and luggage for four, since we were also carrying another guy’s bags. On top of that, you can set the whole thing to whatever drive mode you want to suit your mood and the conditions.

    As we ran out of Autobahn and hit the Alps, our conditions changed from flat, straight speed to a twisty mountain road, heading almost straight for something called Splugen Pass between Switzerland and Italy. Mary Shelley, author of “Frankenstein”, described the pass in her book, Hikes in Germany and Italy:

    “The road was built on the face of the precipice, sometimes dug into the side, sometimes perforated through the living rock in galleries: it passes, at intervals, from one side of the ravine to the other, and bridges of a only arch spanning the chasm… One can imagine how singular and sublime this pass is, in its bare simplicity.

    182 years later, we were perhaps going faster than Mrs. Shelley. His wooden car, as was the engineering of the day, hung on leather straps that you hoped wouldn’t break. Our M60 had continuously adjusted dampers which, according to BMW, take into account “longitudinal and lateral acceleration, road speed and steering angle as well as body and wheel acceleration on the axle front end to deliver the required damping force within milliseconds”.

    Compared to that, Mary Shelley’s carousel was a monster. Additionally, our M60 had rear-wheel steering that reduced the turning radius to just 20 feet—a feature that proved helpful in reducing back and forth through Splugen’s switchbacks. The experience has nothing to do with driving a gas-powered M2, of course; you have to get used to the quietness and immediacy of an EV, but for something over 16 feet long, it felt directly connected to the road, with immediate and precise cornering response. Coupled with 100 percent of the torque available the moment you hit the accelerator pedal, the iX M60 felt more than competent on its way up and down the 6,936-foot-high pass. The more than 20 switchbacks on the Swiss side

    and over 50 switchbacks on the Italian side proved a joy to traverse.

    The 2023 BMW iX M60 is expected in showrooms in June and takes the BMW M standard into uncharted territory. There are M versions of other gas-powered BMW SUVs – excuse me, SAVs – but none are as powerful as this one.

    With one engine in the front and a second in the rear, the M60 offers the safety and grip of all-wheel drive with the power output you expect from an M. If this is the future of M, or at least the future of M’s SAV, then run it.

    Share your thoughts on the BMW iX M60 and other sporty electric vehicles in the comments below.

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