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2023 Review of BMW iX M60 for the first time | Unorthodox M

COMO, ItalyBy BMW The range of models has been partially defined by letters for many years. You have M, X and i, and they all represent completely different personalities. If you are familiar with the naming system, you know right away that i3 and X6 CODE at opposite ends of the BMW spectrum. Some models have been pegged at the intersection of the two, like the aforementioned X6 M and iX3, but no model has ticked all three boxes until electricity BMW iX The M60 made its debut in 2022. It was the letter i, the letter X and the letter M at the same time.

Could it be wearing three hats at once or is it on the cusp of an identity crisis? I hiked through the Alps on one occasion to find out.

Most of the changes that BMW has made to the iX before deeming it worthy of wearing an M badge underneath its body. Power comes from a pair of motors (one per axle for all-wheel drive) drawing power from a massive, 111.5 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion the battery package to enable four-wheel drive with 610 horsepower and 811 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough for a quick 3.6-second sprint from 0 to 60 mph, but note that these numbers can only be unlocked with Sport mode and Launch Control enabled. Turn off both systems and you’ve got 532 horsepower and 749 pound-feet of torque under your right foot, which is still plenty. Maximum driving range is 288 miles with standard 21-inch wheels and 274 miles with optional 22-inch wheels, according to EPA. By comparison, the base iX xDrive50 also comes with all-wheel drive, but it delivers a total of 516 horsepower and 564 pound-feet of torque, taking 4.4 seconds to reach the top speed. 60 mph from the stop. Its EPA-rated maximum driving range varies from 305 to 324 miles depending on the size of the wheels.

Chassis changes are also part of the formula. The optional air suspension on the iX xDrive50 comes standard on the M60. It automatically adjusts ride height and damping based on current driving, road and load conditions, and I’ve been told it has been calibrated by the M-parts engineers to provide excellent handling. more sporty. The scroll bars are also specific to the M60.

One point worth clarifying is iX M60 is not electrical equivalent to X5 M powered by V8 . engine. It’s not a full M car.

“It’s an M Performance car, not a performance version,” BMW USA boss Frank van Meel told me. “Our goal with M Performance cars has always been to give the driver more power and more precision. We changed the chassis setup so it’s more direct and the body controllable without having to go as far as building a race car like the performance ones. The gap between series production [iX] and the pure M is so big that the client asks, ‘can you give me an additional M, but not for the track? You can develop it on the track, but please don’t give me a race car. I just want more performance and a better chassis, but don’t make it too hard. ‘”

This design approach at least partially explains why the iX xDrive50 and iX M60 look so similar. Look closely and you’ll notice that the top-of-the-range model comes with the Sport package, refined emblems and the aforementioned 21-inch wheels. It can be ordered with the optional BMW Individual Titanium Bronze Exterior, shown in our showroom and featuring gloss black and bronze exterior trim.

Step inside (don’t forget to check carbon fiber front door sill) and again you’ll notice there’s not much of a difference between the standard iX and the M60. BMW offers a long list of standard features, like a Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system, but the two variants look and feel largely the same. That’s not a bad thing: the iX offers plenty of space, comfortable seats, and an intuitive infotainment system with intelligent augmented reality-based navigation software to make sure you don’t miss out. missed a turn (it’s more helpful than you might hear). The steering wheel is a hexagon, the center console has two floors, and the dashboard is defined by an elegantly minimalist design. However, since the M60 is part of the much-vaunted M-series, won’t it get carbon fiber trim, front sport seats and splattered M emblems? No, van Meel argued.

“The dashboard itself is iconic,” he explains. “That was the discussion with iX: how much do we want to change for this unique car? It is truly unique; it’s different from all other BMWs. And, if you look at the dashboard, it will be difficult to fit carbon fiber into it because it gives you the impression of flying very lightly. So we decided not to change too much in the interior.”

When you’re browsing through our showroom, don’t be surprised by the unusually large number of bugs that have chosen iX’s user interface as their final resting place. It’s not that insects are madly attracted to design; they ended up there because it’s not your average first drive. I picked up the iX in Berlin and dropped it off more than 600 miles later in Como, Italy, after crossing Austria, Liechtenstein (a country about the size of Denver), Switzerland, and the Splügen Pass in the Alps. I experienced nearly every popular sugar imaginable on this trip.

I took the autobahn from Berlin to Munich to the whim of time and to the BMW-requested top speed (155 mph, versus 124 mph for the standard iX) for testing on the cars. road is not restricted. Getting to 155 mph is easy: like most high-powered ones Electric Car, iX delivers quick and linear acceleration without flat spots. Admittedly at this speed – which very few owners around our side will experience – the iX doesn’t feel as stable as I’d expect given the M badges it wears and the bulky battery pack that reduces significantly focus. More alarming is the range: cruise at 155 mph and you’re losing about a kilometer (or about three-fifths of a mile) in driving range every 5 or 6 seconds, according to the display in the instrument cluster. lake. Gasoline and diesel engines also burn fuel at a spectacular rate at triple-digit rates, but the fuel tank can fill up in minutes, which can’t be said of an EV. No matter what time you reach by driving at more than 150 mph, you will be lost at a charging station. If you’re wondering what kills off the unrestricted parts of the autobahn, this is it.

Austrian authorities are not nearly as enthusiastic about the idea of ​​allowing motorists to choose a ground-covering speed, and the country’s highways are limited to speeds of 75 mph like in the US. At these speeds, the iX does what it’s supposed to be: it’s comfortable and moves with ease. It’s also impressively quiet… easier said than done. Sure, there’s no number six or V8 engine to mute, but removing the engine from the equation means that other noise sources (such as wind) finally get a chance to sing for You hear. The engineers did a great job of controlling the iX’s cabin noise. There’s also some great tech: adaptive cruise control works with steering assist to keep the iX in its lane without playing ping pong with it (previous BMW systems have failed to do so). so). Enabling this system summons a specific profile in the instrument cluster that displays the vehicle, its lane, and its surroundings, including motorcyclecars and truck.

The Alps loom on the horizon almost like a mirage, with snowy peaks breaking through the clouds. This massive mountain range once thought to be indomitable (locals feared dragons lived on top in the 18th century) is now a source of excitement for hiking and driving enthusiasts. With Sport mode activated via the touchscreen to unlock the powertrain’s full power, the iX M60 feels markedly different than the xDrive50 (which I also drove in the Alps) . It leans less when entering a bend, it’s much quicker, and the four-wheel steering makes it feel more agile than it really is. Ultimately, it’s closer to the spirit of the M.

On a secondary but significant level, driving an EV up a pass is like reading a horror movie. First, a panic sprouts in your chest as you watch the range drop at an alarmingly fast rate. Wild thoughts pop into your head: “What is the probability that there is a toll station on top? Maybe someone has a generator? What if all I find is a household outlet? Oh my, Hannibal survived here with a herd of elephants in 218 BC, I could probably keep myself alive for a night or two.” But then, over the top, brake energy recovery system saves the day. There are two settings to choose from in the iX, normal and “B.” more positive. Select those dials for enough recovery time to allow one-pedal driving. On the way down, you rarely need to touch the brake pedal, and the powertrain generates the fastest electricity – if not faster! – than lose it on the way up. Edema.

While the standard iX has a base price of $84,195, including a $995 destination fee, the iX M60 starts at $106,095. Both prices do not include any government discount. Both are attractive options for those in the market for an electric SUV. They offer a spacious interior, a usable driving range and an intuitive suite of technology. They meet both i and X in their names. But for the iX M60, what about the M?

Seen through the M lens, it’s a compelling addition to the range. It doesn’t look like a typical M (or M Performance) car, but neither is it Not feels like an M car. It’s a distinctly different taste of M-ness. And, at the same time, it’s also a distinctly different flavor of i-ness compared to the iX xDrive50; it’s faster and often sportier without being overdone. It seems to know what it is. There is no identity crisis here.

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