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May 16, 2023
5 Min Read
2023 BMW iX M60BMW
A week in BMW’s electric iX M60 shows that the company has been able to capture more of its “Ultimate Driving Machine” spirit in this high-performance version of the company’s iX crossover SUV whose dynamics didn’t impress me when I tested that previously. This M-badged version of the iX sharpens its reflexes to deliver more of the handling BMW customers expect, though this sharper handling comes at the expense of a stiffer, less comfortable ride that the base version of the iX.
The rough ride is exacerbated by the M60’s 22-inch wheels, which provide the concept car looks fashion-forward drivers seek while punishing them for vanity with an unyielding ride over bumps. This is in spite of the iX’s excellent double-wishbone front suspension and multilink rear suspension with active damping and air suspension. There is some irony in this BMW crossover SUV boasting high-performance wishbone suspension after decades of apologists for the widespread use of inferior budget-minded McPherson strut suspension pointing to the use of struts by BMW’s performance icons such as the M3.
It helps to have a strong platform so the suspension can do its work unhindered by the participation of a flexible frame acting as an undamped spring to muddle the work of the springs, dampers, and anti-roll bars. BMW accomplishes this with its impressive aluminum spaceframe and carbon cage with carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) in the roof, side and rear sections.
Unfortunately, the driver doesn’t really feel the benefit of this rigidity through a feeling of sturdiness because the iX has frameless windows in its doors that seem to rattle in the doorframe. I had never really considered that one of the main reasons why convertibles (which typically feature frameless windows) feel like rattletraps is this fluttering of the windows in their doorframes.
Another aspect of the frameless windows is that they do a worse job of controlling wind noise than windows with frames do. Wind noise is especially noticeable in electric vehicles and driving the iX back-to-back with the silent Genesis GV70 underscored this deficiency in the BMW. BMW employs a lovely soundtrack by Hans Zimmer, who truly demonstrates his mastery of soothing sound in the background sound he has created for BMW to accompany the iX’s various drive modes. However, the desire to mask the wind noise is surely part of the reason BMW commissioned Zimmer when it could have gone with quieter doors and windows. I cannot imagine the intended benefits of opting for frameless windows in an SUV.
A note on the drive modes: they are Personal, Sport, Efficient, Expressive, Relaxing, and Digital Art. These modes change the soundtrack, the design of the display screens, and the M60’s accelerator pedal response. A nice touch on the Relaxing mode is that it automatically starts the car’s seat massager. The Sport mode, alternatively, inflates the seats’ pneumatic side bolsters to provide additional lateral support for the anticipated aggressive cornering maneuvers.
There is no questioning the effectiveness of the iX M60’s performance drivetrain. The 610-horsepower (using Sport Boost) and 811 lb.-ft. (Launch mode) all-wheel-drive powertrain fires the M60’s 5,769 lbs. of mass to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds and to a speed-limited maximum velocity of 155 mph.
An aspect of the M60’s curb weight worth considering is that its maximum gross weight, like that of pickup trucks, is limited by the tires’ ability to carry the weight. In this case, the heavy battery electric vehicle leaves 1,000 lbs. of carrying capacity. This means that with five 200-lb. occupants aboard, which is not an outlandish scenario these days, the M60 has zero cargo-carrying capacity. This probably won’t affect most people, but it is a limitation owners should understand.
State of Charge
The M60’s 369-volt battery pack stores 111.5 kilowatt-hours of electricity, 106.3 kWh of which is accessible. It has speedy 11 kW AC Level 2 charging, which is faster than my ChargePoint home charger (which is rated at 9.6 kW) can supply. It would shave two hours off the 12.25 hours needed to fully charge a dead battery if I had a faster charger, according to BMW.
The maximum DC fast charging is 195 kW. BMW says plugging the M60 into a 250 kW DC charger will boost the state of charge from 10 percent to 80 percent in 35 minutes, though it has been my experience that in the real world, it is rare to achieve the best-case claims by manufacturers. Perhaps with practice and the familiarity that comes with ownership, it becomes easier to accomplish this.
With the range-reducing 22-inch wheels, the tested M60’s EPA-estimated range is 274 miles on a fully charged battery. However, the range achieved during a 70-mph highway drive was only 175 miles. A nice feature on the iX’s predicted range display is that it shows the current estimated maximum and minimum driving range on the remaining charge, which should at least help reduce the surprise of shorter range and let drivers know to plan their next charging stop.
The bottom line for all of this is hefty. The base price for the iX M60 starts at $106.095, including destination charges. But the as-tested price of the vehicle I drove was $113,420, thanks to additions such as the Luxury Package (which includes the word trim and glass controls like the shifter) and the Driving Assistance Pro Package (which includes the Active Driving Assistant Pro and the Parking Assistant Pro), along with the aforementioned 22-inch wheels.
Interestingly, in an apparent supply chain-related problem, the test vehicle included a $175 discount for its lack of lumbar adjustment on the passenger seat.
The BMW iX M60 will surely deliver what BMW fans who want a sporty SUV are looking for. They will just need to tread lightly on the accelerator pedal if they want to achieve the car’s rated driving distance during highway trips.
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