BMW iX M60 Review - Select Car Leasing
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BMW iX M60 Review

Introduction

Somebody in Munich thought that the BMW iX just wasn’t… enough. The pure-electric SUV — a vehicle we really like — only has 523hp at its disposal, and that’s not a large enough number. Ok, it’s more powerful than an M3, but if an electric SUV is ever going to wear the famed ‘M’ badge, it needs to be faster, harder, and better than the regular everyday model.

BMW’s M Power engineers have managed to extract 619hp from the twin electric motors in the iX, turning it into the iX M60 in the process. Until the Lotus Eletre turns up, it’s the fastest electric SUV on sale.

But is it really worthy of that little M on the back, highlighted with blue, violet and red stripes?

Select's rating score* - 4.1 / 5

At a Glance

Sticking a huge battery pack into a huge SUV is relatively easy, so it’s no surprise that BMW has done that with its iX. And what a battery pack — at 112kWh, it’s one of the largest battery packs available in any car, although, thanks to the considerable weight of the vehicle, it hasn’t got the longest range.

It looks huge, too, but that enormous grille and slab sides work well in the metal — or carbon fibre-reinforced plastic. The proportions, while looking ungainly in photos, work better in real life, masking its bulk at least a little.

The M60 is a development of what's gone before, starting with the xDrive40, a model not exactly underpowered with its 326hp. You can add another 200hp with the xDrive50 M Sport, but thus M60 turns the dial all the way to 11 with 619hp. Might that be too much when the lower models already deliver enough for most?

Well, there's a thought that you can never have too much, and if you want a quiet, refined, sporting, cavernous, luxurious, aggressive, emissions-free SUV, there aren’t many to choose from. Let’s find out if this is the best…


Key Features

BMW has made some expensive decisions with the iX, all in the name of efficiency. It’s difficult to talk about efficiency when looking at a five-metre-long car weighing 2.7 tonnes, but here we are.

The car is built around a ‘carbon cage’ made from a combination of resin transfer moulded carbon fibre composites and all-carbon fibre/epoxy structures made from stitched, nonwoven fabrics and recycled carbon fibre. The body is a combination of a carbon fibre-reinforced polymer frame inside a metal space frame made up of an aluminium floor assembly and steel exterior side frames.

Or, in English, The car is primarily built from carbon fibre materials with a carbon fibre inner structure and a metal outer structure.

It gets very complicated, but the result is a car that’s the size of a BMW X5 with a body that weighs around 80kg less. Other weight savings around the car — the carbon fibre reinforced plastic boot lid saves 5kg — combine to make the iX positively lithe. At least compared to where it could have ended up.


Performance & Drive

I’ve never steered a cathedral around a race track before, but I imagine it feels very much like driving a BMW iX M60 through some sweeping B-road curves. It weighs about the same, with the scales showing 2,670kg, but that figure belies the iX’s abilities.

There’s no escaping from the sheer mass of the car, but it’s constructed of lightweight aluminium and carbon fibre reinforced plastic, which makes the bodywork positively waif-like. The bulk comes from the enormous 112kWh battery pack, which we’d expect to weigh the best part of 700kg, and that’s before you add the motors and everything else it needs to move.

All of the gubbins are located low down, underneath the floor, which means it behaves more like a low-slung sports car. A very heavy one, granted, but it’s still a feat of engineering to move something that weighs more than a Land Rover Defender to 62mph in 3.8 seconds.


That’s helped by having 619hp available, backed by 1,015Nm of torque. It doesn’t so much move the car forward as force the earth backwards, and it carries on doing that until it hits 155mph.

But it’s how it behaves on the road that is scarcely believable. Complex, fully independent suspension is supported by airbags with adaptive dampers, so the car can respond instantaneously to changing road dynamics. The steering works on both the front and rear wheels, improving high-speed stability by moving the rear wheels in the same direction as the front and aiding urban manoeuvrability at low speeds by moving them in the opposite direction.

Turn into a corner at speed, and it all works together to leave the car feeling balanced, with the rear pushing ever so slightly as you break from the apex and power your way toward the next corner. String the corners too closely together, and the iX can sometimes struggle to keep up with the direction changes, as the bulk of the car gets in the way, but ultimate grip levels are, frankly, immense.

For most journeys, it’s not quite as composed as it could be, and the regular iX certainly feels more comfortable. That could be down to the massive 22-inch alloy wheels or the revised suspensions, but either way, a little comfort has been given over in the name of driving dynamics. A bit like every other M car, then.


Running Costs

Electric cars are cheaper to run than their petrol equivalents, even with the current sky-high energy prices, but you do have to balance that against a six-figure price tag for the iX M60. At £122,775, there are few costlier cars. That translates into monthly leasing payments too, where any change from £1,500 a month will be pretty small.

At least the zero-emission status means there are low levels of company car tax to pay. The BIK burden is currently set at 2% (rising to 5% in 2027), which means a 40% taxpayer will face a bill of around £950 a year.

Recharging the iX is quick and easy, thanks to its ability to accept up to 195kW of charge. From 10% to 80% will take just 35 minutes on a suitable rapid charger, which translates to 244 miles in the time it takes to get a coffee from Costa. Be sure to get the most out of every charge by reading our guide on picking your ideal electric car charger.

Officially, it’ll manage 348 miles between charges. Our testing returned about 260 miles from a virtual tank of electrons, which is likely more than enough for most people. However, it’s not particularly efficient and only manages that range, thanks to the enormous 112kWh battery pack. A 10-80% charge will cost around £25 at home, using a normal electricity tariff — find one with off-peak rates, and that will drop as low as £6. At a rapid charger, that same 10-70% charge could end up setting you back as much as £55.


Interior

The iX is a big car, measuring almost five metres in length. With no bulky engine in the front, BMW has been able to extend the wheelbase to three metres, creating acres of room inside the cabin.

It’s almost limousine-like in the back of the SUV, with more legroom than all but the very tallest will know what to do with. Rubbing knees on the back of the driver's seat is no longer something to put up with.

Those in the front are served just as well, surrounded by a dashboard that’s both minimalist and tech-laden at the same time. A vast curved screen sits in front of the driver, running from close to the door all the way over to the edge of the passenger seat. It’s two screens, one 12.3 inches and the other measuring 14.9 inches, hidden behind a glossy panel so that it appears to be one continuous effort. 


It looks seamless enough, and uses BMW’s latest iDrive software that’s quick and easy to use. If you don’t fancy using the touchscreen, BMW has helpfully included a rotary knob between the seats to navigate your way around the system.

While we applaud the minimalism of the cabin — there’s little more than a couple of air vents elsewhere — we miss having at least a couple of buttons and switches. Navigating a digital screen to change the cabin temperature is tiresome, although you can use the voice control system to have the car sort it all out for you.

But these are relatively minor niggles in a cabin that’s otherwise luxurious, comfortable and spacious. With sustainable wood, recycled plastics and trimmed in neutral grey Design Suite Amido trim (a no-cost option), it’s as modern yet classic a place as you’ll find.


Safety

BMW has been a class leader in safety for many years, which continues with the iX. Euro NCAP has thoroughly tested the car and awarded it the maximum five-star rating, and much of that will be due to the technology BMW instals in every iX.

To avoid an accident, BMW’s ‘Driving Assistant Professional’ system aids the driver with camera and radar-based systems. Lane keeping and departure assist, adaptive cruise control, lane changing assist, traffic sign recognition and countless other technologies are installed as standard.

Automatic emergency braking will kick in when a collision is imminent, and, should it be unavoidable, the car will trigger seat belt tensioners, close the windows and unlock the doors, and switch on cabin lights. The high-voltage battery system will also be disconnected, making the car safe.

For more mundane moments, the car will park itself or, if you like to do things manually, help out with ultrasonic parking sensors and a 360-degree camera system to ensure you’re aware of any local obstacles.

The M60 also includes Laserlights that combine adaptive headlights, cornering lights and selective beam for improved night vision. In laser high-beam mode, light extends over 500 metres ahead of the car.


Options

With a price tag approaching £125,000, you’d hope that BMW had kitted out the iX M60 with as many toys as it could, and, to be fair, it’s done a solid job. If you can think of it, it’s probably already been fitted as standard equipment.

The one notable omission is the panoramic sunroof. You’ll find one fitted to a Nissan Qashqai, but BMW wants an extra £3,245 for one on your iX.

Beyond that, options are mostly limited to cosmetic touches; there are two wheel options, two optional colours at £795, bronze trim detail on the exterior for £605, and ‘Clear&Bold’ at £1,155. What’s that last one? Switches made of real crystal glass and decorative elements made of open-pored wood.

Pleasingly, BMW lets you choose from five shades of white, grey or black paint or one shade of blue at no cost. There are also six interior colour schemes to choose from, each with no charge.


Rival Cars

The most conventionally styled rival is Audi’s Q8 e-Tron SUV. Looking more like a typical SUV than a concept car, the Q8 e-Tron has all the presence and performance you need, but it’s not very efficient, and those virtual door mirrors only serve to irritate.

The Mercedes-Benz EQC is a smooth and refined model, but it lacks much in the way of excitement. It’s also not that good to drive, but it is, in fairness, a wonderful machine on the motorway.

Only the Tesla Model Y gets anywhere near the BMW in performance terms, and the Tesla charging network is still a better, more reliable option than its rivals. Ride quality isn’t very good, and neither is build quality. The digital-first dashboard is a love-or-hate design, but we’d rather have some physical buttons for essential equipment.


Verdict

The BMW iX M60 makes a case for our current understanding of physics being plain wrong. It seems unfathomable that something so big, so heavy, can perform in quite the way it does while also offering impressive comfort and cutting-edge design.

But it’s not the best iX. Yes, having 619hp and laugh-inducing acceleration and grip is appealing, but lowering your sights to the iX xDrive50 M Sport and its paltry (ahem...) 523hp will see you giving up very little in performance but gain in comfort and save around £20,000 or £300 a month. Having more isn’t always best.

Where to next?

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**Score based on Select’s unique meta score analysis, taking into account the UK’s top leading independent car website reviews of the BMW iX SUV

**Correct as of 19/06/2023. Based on 9 months initial payment, 5,000 miles over a 48 month lease. Initial payment equivalent to 9 monthly payments or £6,415.11 (Plus admin fee) Ts and Cs apply. Credit is subject to status.

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