BMW has embraced electrification wholeheartedly, with four all-electric models encompassing both its sedan and SUV line-ups. Moreover, the company has progressed mightily from the quirky cool styling of the i3. So much so, you’ll be challenged to spot an electric BMW.
Well, all of them except one.
The 2023 BMW iX is distinctly styled and somewhat polarizing in appearance. One reviewer, who shall go unnamed here, referred to the iX as “a rather shapeless lump.” Personally though, I admire its clean lines and futuristic look. In fact, the iX is genuinely sleek compared to BMW’s other sport utility models.
It’s also genuinely fast.
The iX’s closest corresponding ICE-powered BMW’s is the X5. They are similarly sized, both inside and out. But that’s where the similarities end. The iX has a personality all its own. And I’m definitely with it if this vibe is what we can expect from BMW in the future.
In typical BMW fashion, the iX delivers just the right blend of performance and luxury, albeit in a wholly distinctive fashion. Further, here in Northern California, which admittedly is BMW country, the iX drew compliments everywhere I went — even wafting silently through Old Sacramento on a Lowrider weekend.
Heads nodded in expression of pure admiration of the BMW’s suave.
Seeing the iX in person, the oversized grille treatment that has confounded so many reviewers, even while being embraced by consumers, suddenly makes sense. The design blends cohesively with the rest of the SUV. It also telegraphs the modernity of the iX in absolutely certain terms.
And, when it comes to the styling of the iX in general, the surface detailing’s overall cleanliness is one of the more impressive aspects of the design.
The electric BMW looks as if it were designed specifically to cheat the wind — which it accomplishes in a masterful fashion. Boasting a drag coefficient of .26, the iX slips through the atmosphere with less resistance than a Corvette Stingray, which has a drag coefficient of .30.
Inside, the prestigious nature of this automobile is unquestionable. At the risk of overusing the word, the interior design can only be characterized as clean. Minimalism was clearly top of mind when the designers went to work on this passenger compartment.
As is common these days, a curvilinear panel housing a pair of digital monitors for the instrumentation and infotainment functions dominates the dash. The hexagonal steering wheel also captivates the eye. Beyond those two standout elements, the rest of the interior is appreciated most by those with an eye toward detail.
Crystal-shaped controls for seat adjustment, tasteful metallic trim pieces housing buttons for opening the doors and the innovative electrochromic sunroof give the airy interior design distinction. What’s more, physical buttons are few and far between.
A grand total of five can be found on the center console, one each for gear selection, volume control, the parking brake and activating the powertrain. Rounding out the count, a large round crystalline controller serves as an input interface for the iDrive system. All other controls on the console reside beneath an open-pore walnut surface. Tasteful lettering and haptic feedback ensure you’ll activate the desired function.
Ingress and egress are easy and cargo capacity is more than ample, even with the back seat deployed. In fact, the iX is just short of cavernous with its rear seat folded away.
Are you into numbers? Well, check these out. The 2023 BMW iX M60 offers a maximum of 610 horsepower and 811 pound-feet of torque. The all-wheel system uses a pair of motors (one for each axle) and a single-speed transmission.
Those horsepower and torque figures are obtained when using what BMW refers to as “Sport Boost” and launch mode. The system delivers 532 hp and 749 lb-ft of torque in its normal configurations.
The liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack is good for 106.3 kWh and can be DC fast charged at a peak rate of 195kW. The power pack is also capable of being charged to 90% of its capacity from 90% depletion in 50 minutes using a DC fast charging system.
While range for the M60 powertrain is quoted at 274 miles, I routinely averaged in excess of 300. However, that was accomplished by avoiding the M60’s full potential. Indulging myself in all the powertrain had to offer, I saw roughly 250 miles of range.
Safety and Technology
As the grille is no longer tasked with serving the BMW’s cooling system, it can be freed up to perform other responsibilities. These include housing the iX’s camera technology, radar functions and sensors — behind a transparent surface.
BMW’s iDrive 8 system offers a wealth of proficiencies, including voice activation for nearly every occupant-adjustable aspect of the car. Gesture control is a mainstay of its capabilities as well. However, in my opinion, the design team has relied too heavily on those modes of interfacing with the system.
So much so, that operating the climate control system verges on nightmarish. Voice activation exacerbates the execution of tasks that would only take a second to perform with a button — or an always-available touchscreen icon.
It got to be infuriating when I saw a car belching smoke up ahead, knowing I’d have to hold my breath to avoid inhaling it because the system is so slow to respond to a verbal request activate the recirculate mode. And don’t even get me started on the overwhelmingly complex row of icons that came up on the infotainment screen when I called up its climate control mode.
On the other hand, along with that complexity comes broad flexibility, customization opportunities and capabilities.
Meanwhile, among the iX’s standard driver-assists are parking sensors, autonomous emergency braking, automatic high-beam headlamps, and lane-keeping assist systems. Options include adaptive cruise control with a semi-autonomous driving mode. The iX can even be trusted to go and park itself, when suitably equipped.
Zero to 60 in three seconds is insanely fast in anything. That a 5700-pound SUV is capable of this feat is almost surreal. I’m talking head thrown back against the headrest and afterwards checking to see if you wet your pants fast. While BMW may have become more conscious of its role in preserving the ecosystem, it hasn’t lost sight of its ultimate driving machine mantra.
And yet, when driven civilly, the tranquility of the cabin is reminiscent of that of another product line in the BMW Group’s brand portfolio — Rolls Royce. The iX, even rolling on 21s, is just plain quiet y’all. As a result, this BMW has a duality of nature seldom found at this level of competence.
Agility is astonishing for a vehicle of its size and height, passing power is almost ridiculously ample and the huge disc brakes provide incredible stopping power. The iX M60 also offers one-pedal driving, which can be huge fun, once you master its nuances.
Cornering is impressive, though the M60 does remind you it weighs more than 5,700 pounds when you ask it to change direction quickly in a repeated fashion. However, the agility it does offer, when paired with its incredible acceleration potential does make for a lot of fun stringing the BMW from corner to corner.
2023 BMW iX M60 Specifications
|L: 195 inches/W: 77.4 inches/H: 66.8 inches/Wheelbase: 118.1 inches
|Two electric synchronous motors; 1-speed automatic, AWD
|280 miles of range
|610 horsepower and 811 pound-feet of torque
|Base price: $105,100; As tested: $109,270 including $995 destination charge
Having driven all of the mainstream manufacturer’s EV SUV offerings, I can say with confidence the BMW iX is the best of the current (no pun intended) lot. It’s fast, agile, capacious, comfortable luxurious and, to my eye, very good looking.
Now, with that said, I’d have a bit of a hard time choosing an M60 over an xDrive50. The latter’s starting price is only $87,100. Plus, it can be outfitted with all of the comfort and convenience features of the M60 — and still be had for less money.
Moreover, the 516-hp xDrive50 is good for a 4-second zero to 60, making it only marginally slower than the M60. Now, of course, there are a few for whom only the absolute best will do, and for you — yeah, the BMW iX M60 IS all that. So go ‘head wit’ yo’ bad self ….
2023 BMW iX M60 — Frequently Asked Questions
Is the iX M60 worth it?
Well, the asking price is some $22k higher than the xDrive50, which is only marginally slower. Plus, you can get all of the M60’s kit on the xDrive50, for less money. Ultimately though, it comes down to personal preference.
What is the range of the iX M60?
Driving conservatively, I saw in excess of 300 miles. Driving vigorously, I saw range drop by roughly 25%.
Is the iX as big as the X5?
While the iX is approximately the same length as an X5, the iX is far more spacious than an X5 and has more cargo capacity.