With the development of electric vehicles starting to move at warp speed, we’ve seen some truly unique designs emerge from manufacturers, keen to flex their talent with the clean design slate of an EV.
Porsche delivered us the scorching Taycan. Mercedes gave us the spaceship-like and screen-loaded, EQS. VW recaptured its flower-power, with the e-powered ID Buzz. Hyundai gave us cyber-punk on wheels – twice – with the Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6.
So, what does BMW, a brand with early-stage electric vehicle experience under its belt, deliver as its new-era flagship electric vehicle? Well, the answer was shocking.
The BMW iX. It drew plenty of attention. Not all of it positive. Okay well, most of it wasn’t positive. It even resulted in BMW’s social media team responding to some critics by saying “Okay Boomer” (I’m not even joking).
Although if you divert your attention from the looks for a moment, the spec-sheet will tell you that there’s some rather impressive engineering underneath the iX. That’s before BMW’s M Division decided to give the iX the bonkers treatment, delivering us the iX M60.
The iX M60 is what we have before us. So, how does this technically incredible, yet realistically bonkers EV SUV perform? We had the keys to find out.
What We Like and Dislike About The 2022 BMW iX M60
|What we like||What we don’t like|
Sublime ride quality
Best sound system I’ve heard in a car
Wonderfully comfortable seats
Plenty of cool tech tricks
Annoying levels of configurability
Compromised boot space
Not really a performance car
Hard to justify price over mid-range model
Here and now product – perhaps better to come?
What’s In The 2022 BMW iX M60 Range?
There are three variants of the BMW iX available for New Zealand buyers. These are priced below
|BMW iX xDrive 40||425kms||$169,600|
|BMW iX xDrive 50||630kms||$204,800|
|BMW iX M60||566kms*||$238,900|
The entry level – well, maybe “entry-level” is the wrong term, given the price tag – iX xDrive 40 features dual motors with a 77kWh battery, outputting 240kW of power and 630Nm of torque.
The mid-range (or long-range model), BMW iX xDrive 50 features dual motors with 111.5kWh battery, with a peak output of 385kW of power and 765Nm of torque.
Finally, the king of the hill, the BMW iX M60 features dual motors with 111.5kWh battery, but with peak outputs of 455kW and 1100Nm.
No clean car rebates here – you’re well out of the price range here, sonny.
2022 BMW iX M60 Equipment Highlights
- 22” M Aerodynamic Alloys, non-Runflat
- Adaptive 2-Axle Air Suspension
- Alarm System
- Ambient Lighting
- Automatic Air Conditioning, 4-Zone
- Active Seat Ventilation
- BMW Iconic Sounds
- BMW Laserlights
- BMW Live Cockpit Pro, BMW Operating System 8
- BMW Natural Interaction
- Bowers Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System
- Charging Cable – Mode 2 for domestic sockets
- Charging Cable – Mode 3 for public chargers
- Comfort Access
- Connected Drive eDrive Services
- DAB+ Digital Radio
- Driving Assistant Professional
- Integral Active Steering
- Interior Camera
- Multifunctional Seats, incl. heat, ventilation and massage
- Panorama Glass Roof Sky Lounge
- Parking Assistant Professional
- Rear Seat Heating
- Shadow Line Exterior
- Steering wheel heating
- Sport Package
- Soft-close doors
- Storage for Wireless Charging
- Sun Protection Glazing
- Tyre Pressure Monitor
- Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
Being a BMW, there’s also a sizable options list, including:
- Comfort Package – $3,400 (heated steering wheel, ventilated seats, heated armrests and door panels)
- Drive Recorder – $400
- Heated Steering wheel – $500
- Blue Seat Belts – $550
- Active Seat Ventilation – $1,500
- Folding Towbar – $2,600
There are eight different colours available for your iX:
- Alpine White
- Sapphire Black Metallic
- Sophisto Grey Metallic
- Mineral White Metallic
- Phytonic Blue Metallic
- Blue Ridge Mountain Metallic
- Storm Bay (Blue/Grey) ($2,600)
- Aventurine Red ($2,600)
For more information on the BMW iX, visit the BMW New Zealand website.
How Does The BMW iX M60 Compare To Its Competition?
Choices for luxury electric SUVs in New Zealand are thin. But check back in a few years, because this segment will most certainly explode.
|BMW iX M60||111.5||455/1100||3.8||566||500||$238,990|
|Audi e-tron S Sportback||95||370/973||4.5||378||615||$190,400|
|Jaguar I-Pace HSE||90||470/696||4.8||470||470||$169,900|
First Impressions Of The 2022 BMW iX M60
Oh boy. Where do we begin?
The IX certainly was a shock to the system when it first debuted, and the internet reacted accordingly. The internet was not kind to the iX.
For BMW fanatics, it was worse. BMW, the brand with a storied design history, which gave us beloved cars like the 2002, the E30 M3, E39 M5, E46 M3 and Z8 among many others, had reduced themselves down to… this.
So, what do I think of ‘this’? Well, the iX is ugly. Plain and simple. Apologists might say things like “well, it does grow on you”, or “it’s not so bad from the back”. While they may have a point, as far as I’m concerned the moment you’ve started to make excuses, you’ve already lost. I also think the bronze trim featured on our press car is trying too hard to signal luxury, and it just looks tacky as a result.
But, are the looks absolutely critical? On a supercar, yep. But on an SUV? If the rest of it is good, surely you can tolerate a weird face.
And I’ll tell you now, the rest of it is pretty darn good.
What’s The Interior Like In The 2022 BMW iX M60?
The moment you open the door to the cabin, you’ll see where BMW’s designers have really come through. Honestly, one could think BMW locked their A-team designers in the cabin and forgot where the key was.
This interior is impressive. From the curved infotainment screen, the crystal-finished controls, the tanned leather and the alloys and wood finishes, the whole cabin has a genuine wow factor when you first encounter it.
It’s also a much cleaner design compared to the BMW interior architecture which preceded it. This could be viewed as a positive or a negative because I think BMW had the soft-to-physical control balance nearly perfected with their older cars.
BMW has also gone to extensive lengths to source sustainable materials for the cabin. For example, the leather is responsibly sourced and tanned using olive leaves. Door substructure is made of 100% recycled material, and the visible parts are made of 30% recycled materials. The floor mats and floor coverings are made from 80% recycled nylon. In lower trim iX models, the dinamica microfibre upholstery is made with 50% recycled polyester. None of these materials feels low rent either.
That said, there is a substantial amount of hard plastic in this interior, despite the commanding price tag.
BMW also claims to take a shy-tech approach to the design, meaning the technology isn’t intended to be in your face. Examples of this include hidden speaker housings, hidden HUD projectors, radiant heat in the dash and door panels, and haptic controls concealed by open-pore wood trim.
Although BMW claims to be more subtle with its tech, there are still plenty of gadgets to show off.
Of all the party pieces, the iX’s electro-chromatic roof ranks near the top of that list. A touch of a button will frost-over the glass to block out the sunlight. The panel has a naturally heavy tint, meaning light isn’t exactly flooding into the cabin, but it does its job nonetheless. Also, the downside of the electro-chromatic trickery means the roof doesn’t open.
The iX’s front seats are another highlight. Comfortable, supportive and exuding quality. A simple brush of the leather upholstery will give you a sense of that quality.
Sure, the singular opening on the seat back sort of reminds me of Hal 9000 module from 2001: A Space Odyssey (minus the red-eye, of-course), but otherwise they’re wonderful for sinking info for hours on end.
Although you lose some configurability with the fixed seatback design, you can still adjust these seats a thousand and one ways. BMW opted for the fixed seatback design so they could install headrest speakers, but I’ll touch on this a bit later.
Our press vehicle also has the comfort package equipped, meaning the seats are heated, cooled and even the armrests and door panels will heat up too. I was slightly apprehensive at the idea of a heated armrest, but man, I did enjoy it. There’s also a massage function, but only for the driver. C’mon BMW. That’s a bit stingy given that the iX M60 is nearly a quarter of a mill. First-world problems, I suppose.
Those in the rear seats aren’t left out of the experience. Rear passengers have excellent seats, along with yards of head and leg room. They get to enjoy their own microclimate back there, with the outboard seats being heated, along with having access to dual-zone climate control – meaning the entire car has quad-zone climate control. On the back of the front seats are 2x USB-C ports (4 in total), and a mounting point for which BMW will sell you accessories such as tablet holders and coat hangers to attach.
Although the iX is dimensionally similar to the BMW X5 on the outside, it’s not going to be a BMW X5 replacement. An area where this becomes apparent is in the boot.
The opening of the boot on the iX is considerably narrower compared with a BMW X5. In terms of overall size, the iX is closer to the X3. The iX has 500L of boot space with the rear seats in place, the X3 has 550L and the X5 has 650L.
As the infotainment increasingly becomes the mind of the car, manufacturers have been looking at ways to differentiate themselves from the days of simply sticking a screen onto the dash and calling it a job done. BMW’s closest rival, Mercedes, appears to have taken inspiration from the TV section at JB-HiFi with their hyper-screen in the EQS.
BMW, on the other hand, have taken a classier approach by affixing a curved infotainment-instrument panel combination screen onto the dash. From the driver’s perspective, it’s brilliant. High resolution, rich colours and black levels, and importantly, it’s not so tall that it becomes intrusive. Despite being curved, it’s not obscured from your passengers.
The infotainment system is running i-Drive 8, which is BMW’s latest version of the software. You can control it via touch, or using the glass rotary dial on the centre console.
BMW are no stranger to infotainment software. After all, BMW was one of the first to start developing in-car infotainment software when they debuted their first version of i-Drive back in 2001. It also means that BMW has well over 20 years of design experience and data collection to assist with its development.
In brief, i-Drive 8 is great to use. It’s fast, responsive, and logically laid out. It also gives you a strong sense it’s been developed specifically as car software, as opposed to third-party software which has been plucked off the shelf and made to work with the car. The difference is that one intuitively makes more sense, and the other ends up just being an iPad stuck to the dash.
Of course, as BMW has started to reduce the number of physical controls, it has added to the system bloat. It’s not slower, but there are a load of apps and controls integrated into this thing, which can make it annoying to scroll through. Surrounding the glass rotary dial are haptic-feedback controls for the infotainment, containing many of the useful shortcuts. The buttons still require a firm press, meaning that nice piece of wood concealing them shifts like a balance board every time to interact with it. It’s accurate, but using it feels awkward.
The infotainment is connected to a 30-speaker Bowers and Wilkins audio system. Yup, 30. Sounds like overkill, doesn’t it? But it gets better than that. BMW involved audio engineers with the cabin design, and they clearly let them have a bit of rope. The speakers have been optimally placed around the cabin and are cloaked with acoustic fabric. The partnership with B&W has placed a series of high-quality speakers throughout, including B&W’s nautilus diamond tweeters in the doors and on the dashboard. There’s even proper equaliser software in there too.
It’s possibly the best sound system I’ve experienced in any car, provided you balance everything correctly. I include this caveat because the audio system does have some gimmicks. There are sub-woofers installed directly into the seat, which produces a vibrating bass through the chair when 4D sound is enabled. The last time I experienced a seat that would vibrate in such a fashion was when I installed a 14’’ sub-woofer into my 1994 Honda Integra. Needless to say, I swiftly turned this function off.
What’s The 2022 BMW iX M60 Like To Drive?
The BMW iX M60 is a vehicle of excess. It’s excessively luxurious, and has excessive amounts of power and torque, plus it’s excessively expensive. There’s also an excessive amount of engineering that went into the development of this vehicle, which we’ll touch back on a bit later.
Anyway, let’s talk excessive power. The iX M60 delivers 445kW of power and a monstrous 1,100Nm of torque, which is enough to make the earth feel like it’ll spin the other way.
Although, there is a caveat to these numbers. They’re ‘peak’ figures, which BMW has said is only available when launch control is active and when the battery is above a certain charge level. If you’re simply cruising around, the iX’s delivers only 397kW of power and 1,015Nm of torque – which is still more than enough to put your neck out.
There’s also a second caveat, which is weight. All that excessive power and torque needs to displace the iX’s hefty body, which, yup you guessed it, is excessively heavy. How heavy? About 2.7 tonnes heavy! That’s more than 500kg heavier than a Toyota Hilux SR5 Cruiser.
Furthermore, that figure is the quoted kerb weight, meaning passengers and luggage aren’t factored into the equation either. Once you’ve stacked all that into the car, you’ll have a mid-size SUV that’s tipping the scale on the other side of 3 tonnes!
Batteries are heavy after all, and the iX is packing a big one. A 111.5kWh battery, with the cells being co-developed by ACTL and BMW themselves. The battery is based on BMW’s 5th generation architecture, which is a 400V design. The next 6th gen battery under development is going to be 800V, which will slash charging times.
On this subject, it’s a convenient time to discuss some of the engineering feats that BMW has achieved with the iX. The electric motors are electro-synchronous, and do not use permanent magnets. The advantages of ditching the magnets include the ability to precisely control the motor with the metered supply of electrical energy. It means that ABS or stability control are not needed should you encounter wheel slip – the motor will take care of that itself. It also means that there are fewer rare-earth metals required for magnetic components in manufacturing, which is another plus for the environment.
Surprisingly, BMW has also gone to some serious lengths to keep the weight down too. I know, you’re probably squinting after reading that, but hear me out. The body is an aluminium space frame, which only uses steel in select areas, such as the roof panel to house the electro-chromatic sunroof. The IX even uses CFRP, or carbon-fibre reinforced plastic, in the door-sill areas and also around the boot opening to trim down the amount of metal used. You’ll see upon opening any door.
Anyway, back to performance. The M60 can still displace itself in a laughably quick manner. 0-100kp/h is dealt with in 3.8 seconds, before topping out at an electronically limited top speed of 250kp/h. The performance of this big Barvarian barge is almost surreal. Nothing this heavy should move this quickly unless it has wings.
The silly performance is certainly enough to make a grown man giggle, but the novelty does start to wear off. Virtually every high-performance EV can throw you into the horizon at blistering pace, but the process in which they do it is just so clinical. It’s quick, but sort-of unengaging.
It’s a similar story with the iX’s handling. It handles remarkably well for such a chonky SUV, and it’ll even use its trick dual-axle air suspension to lower itself closer to the ground the faster you go, just to hug the road that bit better. That said, you can tell the iX M60 doesn’t like being pushed to its limit. Driving fast feels like you’re bending the boundaries of physics, but not in a good way. You can feel the weight in the corners, and a faster one will see the iX hold a tilt. To the iX’s credit, it never gave up, but no matter how much mechanical excellence and software trickery is behind you, humans generally lose in a fight against physics. Its steering might be accurate, but feels completely vague. Perfect for daily drive, but a total meh for anyone looking to enjoy themselves.
So yes, the iX M60 obviously isn’t a sports car, but it’s not really a sports SUV either. But, there’s two counterarguments I’d make in favour of the iX. One – sports SUVs are stupid. Two – the performance figures and handling aren’t the highlight anyway.
Instead, the highlight of the iX is its buttery-smooth ride quality. The ride is so good, that you won’t want to hoon everywhere. If anything, you’ll want to slow right down to enjoy it. The body control is also excellent, that you’ll feel like you’re floating across rougher roads.
Not even the Mercedes EQS – which I drove recently – can match the iX’s overall ride quality, and that’s saying something.
I suppose that’s also why BMW named this the M60, rather than an XiM. Not because ‘XiM’ sounds like a cartoon character, but because the iX M60 really isn’t a performance SUV like the X5M or the Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT. Instead, it’s more like a M340i, or a M550i. Utterly competent at their daily duties, while still having enough straight-line performance to make your friends piss their pants. This character is arguably better suited for those considering an iX, in my view.
But it also bears the question, is the M60’s extra performance really worth the extra money if you’re simply doing the daily grind? After all, the iX M50 is still pretty darn rapid.
Speaking of the daily grind, the iX has all the tech toys to make your life easy, and in some cases, more interesting. Among these is a comprehensive suite of driver’s assistance technology.
The core software works well, but it does require a bit of tinkering to get it adjusted just right. For example, the adaptive cruise has a feature where it will not pass another car on the left, which is switched on by default. This would be great in Europe where manoeuvres such as this are frowned upon by the local constabulary, but it’s not great for New Zealand – for obvious reasons. Fortunately, you can switch this off, and it’ll stay that way. Otherwise, the adaptive cruise control is excellent, save for the fact that you can only change the following distance via the infotainment, which can be a pain.
The lane keep assistance doesn’t require as much fiddling and it’ll keep you centred with relative accuracy. However, it’s not the best system I’ve used.
Although, the best bit of technology, by far, is BMW’s adaptive regenerative braking. Where EV’s other brands use fixed levels of regen, with some using steering wheel paddles to just the levels, BMW has managed to work out a system that adapts to your location. For example, if you’re approaching a roundabout, the iX will increase the regen levels – up to a one-pedal driving level. Out on the open road, lifting off the accelerator will produce only a small amount of regen, allowing for further coasting. It sounds overbearing at first, but it works so naturally. It’s possibly one of the best regenerative braking systems I’ve encountered.
Moving onto the more quirky stuff, BMW has developed different soundtracks for the IX, which will simulate an acceleration noise. BMW even got Hans Zimmer involved to help them develop it – ya know, the guy that did the movie soundtracks for Inception and Interstellar, The result is a sound that isn’t anything like an internal combustion vehicle, but instead is more akin to the sound of some futuristic sci-fi vehicle accelerating. It’s an interesting experience – quite fun the first few times. But, I’ll stick with my engine noises, thanks.
FRED’S POINT OF VIEW
I was looking forward to getting behind the wheel of the iX M60 after Alistair had done his week in the car. My wife and I took the iX xDrive 40 on a 1,100km trip to the Bay of Plenty last Easter, and the car was perfect for that.
With 440kW and 1,100Nm of torque, the M60 version could only be better. If it’s performance you are after, then yes the M60 is quicker than the xDrive 40 model. But for me, it was a bit too much. The car felt a bit too nervous on the accelerator, and driving it smoothly became an art. For that reason, I made extensive use of the iX’s adaptive cruise while I had the car, to both make for a smoother drive and to keep my license.
I still love the adaptive regen – absolutely the best brake regen system out there. The comfort is there, space, tech, and those screens. Not to mention that massive sunroof with its fancy trick. All very geeky and cool.
But for driving it, I think I’d stick to the cheaper models. The handling isn’t up to M standards, and I don’t think I could justify the extra cost.
2022 BMW iX M60 – Specifications
|Vehicle Type||Medium-size SUV EV|
|Price as Tested||$241,500|
|Engine||111.5kWh battery with electro-synchronous dual electric motors|
|Power, Torque |
Actual driving output is 397/1015
|Transmission||Single speed fixed gear|
|Spare Wheel||Tyre repair kit|
|Kerb Weight, Kg||2,659|
|Length x Width x Height |
|4953 x 1967 x 1695|
|Boot Space / Cargo Capacity, Litres|
(seats up/seats down)
|Energy Economy, kWh/100km||Advertised Spec – Combined – 21.7 – 24.7|
Real-World Test – Combined – 23.6
Low Usage: 6-10 / Medium Usage 11-19 / High Usage 19+
|Towing Capacity |
|Turning circle |
Small: 6-10m / Medium 10-12m / Large 12m+
|Warranty||5 Year Warranty|
3 Years Roadside Assist
3 Years Free Servicing
3 Years Connected Drive Services
Battery Warranty: 8 years/160,000Km
|Safety information||ANCAP Rating – 5 stars |
Rightcar.govt.nz – 5 Stars
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