- Price and features – Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?
- Design – Is there anything interesting about its design?
- Practicality – How practical is the space inside?
- Drivetrain – What are the key stats for the drivetrain?
- Energy consumption – How much does it consume? What’s the range like, and what it’s like to recharge?
- Safety – What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?
- Ownership – What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?
- Driving – What’s it like to drive?
Flippin' fast! Long driving range Futuristic styling
Very expensive Unrefined power delivery No front trunk
Electric cars might be synonymous with Tesla right now, but as the world begins to ween itself off petrol and diesel, you can bet other car brands will be vying for the spotlight.
BMW is no stranger to the electric market with its i3 hatchback having first launched back in 2014, but with buyers shifting away from passenger cars to SUVs, that quirky model never really managed to find a substantial audience.
Enter BMW’s second-generation of EVs, then, which includes the i4 sedan, iX3 mid-size SUV and flagship iX.
And it is the latter that we’re testing here to see if BMW has done enough to shift the limelight away from Tesla and its Model X.
Based on new car retail price
This price is subject to change closer to release data
Price and features – Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?
The 2023 BMW iX is available in four flavours, with the entry-level xDrive40 variant coming in at $135,900, before on-road costs.
The same powertrain is also available in Sport trim for $149,900, while a higher-output xDrive50 Sport sits at $174,900.
However, the top dog of the iX range is the M60, priced at a substantial $222,900.
As you can probably tell by the M badging, the iX M60 has more of a performance bent than its more affordable siblings, but it still commands a nearly $90,000 premium over the entry-level BMW electric SUV.
You are also getting a long list of equipment for the spend, though, with standard equipment including keyless entry, push-button start, heated and cooled front seats, a head-up display, and four-zone climate control – all things expected of a luxury model like the BMW iX.
The over-the-top extras you get on the M60 however, include soft-close doors, 22-inch alloy wheels and an electrochromic glass roof which can change its opacity by sending electricity through the middle layer of film. How high tech!
We also like that the iX can use the front-facing camera as a dashcam so you do not have an unsightly camera with long cables attached to the windscreen.
The iX M60 also features a curved 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and massive 14.9-inch multimedia touchscreen with the latest ‘iDrive 8’ software.
Look, there’s no denying the iX M60 is a pricey vehicle, especially when stacked up against the Audi e-tron S ($173,900) and Jaguar I-Pace HSE ($160,217), but the BMW does kick it up a notch in performance compared to its perceived rivals.
Tesla’s upcoming Model X Plaid will no doubt have something to say about that, but pricing and timing for that model is yet to be revealed. For reference, the last Model X offered in Australia was in 2020, and the top-spec Performance variant was priced at $177,375.
So, does the BMW iX M60 represent good value for money? Not really. But buying a brand-new iPhone whatever on the day it launches is also not good value for money.
Early adopters and people who appreciate having the very latest in technology will always be asked to pay a premium.
Design – Is there anything interesting about its design?
Close your eyes and ask your eight-year-old self what an electric BMW SUV would look like, and chances are something like the iX will come to mind.
Sleek and slender, but still very BMW is the best way we can describe the iX.
Of course, we cannot talk about styling on a BMW without mentioning its front grille.
With a more vertically stacked orientation, the iX’s grille has been described as ‘toothy’ or even an ‘eye sore’ by the public in the past. But honestly, we think this attention-grabbing front end suits the swagger of the M60.
The gold highlights throughout are especially baller, and the grille serves as double-duty to hide a lot of the front-facing cameras and sensors required for more of the high-tech driving features like semi-autonomous driving.
The grille is flanked by BMW’s usual quad-headlight design for a menacing appearance on the road, and we particularly like the contrasting colours and sharp lines of our grey-coloured test car.
Another cool feature is the front badge, which can be popped up and serves as an inlet for the windscreen washer jets.
In profile, the 22-inch wheels look almost too small against the huge swathes of bodywork, but BMW has done a good job in slimming down the M60 thanks to the gloss-black stripe that runs along the bottom of the doors.
Speaking of, the handles might not pop-out like some of its rivals, but the recessed handle is highlighted nicely with gold-copper accents that also run along the beltline and door mirrors.
The D-pillar is also broken up with a blacked-out section that divides the roof, also helping slim down the behemoth BMW, and up close the section is embossed with ‘iX’.
At the rear, the clamshell boot might look large and bulky, but the design is helped by the very slender tail-lights and bumper broken up with more gloss-black.
Step inside the cabin, and the iX’s aesthetics are similarly unconventional, but the interior design also follows function.
For starters, the odd-shaped steering wheel is the feature that stands out the most, but you quickly realise the flat bottom helps with entry and exit into the driver’s seat.
As an all-electric model, there is no transmission tunnel, with the footwell between the driver and front passenger easily accessible for a more open-feeling cabin.
There is an armrest of course, while the area for multimedia controls is adorned with a one-piece, wood-like finish to contrast the crystal control knob. It’s a mix of technology and the natural environment, you see, much like the iX itself.
Do we love the styling of the iX M60? Much in the same way Louis Vuitton’s latest fashion range might not appeal to the masses, the iX M60 is likewise a polarising proposition.
To answer the question, yes, the iX M60 is a very stylish SUV that draws the eye and turns heads like nearly nothing else on the road – and that is exactly the point.
Practicality – How practical is the space inside?
Despite what it might look like on the outside or how it drives behind the wheel, BMW’s iX is undoubtedly a large SUV in shape.
Measuring nearly five metres long, and featuring a 1967mm width and 1696mm height, the iX M60 is certainly a sizeable machine.
However, it is the three-metre long wheelbase that is the most important measurement here, as it enables a vast and expansive interior space fit for the family.
The front passengers have ample room to get comfortable, and like we said in the design section of the review, there is nothing dividing the footwells of occupants up front.
This makes it the perfect place to park a backpack, handbag or even nappy bag when on the go, and means the front passenger doesn’t lose out on any legroom.
Even the armrest affords storage solutions for all the little things you might have you in pockets, while a wireless smartphone charger means you always have somewhere to place your device.
The front seats, finished in a quilted leather, might look plain, but are wonderfully supportive – even when the speedo climbs and you’re carving up corners.
And in the rear, the story is largely the same, with seats that look and feel great and plenty of room for passengers to get comfortable.
My 163cm frame had no problems with leg-, head- or shoulder-room, but the base middle seat is raised a little.
We’ll also call out the great way BMW has hidden the ISOFIX mounting points for child seats, which is hidden by a flap that can be raised or lowered depending on what is needed.
It’s an elegant solution to something that can be an eyesore in other models, and shows the lengths BMW has gone to for the little details.
There is also a fold-down armrest for passengers back there, while the back of the front seats feature two USB-C charging ports, map pockets and spots to insert entertainment screens.
Open the clamshell boot and there is a cavity that will swallow 500 litres of volume, plenty for a small family like ours, with the charging cables hidden neatly under the floor.
The boot floor is very long, too, meaning large objects will easily fit into the rear, while the 40/20/40 rear seats can be folded down to increase carrying capacity to 1750L.
To put that into perspective, something like the Ford Ranger is rated for more than 1200L in its tray, and while we would never condone the use of an iX to carry worksite tools, it does make carrying a surfboard or Ikea furniture that much easier.
However, it’s worth pointing out that there is no front trunk in the iX, as there are electric motor and mechanical bits found in there.
It’s just a shame that in a car of this size, BMW has not managed to position things with room left for a bit of usable space under the bonnet.
Drivetrain – What are the key stats for the drivetrain?
A large part of why the iX M60 is so much more expensive than its siblings, is because of its powertrain.
With two electric motors spinning all four wheels, the iX M60 makes a staggering 455kW of power and (are you sitting down?) 1100Nm of torque.
This means the iX M60 can accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 3.8 seconds. Not bad for a 2.5-tonne SUV, and it puts many petrol-powered rivals to shame.
This also makes it much more potent than the xDrive40 (240kW/630Nm) and xDrive50 (285kW/765Nm), while also blowing away the Audi e-tron S (370kW/973Nm).
The only electric car that comes close right now in Australia is the Porsche Taycan Turbo S (560kW/1050Nm), but the Tesla Model X Plaid supposedly makes 760kW/1020Nm from three electric motors.
And while the Tesla is not yet available, the Taycan Turbo S is more than $100,000 pricier than the iX M60, and doesn’t offer the same levels of practicality.
Energy consumption – How much does it consume? What’s the range like, and what it’s like to recharge?
Equipped with a 112kWh battery pack, the iX M60 features 566km of driving range according to the WLTP cycle.
In reality, we saw closer to 540km of driving range on the dash readout with a full charge, but of course this is all subject to things like the level of regenerative braking you apply, ambient temperature, the driving mode chosen, air conditioning and weight.
Officially, the BMW iX M60 consumes 26.5kWh per 100km, but our week with the car saw an average of 25.6kWh/100km with driving mainly focussed on short, inner-city trips that are advantageous to an electric car.
This betters the energy consumption of models like the Taycan Turbo S, which features a combined-cycle test of 28.5kWh//100km, but is much more energy-hungry than something like a Nissan Leaf (18kWh/100km).
This figure is also very dependent on driving style and environment, but for a 2.5-tonne SUV that will ferry the family and more, consumption isn’t too bad.
Charging options include 11kW for AC and 200kW DC fast-charging – the latter of which can juice the iX M60 from 10-80- per cent capacity in just 35 minutes, if you can find a compatible outlet, of course.
Safety – What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?
BMW’s iX range, including the M60, was awarded a maximum five-star safety rating from ANCAP when tested in 2021.
The adult and child occupant protection tests notched the highest results (91 and 88 per cent respectively), while the vulnerable road user score (73 per cent) and safety assist (78 per cent) examinations also yielded respectable scores.
Standard safety features include all the usual suspects such as autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, a surround-view monitor and traffic sign recognition.
However, there is no rear AEB offered on the iX, which is odd in a vehicle that offers all the bells and whistles in terms of equipment.
Littered throughout the cabin, there are nine airbags in total, including a front centre airbag to protect against passengers colliding in the event of an accident, as well as second-row chest and head cushioning units.
Ownership – What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?
Like all new BMWs, the iX now comes with a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty with roadside assist over that period.
BMW held out at three years/unlimited km long after competitors had moved to five years. But this finally matches the assurance periods offered by premium rivals Audi, Genesis, Jaguar, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz, and is up two years from the BMW warranty offered just earlier this year.
The iX uses BMW’s ‘Condition Based Servicing’ system, which means the vehicle will notify owners of when it needs maintenance, therefore there aren’t any scheduled servicing intervals.
However, services are bundled into four- and six-year plans, priced at $1520 and $2195 respectively. An annual average of $380 for the former, and $367 for the latter, is competitive in this part of the market.
Driving – What’s it like to drive?
Maybe it’s just us, but as soon as we step into the driver’s seat of the iX M60, the “Gotta Go Fast” theme song for the Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon just comes to mind.
And that’s probably because this BMW all-electric SUV seems to want to do one thing… go fast.
Sure, there are various driving modes on offer, including ‘Sport’ and ‘Efficient’ (as well as ‘Expressive’ and ‘Relax’, weird names, but okay BMW), but no matter what mode you are in, there is just an eagerness and urgency in the iX.
And this feeling of immediacy isn’t just because the iX is an electric car. We’ve experienced that before in other EVs. This is because it’s an M-badged BMW.
The iX M60 is wonderfully responsive to throttle inputs, and the 1100Nm (!) available makes it almost comical getting up to speed from a freeway on-ramp.
And in day-to-day traffic situations, it feels like you’ve got cheat codes on while driving.
Waiting to turn into traffic and see a gap that you wouldn’t normally be able to squeeze into? The BMW iX M60 can do it.
How about cruising along and need to change lanes, so you nudge forward a bit for the opening in traffic? Put the foot down and in the span of half a second, the BMW iX M60 has surged forward enough to flick the indicator on.
And take the iX M60 out to some twisties and that brute force will get you to the end of the road in a time you didn’t think was possible in a 2.5-tonne large SUV.
It’s almost unfair how the instant torque makes it everything so much easier on the blacktop.
But that eagerness is a double-edged sword, as when you want things to calm down and operate the iX in the smoothest manner possible, it’s harder than you might think.
Because the throttle is so sensitive and the powertrain so potent, even the slightest twitch of the right foot can lead to a quick burst of speed that knocks you back into your seat.
Even with things dialled down to the Efficient drive mode, it didn’t do much to curb the unruly iX M60 from wanting to break free at the first moment of carelessness.
Don’t get me wrong, it never gets dangerous or unpredictable, but it’s a bit like toilet training a toddler – you’ve always got to be on top of it.
And for some, that’s fine, but for others when you’ve just had a full-on day at work and have to commute home to the family, it can get tiring.
Keyword: BMW iX 2023 review: M60