These days, car manufacturers are in a bit of a dilemma. For generations, the industry has developed and refined its products, and now is the time to waste that knowledge on combustion technology and learn new things about electric powertrains. This feeling must be especially acute in the more specialized corners of the industry, such as the fast merchants who are responsible for the factory-built, souped-up sedans and SUVs with brands that say AMG, Blackwing and the like.
The BMW M is without a doubt the most famous, having celebrated its 50th anniversary last week. For decades, since the mid-engine BMW Turbo concept from 1[ads1]972, the tricolor brand has been a word for sharp driving characteristics and a lot of power, usually provided by a fresh engine. But the future is electrified, even on the M, which is why we were in Berlin to try out the latest creation, a fine-tuned version of BMW’s latest electric SUV, the 2023 iX M60.
We had our first taste of iX last summer. It’s a controversial thing, as with so many of BMW’s newer creations, and it’s best thought of as an all – electric alternative to the more conventional X5 SUV. But the engineers at M have now got hold of the iX, after working on their magic on the i4 M50.
Electrification is a bit of a double-edged sword for outfits like the M. Electric motors may not be as cute as some of BMW’s six-cylinder engines. But even the sharpest naturally aspirated engine can not hope to match the immediacy of an electric motor when it comes to immediate throttle response, especially in the 0-40 mph (0-65 km / h) speed envelope that most of us use within. most of our driving time.
On the other hand, these types of powerful electric motors only work if you can supply them with high-voltage electricity, and that means currently lugging around huge lithium-ion battery packs that all in all weigh several hundred pounds more than a similar gasoline-powered driveline . The iX M60 has a curb weight of 5,769 lbs (2,617 kg), which is about two center linebackers more than the BMW X5 M, realistically the iX M60’s closest internal rival in terms of price and power.
Going electric means carrying around a little more mass, then. BMW has added more power to compensate, but the mechanical changes in the drivetrain compared to the less powerful iXs we drove in 2021 are minimal.
The rear motor has the rotor extended by 0.8 inches (20 mm), which makes it possible to apply a larger magnetic field – and thus generate more power. The engine spins at 15,400 rpm, and there is now a six-phase dual converter that allows a maximum of 1,200 A, which is transmitted to the wheels by a single-speed gearbox located in the same compact drive unit as the engine and power. electronics.
As with BMW’s other Gen5 electric drives, it is made internally and is an electrically excited synchronous motor that does not use magnets (and therefore no rare earths) in its construction.
The headline is the iX M60’s combined 610 hp (455 kW) in sport mode and launch control and 811 lb-ft (1100 Nm) of torque available in launch control. And since the iX M60 does not need to spin up turbochargers or fill 4.4 L of a V8 engine with fresh air, it provides a natural performance advantage over the X5 M. Zero to 97 km / h takes only 3.6 seconds, and the top speed of summer tires have been increased to 155 mph (250 km / h).
In the iX M60’s less frenetic driving modes (Personal and Efficiency), the power delivery has been mapped back to a maximum of 532 hp (397 k) and 749 lb-ft (1015 Nm). Individually, the front drive unit is rated at 255 hp (190 kW), and the rear is 483 hp (360 kW).