BMW has been on top of the EV trend since the beginning. It might come as a surprise to some that BMW has been on the electric wave since the early 1970s. Their first all-electric creation was an electric 1972 BMW 2002, powered by 12, 12-volt batteries, providing a 37-mile range. Since then, BMW has been working to perfect the electric car and a compelling case can be made that the iX is the result.
At this point, there are more than a few good EV options on the market currently. With that being said, there are only a handful of quality SUV EV options that are capable, luxurious, spacious, and carry prestige. The BMW iX has all of those attributes locked down solidly. With both iX xDrive50i and iX M60 on sale today, BMW offers a couple of options to accommodate different price points and slightly different audiences.
In this article, we’ll cover BMW’s flagship addition to their EV fleet and touch on everything that you need to know about the BMW iX.
BMW iX Specs, Horsepower, 0-60mph, Price
For the 2023 model year, BMW has introduced the BMW iX M60. While there is a massive price discrepancy between the iX xDrive50 and the iX M60, the M60 comes with significantly more grunt and some additional package options that are optional on the lower-tier model. Whether or not it is $23,000 more grunt is another question.
With that being said, both the iX xDrive50 and iX M60 are extremely capable EVs. Both brandish more than 500 electric horsepower, getting them off the line faster than a whipped donkey. Obviously, the BMW iX M60 has a larger and more powerful battery resulting in around 100 more horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque. While that difference is very significant, are you really going to be using that extra power effectively on the street; especially considering that the iX caters more towards a family-oriented audience?
Let’s take a look at both the BMW iX xDrive50 and BMW iX M60’s technical specs, horsepower, 0-60, and price a bit deeper.
BMW iX xDrive50 Specs
While the iX xDrive50 isn’t the lowest-tier iX model, as there is an xDrive40 model available in Europe, the xDrive50 is the starter model in the United States. It was also the first iX model, released in the US in 2022. To break down the nomenclature a bit, xDrive means that the iX is equipped with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system, perfect for anyone living in areas of the country with changing weather conditions.
While the numbers preempting the xDrive badge used to have some significance to engine displacement, that obviously isn’t the case here. In fact, the “50” seems rather arbitrary in this case.
BMW iX xDrive50 Battery, Range, and Driving Modes
Of course, the primary component of importance in the iX xDrive50 is its 105.2-kWh battery. The large lithium-ion battery is sizable enough to take the BMW iX xDrive50 around 315 miles between charges. For reference, that is around 30 miles more than a base Tesla Model 3 can manage and 55 more miles than a Volkswagen ID.4. By comparison, the xDrive50 has one of the longest ranges of EV SUV’s currently available. Charging times are impressive too, with the iX charging from empty to 80 percent in under an hour with a DC fast charger.
The BMW iX xDrive50 has multiple driving modes, including Sport mode, Efficiency mode, and Personal mode. All of which change acceleration response, handling, and battery regeneration. Speaking of which, the iX xDrive50 features regenerative braking, meaning that you’ll regenerate a bit of range when coming to a stop.
BMW iX xDrive50 Performance, 0-60, Horsepower
As we briefly covered earlier, the BMW iX xDrive50 is no slouch. In fact, it is one of the most powerful BMWs on sale today. The 105.2-kWh battery is large enough to produce 516 horsepower and 564 lb-ft of torque, making it both quick off the line and fast once it gets to speed. Power is delivered to the wheels via two AC motors, one in the front and one in the rear.
One of the biggest performance-oriented selling points for electric vehicles is their ability to launch like nothing else. That can certainly be said for the BMW iX xDrive50 as well. It can silently scoot from 0-60 miles per hour in 4 seconds flat. That’s faster than the BMW i8.
Outside of sheer acceleration and speed, the BMW iX xDrive50 is also a capable car from a handling and comfort standpoint as well. Due to the fact that there isn’t a conventional internal combustion engine in the front of the car, the iX does not boast the perfect 50/50 weight distribution that BMW is commonly known for. It is pretty close, however, with a 48.3/51.7 weight distribution, front and rear. As such, the BMW iX is a relatively balanced car, with a slight rear weight bias leading to a bit of oversteer when you take your foot off of the gas.
The iX xDrive50 also utilizes rear-wheel steering, making cornering more agile and predictable. The iX’s chassis is also a component in its responsive handling, as it utilizes BMW’s new cluster architecture platform. The iX’s implementation of aluminum, carbon fiber, and steel culminates to form a chassis that is both extremely rigid and safe.
There are multiple different suspension options available for the iX as well. The iX’s standard suspension is what BMW calls “lift-related shock absorbers,” essentially just meaning that the iX comes with a standard spring/shock combo. However, even the standard iX suspension’s stiffness can be adjusted via drive modes. Alternatively, as part of the $1,600 Dynamic Handling Package, you can have your iX xDrive50 equipped with air suspension which gives ride height adjustability and stiffness adjustment as features.
BMW iX xDrive50 Price
Make no mistake about it, the BMW iX is an expensive car. While there might be clean emission rebates in your state, that won’t take a very significant amount out of the vehicle’s MSRP. In terms of starting price, $83,200 is the minimum that you’ll have to shell out to drive home in one. While that is a pretty penny, that is actually a relatively competitive price point when compared to other similar models in BMW’s price range.
Comparing prices, $83,200 comes extremely close to the equivalent gas-powered BMW SUV, the BMW X5 M50i. As such, it is hard to argue that the iX isn’t at least good value for money. With the electric wave taking the automotive world by storm. It would probably be the better long-term investment as well. It’s not like you are missing out on any of the luxuries that you’d come to expect from BMW either. BMWs are pricey cars because they are built well and use quality materials.
Moving on from just the BMW brand and onto the BMW iX xDrive50’s other competition, it is actually a pretty good value for money. Considering the fact that the Tesla Model X is roughly $40,000 more expensive than the BMW iX xDrive50, it is pretty hard to see how it would be worth that much more. While the Model X gets a slightly better range and is supported by a vast charging network, BMW’s build materials are unquestionably better and feel more premium.
The xDrive50 is the best option for those that are looking for a mid-level EV and are okay without insane amounts of power.
BMW iX M60 Specs
Whereas the BMW iX xDrive50 is aimed squarely at providing a practical and usable luxury family EV, the BMW iX M60 switches gears a bit. It isn’t very surprising that the BMW M-Division is dipping their feet in the electric pool. In fact, the iX isn’t even the first electric vehicle that the M division has blessed. The BMW i4 M50 was technically the first electrified M, which came out in 2021. With that being said, the iX is the most extreme electric variant that the M-Division has touched so far. And, truth be told, they held no punches.
On the surface, there are almost no distinguishing characteristics between the iX xDrive50 and the iX M60. With that being said, everything from the suspension to the chassis has been better optimized to go like hell. Ultimately, yes, the iX M60 is the faster car by far. But the real question is whether it is $25,000 better than the xDrive50.
BMW iX M60 Battery, Range, and Driving Modes
In order to pump out the additional power, the iX M60 makes use of a stronger rear AC motor and a more powerful inverter as well. With that being said, the actual size of the battery does not change from the iX xDrive50 model, which is slightly surprising. The iX M60 also uses a 105.2-kWh lithium-ion battery pack for power.
As a result of the axle and inverter, its performance increases substantially, but the iX M60’s range actually decreases compared to the xDrive50. Overall, the iX M60 is down on range from 315 miles with the xDrive50 to just 288 miles with the BMW iX M60. Even with the downgraded range, that is still a pretty impressive figure for a modern EV.
One of the most impressive attributes of current BMW EVs is their charge time. Like the BMW iX xDrive50, the iX M60 can be charged extremely quickly when plugged into a DC fast charger. BMW claims that the iX M60 can be charged from dead to 80% charge in 45 minutes. That is a charge time competitive with Tesla and better than many other brands just entering the EV game.
Compared to the iX xDrive50, the BMW iX M60 also has some additional features buried in other engine modes. By switching to Sport mode, power increases significantly, which isn’t the case for the iX xDrive50. The iX M60 also features a launch control mode that is also lacking from the lower-tier model.
BMW iX M60 Performance, 0-60, Horsepower
As you would come to expect from an M-variant of a standard BMW model, the iX M60 ups the stakes a bit. With that being said, the performance increase is barely noticeable at all when left in standard driving mode. In fact, with no settings adjusted, the iX M60 only edges out the iX xDrive50 by 16 horsepower. Torque is really where the iX M60 gets the edge on the inferior model. Also in standard mode, the BMW M60 has 185 lb-ft over the xDrive50 model. That’s a difference that you’ll immediately feel off of the line.
Things start to get even more interesting when you put the iX M60 into Sport mode. As soon as you make that adjustment, power increases to 610 horsepower. By any measure, that is a massive amount of power. Even more insane is the increase from 749 lb-ft to 811 lb-ft of torque when you engage launch control in the M60. At that point, there are very few cars that are going to be able to hang, electric or not.
Putting all of that torque to the ground, the iX M60 will rocket from 0-60 in 3.6 seconds. That makes the BMW iX M60 0-60 faster than the 2023 BMW M3 and the Tesla Model X.
Like the iX xDrive50, the iX M60 also has an advanced regenerative braking system that makes use of many of the iX’s in-built safety features including the collision warning system and frontal camera. Using these systems, the iX finds the best way to recover energy when in traffic or coasting on the highway.
BMW iX M60 Suspension, Chassis, Handling Changes
In terms of serious handling, suspension, and chassis improvements, the differences between the iX xDrive50 and the BMW iX M60 are rather underwhelming. Some options, like the iX M60’s air suspension, can be optioned on the iX xDrive50 as a package option. Standard adaptive dampers are present on both variants as well, meaning that ride quality is adjustable with both the standard suspension and air suspension.
With that being said, there are some additional differences that cannot be added to the xDrive50 from the factory. For example, the iX M60 comes with stiffer front and rear anti-roll bars, improving the cornering characteristics significantly. This also slightly changes the M60’s chassis stiffness, making the higher-tier model more predictable and controllable.
Outside of the differences in suspension hardware, the iX M60 also comes standard with 22” wheels compared to the 21” wheels found on the iX xDrive50. This difference can be felt the most in terms of ride quality. With larger sidewalls, the xDrive50 rides softer than the M60. That equates to a more comfortable ride over small bumps and road imperfections.
BMW iX M60 Price
If you think that the base BMW iX is expensive, the M60 brings the price up to another tax bracket entirely. With a starting MSRP of $108,900, the iX M60 is one of the most expensive BMWs available at the moment. While it is hard to argue with the M60’s insane performance, quality interior components, and impressive range, the same arguments can be made for the iX xDrive50 which is $25,000 less expensive.
Looking at other competing EV options of a similar vein, you have the Tesla Model X, 2023 Audi e-Tron, and Mercedes EQB-Class. Of those three, the Model X is the only EV SUV option that can be optioned to be more expensive than the iX M60. While it can be argued that the iX M60 is unquestionably the best option on that list from quality and performance standpoints, not everyone can afford to shell out over $100,000 for a car. That’s serious money.
It seems to be a common consensus in both the EV and BMW communities that it would be hard to justify spending so much more on a car that is so similar to its lower-tier counterpart at the end of the day. While the iX M60 undoubtedly comes with quite a few more standard options than the iX xDrive50, the xDrive50 can also be optioned to be nearly a twin to the iX M60. That is compounded even further by the fact that there is nothing to differentiate the two visually.
BMW iX xDrive50 vs BMW iX M60 Comparison and Conclusion
As we briefly covered in the last section, the biggest discrepancy between the BMW iX xDrive50 and the BMW iX M60 is the price that separates them. For $25,000 extra dollars, many would expect the iX M60 to be a dramatically improved car. While there are certainly reasons to spring for the M60, especially if you are looking for performance over everything else, there really isn’t enough justification to spend so much more for a very similar package. That is compounded by the fact that most of the options that are included on the iX M60 can be fitted on the lower-tier xDrive50 via packages.
From a purely practical standpoint, the iX xDrive50 is the better option as well. Due to the fact that the xDrive50 has better range and uses the same battery as the M60, it makes more sense to go with the less expensive car if you are looking for a luxurious daily driver. It might have been a different story if the iX M60 came with a larger battery that provided significantly more power and more range, but that isn’t the case.
The iX xDrive50 and iX M60 also look nearly identical, other than some different trim colors which are hardly noticeable unless you know what you are looking for. For all of the reasons listed above, the iX xDrive50 is the car that we would go with, no doubt about it.
Overall, the BMW iX is one of, if not, the best EV SUV on the market currently. Between the extremely good range, the solid power figures, fast charging times, and luxurious interior, the iX is truly hard to beat. While Tesla might have a leg up on pure EV technology, it is important to remember that BMW has been in the EV game for a long time and know what they are doing.