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2023 BMW iX M60 Assessment: Formulate No Assumptions Based on Appearance

Designed for those seeking an electric SUV that deviates from traditional gas-powered models, the 2023 BMW iX represents a fully electric luxury SUV positioned on the larger side of mid-size according to American standards, accommodating five occupants. Unlike its counterparts such as the Audi E-Tron SUV, the Cadillac Lyriq, or the Mercedes EQS SUV, the iX adopts a more unconventional design approach, making it significantly easier to comprehend than the Tesla Model X with its unconventional steering yoke and falcon wing doors. The BMW iX has impressive comfort scores and features, in addition to boasting excellent efficiency.

While the iX exhibits well-proportioned dimensions, these are overshadowed by a distinctive array of design particulars. Some may find these features captivating in all the right aspects. The BMW iX represents a design statement that is undeniably unconventional. Despite exhibiting agreeable proportions and a floating-roof appearance, when viewed from a distance, the details and surfacing tend to distort in unflattering ways. However, when stepping back and refraining from scrutinizing all the unconventional trim selections, or the oversized patterned plastic faux-grille concealed by a self-healing material, or even the seemingly sporadic, slender taillight design, the overall presentation integrates more acceptably.

The iX possesses a perky and refined demeanor, yet individuals with predefined notions regarding BMW handling may find it distant and uninspiring. Emphasizing composure and comfort over “ultimate driving machine” thrills, the iX excels due to its exceptional drivetrain, power delivery, and above-average ride and poise. Despite weighing more than gas-powered SUVs of its size, the iX’s aluminum-space-frame and carbon-fiber construction contribute to enabling more battery capacity, ultimately delivering superior range compared to most electric SUVs within its category.

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In the xDrive50i trim, the iX harnesses a combined 516 hp and 564 lb-ft of torque from its motor system, facilitating a 0-60 mph time of 4.4 seconds. Conversely, the alternative iteration, the M60, elevates the power via the dual-power setup, yielding 532 hp and 749 lb-ft of torque, or in its launch mode, 610 hp and 811 lb-ft of torque, alongside a 0-60 mph time of approximately 3.6 seconds. Additionally, the M60 incorporates M Sport brakes and a distinct suspension tune, inclusive of the adaptive air suspension, amidst a range of embellished trim elements and features.

The suspension, consisting of an all-aluminum, front double-wishbone and rear multi-link configuration complete with its subframes, offers the option for a rear-only air suspension, electronically controlled shocks, and rear-wheel steering. This optional setup enables the iX to accommodate a 1.2-inch height adjustability, lowering it by 0.4 inches in Sport mode or above 87 mph, and elevating it by 0.8 inches for enhanced clearance.

The iX delivers gratifying performance across diverse driving scenarios. Its gentle and precise demeanor complements its agility in Sport mode. Although the brake pedal may seem detached, the iX stops precisely as intended. Furthermore, the vehicle provides a choice between four modes of regenerative braking- including low, medium, and high, one-pedal driving, and an adaptive mode that mostly matches the deceleration of surrounding vehicles.

Despite the usual impact of increased wheel size on driving range, this does not compromise comfort in the iX. Even with the ostentatious 22-inch Air Performance bi-color wheels, the iX exhibits perhaps the quietest and most tranquil ride quality within its luxury SUV category. Every iteration of the BMW iX offers dual-motor all-wheel drive.

Due to its substantial battery pack and commendable efficiency, the iX achieves an impressive driving range. As an electric vehicle, the BMW iX obviates the need for gas and does not produce direct tailpipe emissions. With an efficiency of approximately 2.6 miles per kwh in its xDrive50i form, it demonstrates frugality with electrons. Opting for the most efficient combination yields 324 miles from its 106.3-kwh battery pack, surpassing all rivals apart from the Tesla Model X. Even with highway driving, ranges exceeding 350 miles are commonplace. The iX also encompasses two years of complimentary 30-minute charging sessions on the Electrify America network.

The xDrive50 is available with three distinct wheel sizes, while the high-performance M60 is offered with two sizes, each yielding slightly varied range and efficiency ratings. The smaller 20-inch wheels enable the greatest mileage from energy, offering 324 miles of range and 86 MPGe combined. On the other hand, versions with 21-inch and 22-inch wheels achieve ranges of 305 and 315 miles, as well as 83 and 86 MPGe, respectively. The M60 acquires 288 miles of range and 77 MPGe with the 21-inch wheels, or 274 miles and 76 MPGe with the 22-inchers.

The BMW iX is anticipated to be exceptionally secure. According to BMW, its aluminum space frame, coupled with carbon-fiber reinforced plastic, high-strength steels, and thermoplastics, constructs a robust “carbon cage” to amplify safety without increasing weight. Nevertheless, due to its status as an exclusive and unlikely vehicle to share its body structure directly with other models, it is improbable for the federal government to conduct tests on it, and it might be some time before the IIHS does so.

The iX integrates automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning, as well as rear collision and rear cross-traffic warning systems. Furthermore, an Evasion Assistant, which is also included, actively guides the driver to a clear adjacent lane if a collision seems imminent. An available Driving Assistant Professional introduces full-range adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and a system that delineates surrounding vehicles and potential safety situations on the cockpit display. Substantial outward visibility through the windows and mirrors is facilitated by the iX’s low beltline and relatively slender pillars.

Internally, the iX embodies a much more favorable impression. Distinguishing itself from previous BMW SUVs, the design boasts a radical departure, featuring some button and menu details that could be refined for improved functionality, in addition to conspicuous elements such as the hexagonal steering wheel design. Nevertheless, it exudes a welcoming, well-conceived, and seamlessly luxurious ambiance.

Considering the iX’s mission to accommodate five passengers and appeal to upscale families, it delivers commendable passenger and cargo space. The iX receives commendations for its exceptional front and rear seating, able to comfortably accommodate five occupants, alongside substantial cargo space, impeccable fit and finish, and a quiet cabin. These attributes almost overshadow the slightly unwieldy frameless doors and somewhat reminiscent view from the front seats, emphasizing comfort over athleticism.

The expansive seating area and open floor space, coupled with the low-set dashboard, contribute to making the front-seat space feel more abundant compared to similar-size models. Cargo capacity tallies 35.5 cubic feet with the rear seatbacks up, expanding to 77.9 cubic feet with them folded forward. Additionally, a lengthy tray beneath the cargo floor provides a secure area for storing items, while the upper area delivers ample space for a family’s grocery haul, assuming traditional in-person shopping is still a routine.

From the meticulously crafted seat adjustment controls and clear shift selector to the haptic console-top buttons and button-release doors, the collection of all-new interface components in the iX elicits an impression of exclusivity, potentially serving as an eye-catching addition or a divergence for the sake of divergence. The iX stands out as the inaugural BMW SUV to incorporate frameless doors, a feature previously limited to coupes, further enhancing isolation from wind noise.

The 2023 BMW iX is available in two variants: the xDrive50i and the M60. Although numerous subtle distinctions in trim and features exist between the two, the fundamental difference lies in performance. Auxiliary features offered across all trims include the Live Cockpit Plus infotainment system, featuring a curved display that spans from instrument cluster screen space over to a wide-format 12.3-inch touchscreen system entailing wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The iX excels in its impressive base feature set, even prior to the fantastic options list, along with the appealing 3-year/36,000 maintenance warranty and 8-year/100,000-mile battery warranty.

The iX has two distinct looks, namely Shadowline and Sport. The former functions as the fundamental model for the lineup, priced at $86,545, with features such as the panoramic roof (including electrochromic shading), a Connected Package Pro with data and telematics services, and the Active Driving Assistant (active cruise control with lane keep assist) which contributes to the unique rounded/hexagonal steering wheel. For a $2,800 upgrade to the Sport variant, one gains 21-inch Aero bi-color wheels, in addition to dark trim and taillights.

For an additional $2,300, a Convenience package incorporates a head-up display, a surround-view camera system, Harman Kardon surround sound, gesture and voice controls, and supplemental propulsion sounds. Meanwhile, the $4,000 Premium package bundles these items along with multifunctional massage front seats, an interior camera, and a 30-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound. Moreover, a standalone option of a $950 radiant heating package is available, although the lineup includes four-zone climate control. The advanced technology from BMW is showcased through a remote parking feature that can be controlled by an app on your smartphone. It can store up to 10 starting points and execute all the driving maneuvers within about 650 feet to return to the starting point without driver intervention.

The iX M60 commences at $109,720 and includes a series of features that are discretionary on the xDrive50i, such as the panoramic roof, laser headlights, and the B&W sound system. Additionally, more eye-catching 21-inch wheels are included, with 22-inch variations available. The BMW iX M60, when equipped with one of the premium colors, enhanced 22-inch wheels, the perforated-leather interior, the Driving Assistant Professional Package (automated parking and partly automated driver support), and the Luxury Package (self-close automatic doors and glass-and-wood controls, with open-pore walnut finish), as well as bronze trim and blue seatbelts, adds up to just under $120,000, and that’s before accessories.

The 2023 BMW iX is truly impressive, given what BMW has been able to accomplish. While BMW already has experience with electric vehicles through the unconventional i3, the company was wise to leverage those initial years to learn from electric vehicles as a whole. The dividends from those years of learning are evident in the new 2023 BMW iX, which stands as a pinnacle of automotive EV engineering. The new iX exemplifies a remarkable vehicle that excels in all aspects: cutting-edge technology, efficient and powerful powertrains, and driving dynamics that herald the next generation of electric vehicles.

Image Source: letspicsit / Shutterstock

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