I’m not going to lie: I love the way the 2023 BMW iX looks. Think I’m crazy? You may be right, but before you consign me to a padded cell know that it’s been an acquired taste. In fact, when I got the first embargoed pictures of this thing ahead of its debut I physically recoiled from the screen — much like many of you are probably doing right now. But this M60 is so good and drives so well, it might just win you over, too.
Our first drive from last year concluded that the iX “isn’t that ugly” (in person), and I’d say that’s about where I started when first contemplating it in my driveway. After a week, though, I found myself looking back as I walked away from the thing. Yes, I’m that enamored.
As much as I came to like the exterior, it’s the interior that really shines. This Mineral White Metallic iX M60 was configured with a chocolate brown interior that BMW calls Mocha Perforated SensaTec. “SensaTec” is Bavarian highfalutin for “pleather,” but don’t take that as an insult. The vegan surfaces look and feel great. I even love the sharp contrast of the blue seat belts — though the $300 premium they command is a bit steep.
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The interior design of the iX really is stellar throughout. Everything is comfortable, airy, and modern, a feel thoroughly boosted by the panoramic moonroof that frosts like a big LCD cell at the touch of a button. It’s a gimmick guaranteed to make your friends go whoa, but unlike the Tesla Model X’s gull-wing doors, the iX’s gimmick actually provides a functional benefit.
Speaking of the Model X, having driven both extensively, I’d take the BMW every day of the week. Yes, you do lose a fair bit of cargo space (most notably the third row and the frunk), but how many people are really loading up their Model X on the regular? When it comes to performance, it’s neck-and-neck. BMW quotes the M60 at 610 horsepower, good for a 3.6-second 0 - 60 sprint. A comparably priced Model X Dual Motor will do it in 3.8.
You’ll never notice that 0.2 second difference, but you will notice the Tesla’s additional range. The iX is officially EPA rated at 274 miles on a charge while Tesla says the Model X is good for 347. That’s significant, but in my testing I found the difference not so great. Again and again I easily bested the BMW’s EPA rating. I averaged 3.2 miles per kilowatt-hour during my loan, and a large portion of that was spent bombing down I-90 at speed.
High-speed runs are the bane of EVs everywhere, yet that 3.2 rating is good for a theoretical 337 miles given the usable size of the iX’s battery pack. BMW promises 105.2 kWh of juice are yours from the 111.5-kWh pack. I never ran it quite that thin. My longest run was 251 miles on the trot, which still left me with 23 percent remaining, good for another 70 miles or so.
So the range delta between the Model X and the iX is smaller than it looks, but differences in driving dynamics and comfort are huge. Not only is the BMW nicer to drive — a veritable cocoon on highways yet also a surprisingly nimble handler with its rear-steering — the interior quality is on another planet. The fancy augmented reality infotainment, too, is genuinely useful, and there’s both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
If that’s not enough, the iX M60 you see here clocks in about $10,000 cheaper than a comparable Model X. Starting MSRP is $105,100, while options and the $995 destination charge brought this example up to $109,770. The cheapest Model X you can buy right now starts at $120,990, and that only gets you half a steering wheel.
Unless you really need the third-row in the Tesla (which, by the way, will cost you another $3,500), I can’t imagine why anyone would spring for the even uglier, yoke-having, clumsy-driving Model X over BMW’s wunder-SUV. The iX is truly among the best cars BMW is making today and it’d be a shame to not give it a chance. Trust me, it’ll grow on you.