The “normal” BMW iX — if such a word could possibly describe a vehicle with switches and buttons lifted from the Swarovski catalog — is a pretty quick all-electric SUV that costs just north of $80,000. Like all modern BMWs, it either arouses or disgusts you with its looks. But that iX just so happens to be the tame one compared to what BMW’s just virtually unveiled as part of its all-digital CES festivities.
Those drivers for whom the regular iX isn’t enough can swing for the iX M60 — the performance version of Munich’s first battery-electric SUV, due in June of this year. Whereas the iX xDrive50 my colleague Jason drove had 516 horsepower, this one has 610, and can go about 280 miles on a charge. It also has 749 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough to get this 5,700-pound chunk of RGB lighting and rare earth metals from a standstill to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds.
Well, that’s half true. In actuality, the iX M60 pulls upon 811 lb-ft to make that sprint when launch control is used. Three-and-a-half seconds isn’t quite as brisk as the Model X Plaid’s claimed 2.5 seconds, but I dare you to notice the difference as a passenger.
The M60's power bump comes courtesy of a unique rear motor design utilizing a double inverter, which BMW’s release explains like so:
The M-specific design of the current-energized synchronous machine principle enables the electric motor of the BMW iX M60 — especially in the case of the rear motor — to achieve an extremely high power density. The drive unit is six-phase operated and has a double inverter. This makes it possible to achieve a particularly significant increase in peak power, which is available up to high speeds and enables typical BMW M power delivery.
Power is the iX M60's most impressive statistic; its second most impressive statistic is its drag coefficient. No, seriously. This thing is a brick and yet somehow BMW quotes a 0.26 Cd, placing it on par with the i8. I’m not exactly sure how the manufacturer’s bent the laws of physics to make that possible, but then this thing does look like an alien artifact, so I guess it all checks out.
Speaking of which, an easy way to tell the iX M60 apart from the non-M flavor without experiencing whiplash is the all the gold adorning the exterior. You’ll find it in the faux grille, the trim and the badging — it’s pretty hard to miss.
I’ll concede that while the iX’s front end still looks... troubled to me, the rear quarter perspective is striking and handsome enough. I especially like the simple horizontal slits for the the taillights, that keep the back end clean and unfussy — two words I haven’t associated with BMW design as of late.
That leaves the iX M60 reading like a watered down, strangely more rational version of the Concept XM. Maybe that was the strategy behind the timing of the XM’s unveiling late last year: present the most ridiculous vehicle in the world, and everything after that will look tasteful by comparison.