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In-depth reviews

BMW iX SUV - Electric motor, drive & performance

Not only is it fast, BMW's engineers have made the iX satisfying to drive

Carbuyer Rating

4.1 out of 5

Owners Rating
Be the first to review
Electric motor, drive & performance Rating

4.5 out of 5

As seems to be the norm in this class of electric SUVs, the iX is way faster in a straight line than most drivers will ever need. While this is strictly unnecessary, it does at least give you plenty of peace of mind that you can confidently join the motorway and overtake slower cars.

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More impressive is the way BMW has engineered the car to deliver a cohesive and rewarding driving experience. Thanks to the location of the battery in the car's floor, the iX has a low centre of gravity that helps it feel remarkably agile and planted for a 2.5-tonne SUV. It's a sensation that's also helped by the rear-wheel steering in the xDrive50, helping it to feel like a smaller car to drive. 

BMW iX electric motors

Both versions are fitted with an electric motor on the front and rear axle, producing a combined 322bhp in the xDrive40. This is enough to get it from 0-62mph in a respectable 6.1 seconds, roughly matching the performance of a six-cylinder petrol or diesel BMW. 

The xDrive50 is on another level of performance altogether, with 516bhp making it more powerful than the BMW M3. With vast reserves of pulling power, it feels even faster than its 4.6-second 0-62mph acceleration figure suggests, and still has plenty of punch at motorway speeds. From a standing start, performance is startling, and you'll need to have a fairly good grip on the hexagonal steering wheel as the front wheels struggle with all the power.

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You’ll have to really value the extra performance and range of the xDrive50, however, as it’s a startling £24,000 more than the still-quick xDrive40.

BMW iX M60

BMW hasn’t yet made a fully fledged electric M car, but the iX M60 and the i4 M50 are certainly signals of intent. The straight-line performance of the 611bhp M60 is unsurprisingly rapid; its 0-62mph time of just 3.8 seconds matches some of the very fastest petrol SUVs on sale, even if Tesla’s SUVs offer even quicker acceleration.

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The brand’s M division has been known for cars with fantastic handling as well as eye-watering pace, and the iX M60 has arguably been its biggest challenge to date given the car’s heft and high ride height. Its air suspension mostly manages to keep things under control, with the adaptive dampers stiffening up if you take the M60 out of Efficiency mode and put it in Sport mode. Doing so also introduces an ‘M Sport Sound’ that’s piped through the speakers, which aims to make the M60 a little more involving to drive.

Long, fast corners are where the iX M60 is at its best. Thanks to the trick suspension and the grippy tyres, it feels unstickable in situations like this and there’s hardly any body roll either. Through tighter bends the suspension is occasionally a little slow to react, and the steering is quick but quite light and without much feel.

Even Sport mode is compliant over bumps, and it could actually be a little firmer. Whichever mode you’re in, the front of the iX rides up under hard acceleration, and pitches forwards when you brake. Efficiency mode is more comfortable still, but we feel that there’s room for a more focused driving setup; perhaps that’s being saved for BMW’s eventual electric M cars.

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Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    240kW xDrive40 Sport 76.6kWh 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £70,985

Most Economical

  • Name
    385kW xDrive50 M Sport 111.5kWh 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £104,285

Fastest

  • Name
    455kW M60 111.5kWh 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £124,605

Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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