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BMW iX engines, drive and performance

2021 onwards (change model)
Performance rating: 4.6 out of 54.6

Written by Tom Wiltshire Published: 31 May 2022 Updated: 28 February 2023

  • iX is truly excellent to drive
  • Ride and handling incredible for a vehicle this size
  • Performance figures impressive, M60, especially so

BMW’s reputation for building ‘the ultimate driving machine’ certainly holds fast with the iX. Thanks to its incredibly stiff structure, air suspension and remarkable performance, it’s very good to drive indeed.

Even the entry-level iX 40 has 326hp and four-wheel drive, enough for a 0-62mph time of 6.1 seconds or faster than some hot hatches. On the road it’s plenty brisk enough for family duties, with only the comparatively short range of less than 260 miles counting against it.

Outright performance is mighty from the xDrive 50 model, thanks to its 530hp and 688Nm power outputs. The benchmark 0-62mph sprint takes 4.6 seconds, but more significantly, BMW has engineered the electric motors to maintain their maximum power and torque at higher rpm. Overtaking punch is really impressive and the xDrive 50 will hit and maintain its electronically limited 124mph top speed with ease.

The iX M60 is even quicker. Maximum power is 620hp cutting the 0-62mph time to a mere 3.8 seconds, while top speed is 155mph. Range is 348 miles, a slight dip on the 380 miles of the iX 40. On the road, feels savage, relentless and surprisingly adept at not tailing off in the way that EVs do when you get up to higher speeds. On our test drive in Germany, a flat-out blast down an unrestricted piece of Autobahn saw the M60 reach its 155mph maximum speed incredibly quickly with little fuss.

What’s it like to drive?

The battery pack weighs about 650kg on its own, but because that weight is concentrated so low in the car it not only gives the iX lots of extra strength, it also lowers the centre of gravity – which is further good news for stability when driving round corners. The iX does roll a little, but it’s not excessive and is actually preferable to a totally stiff suspension setup – it rides beautifully, making short work of most bumps and absorbing them well.

Real thought’s been given to balancing the electric drive systems, too. Slip the drive selector into its ‘B’ mode and you can drive on just one pedal for most of the time, while an integrated control unit ensures that the brake pedal feels consistent throughout its travel – unlike some rivals, where you can feel a distinct change between regenerative and friction braking.

Adaptive regeneration, which adjusts the level of ‘engine’ braking, is one of the cleverer systems we’ve used, but some other driver assist systems aren’t quite so clever. The adaptive cruise control works, but is very hesitant to follow closely the driver in front, while the systems that are supposed to adjust your road speed depending on the limit, hazards and road signs are rather clunky.

The M60 has been given M-tuned air-suspension – all in an effort to make it handle somewhere close to what an M Division car is famous for. And while the agility and body control is admirable, there’s no getting away from that colossal kerbweight. The balance is noticeably front-limited (probably for the best) and while the M60 is capable, there won’t be many occasions when you feel the desire to push its limits.

BMW iX rear cornering
BMW iX rear cornering