BMW announced the iX M60, the German automaker’s latest performance electric vehicle, and the second EV to be released under its racing-inspired M branding. When it comes out in the summer of 2022, the iX M60 will feature two electric motors, 610 braking horsepower, and will get up to 280 miles of range on a single charge.
There are other impressive specs to note, including 811 lb-ft of near-instantaneous torque when in Launch Control, and a 0 to 60mph acceleration time of 3.6 seconds. BMW says that the power delivery of its M-specific electric drivetrain continues into high load ranges, “so acceleration remains almost constant up to the electronically-limited maximum speed of 155 mph when properly equipped.”
BMW M, which stands for “Motorsport,” was born in May 1972, conceived to support the company’s racing endeavors. Now, as we near the brand’s 50th anniversary, it's being integrated into BMW’s—arguably belated—effort to shift from dirty internal combustion engines to electric vehicles.
BMW’s iX M60 sports a massive 111.5kWh battery, with a usable 106.3kWh. By way of comparison, the most powerful Tesla, the long-range Model S, has a 100kWh battery, while Mercedes-Benz’s flagship EQS sedan, with 350 miles of range, has one with 107.8kWh of capacity.
In terms of charging, BMW says it will take 97 minutes to go from 10 percent to 80 percent while plugged into a 25-amp system delivering 50kW of charge. When plugged into a 250-amp charger delivering 100kW of power, that time drops to 49 minutes. And when plugged into a DC fast charger delivering 250kW of power, the iX M60 will only take 35 minutes to get from 10 to 80 percent charged.
The company expects to introduce a whole new package of software and advanced driver assist features with the iX M60. Among the features powered by the vehicle’s new computing platform are partially autonomous driving and self-parking features.
Notably, BMW says it won’t use rare earth materials to power the iX M60’s two motors. Instead, the motors operate on the principle of a “current-energized synchronous machine,” which BMW describes as “the excitation of the rotor is triggered by the precisely metered supply of electrical energy.”
Most electric motors are powered by permanent magnets, sometimes no larger than a pack of playing cards, that are made of rare earth metals. The magnets enable the motors to transform electricity into motion, thus powering the vehicle. These rare earth magnets, mostly made of neodymium (NdFeB), are almost entirely mined and processed in China.
By using current-energized synchronous machine principles, BMW says it can achieve a higher energy density, especially in the rear motor, which in turn allows the automaker to achieve levels of performance it expects out of its M-series vehicles.
BMW has a raft of new EVs coming out in the next few years, with the goal of achieving 50 percent of sales by 2030. Later this year, the company is releasing the i4 electric sedan, with up to 300 miles of range and starting at $55,400 for the low-spec model. It’s also developing an electric version of its 5 Series and 7 Series sedans as well as its entry-level X1 SUV.
That means almost all of the German luxury automaker’s most popular cars will soon have all-electric variants. A fully electric version of the 3 Series, BMW’s most popular car in the US, has already been spotted in testing camouflage.
There have been some twists, though. The iX3, the all-electric version of its top-selling X3 SUV, won’t be available in the US, only in Europe and China. And the tiny i3 electric hatchback was discontinued last year after low sales.