BMW has only just this week launched its first ever electric M Performance SUV with its iX M60.

It’s only the second battery electric M Performance car (think BMW M340i), and they’re not full-strength, hardcore M machines (like an M3). 

There’s a big difference, according to Timo Resch, vice president for customer, brand and sales BMW M GmbH.

He told CarExpert at this week’s global launch in Germany models like the i4 M50 and iX M60 are fast electric vehicles (EVs), but they aren’t designed for the racetrack in the same way their M4 Competition or X5 M Competition petrol-powered siblings are.

“Bringing a vehicle like the iX M60 to market is about entering into the new world of electric-powered M cars in the ‘Performance’ layer of M products. Both the i4 M50 and iX M60 represent the performance of M,” he said.

“And that’s perfectly fine, as BMW M is also known for bringing cars to market which are nicely equipped, more performance and better handling than the regular series models.

“Then we have our high-performance products, which offer much stronger differentiation in terms of design, technology, and driver feedback,” Mr Resch explained.

“We are working on fully-electric, high-performance cars at the moment that are worthy of carrying the M badge and that technology is still in the development phase,” he said.

“The dynamic systems we’ve used in the iX M60, like the adaptive suspension, not only provide confident handling but also delivers maximum passenger comfort over long distances. It’s not designed to be driven on the racetrack.”

Mr Resch said dual-air suspension is not the kind of system BMW M would currently put into an SUV capable of performing on the track. He also didn’t rule it out in the future, though.

“As of today, air suspension isn’t capable of dealing with the high loads you get on track with a vehicle the size of the iX M60, but we are developing technology that could allow us to combine air-suspension with more rigid body control systems for use in our high-performance M cars – and that would mean an iX M.”

BMW M has already announced more details of its upcoming plug-in hybrid XM, which combines a newly-developed V8 petrol engine combined with an electric motor for system outputs of 480kW and 800Nm. Those numbers fall short of those produced by the Concept XM, but it’s still rated as a proper M car.

“While the sheer dimensions of the XM are similar to those of the X7, in terms of how nimble the car feels it’s a proper M car thanks to the tuning and optimisation of the suspension setup and drivetrain delivers the level of feedback that make it a high-performance M car,” Mr Resch said.

“The XM isn’t intended for the race track, but has high levels of agility, feedback and response people would expect of a true M car.”

To that end, we have heard rumours over here in Germany that BMW M is already working on an XM Competition model that should see it get the power and torque hikes in line with the XM Concept.

Anthony Crawford
Anthony Crawford is a Senior Road Tester at CarExpert.
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