- Max Speed
What have we got here then?
This is a 593bhp amuse-bouche; a 605lb ft canape served before the supper and pudding combo that is the fully new, partially hybrid M5 and M5 Touring due in 2024. Launched alongside the standard i5 exec saloon, the M60 is - for now - the most agitating 5 Series you can lay your hands on.
Not that it comes across as an outer lane bully, actually. Dare I say it, this is one of BMW’s less controversial recent designs; certainly it’s the most sorted of the electric M car litter. Remember you’ve got the i4 M50 (weird nose), i7 M70 (squinty headlights) and iX M60 (just no) sharing the stable…
No, this is a BMW that’s comfortable in its own skin, which means you won’t be red in the face every time someone spots you in it. Holster that mask at once.
Yes boss. What does it get that the normal i5 doesn’t?
Good question. That additional front-mounted motor contributes another 256bhp over the base i5 - giving the M60 all-wheel drive - while the M Sport suspension makes way for an adaptive set-up that lowers the ride height by 5mm and reacts to the road surface on the fly. The steering also sharpens up and active, 48V anti-roll bars improve responsiveness. TL;DR, more comfort and better dynamics, claims BMW.
You also get BMW’s upgraded 22kW AC charging (for quicker top-ups at home), some exterior and headlight tweaks, 20-inch alloys, M Sport brakes with red calipers, a lip spoiler, plus electric front seats, a Bowers & Wilkins sound system and four-zone climate control. For when you’re giving a polar bear and a camel a lift, presumably.
The 81.2kWh battery is unchanged, but the extra motor weight and power means you’ll be stopping more often: 321 miles is 40-odd shy of the RWD i5. Luckily 205kW DC charging means 10-80 per cent in the time it takes to order and consume lunch at a reputable cafe chain.
Obviously all of those upgrades up the price. So here it goes. That price is £97,745.
What?! That’s… nearly twice as much as the 2.0 petrol!
Someone’s done their homework, yes it is. And that’s before you add in all the options that’ll march you into six-figure territory, never to be seen again.
There’s a bunch of free colour choices but the poshest are £3,300; 21s are £1,500; Merino leather is £2.1k; a panoramic sunroof costs £1,600. Want a humble, heated steering wheel? Only part of the Comfort Plus Pack, m’afraid, so that’ll be £3,750. Think of the rear heated seats, electric tailgate, front comfort (and ventilated) chairs and tablet holders as on the house. The fancy HUD is bundled in with gesture control and BMW’s parking assistant for another two grand.
All told this test car came in at just under £115k. That would’ve got you an i8 Coupe some years ago.
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Come one then, how does it drive?
It’s… sensational - in a completely different league to the i5. A boost paddle sits behind the wheel just begging to be pulled: oblige and max power is yours in bursts of 10 seconds. Acceleration is monumental, arriving in one enormous lump that feels like it’s been borrowed from a notorious theme park ride. Officially 0-62mph takes 3.8 seconds. Not Plaid levels of forward thrust, but fun isn’t measured in one dimension is it?
Nope, it's measured in many. And changing direction is where the M60 has its rivals licked. Grip is just massive. Shod in Pirelli P-Zeros the M60 is solid and planted, giving you the confidence to stamp your authority on corners in that way brutish BMWs are so brilliantly capable. After a while it’s a proper muscular workout. I spent an hour in the car and emerged with a neck like Mr Incredible, and now none of my t-shirts fit.
Don’t call it agile - it’s 2,380kg and you never quite escape the feeling that several laws of physics are being bent to force it to handle as well as it does - but the front end is ultra chuckable and the steering’s lightning quick.
Even the ride is a step on from the standard car. I drove the M60 back-to-back with the i5 on an identical route and it’s noticeably more compliant over our knobbly tarmac, and that little bit better at isolating you from vibration. The comfort seats did their bit no doubt.
That’s quite the appraisal.
No kidding. I was expecting the M60 to be a carbon copy of the i5 bar a bit more oomph and sure-footedness, but I was blown away by the difference felt behind the wheel. If you’ve got the means, this is the one to go for. No question.
Time to wrap it up…
Enquickened electric saloons are hard to come by. In fact you’re pretty much limited to that Polestar 2 BST edition 270 (long ago sold out) and the Model S Plaid (not available in RHD). Might as well call it the Model S Plain because you’ll be having 10 times more fun in this when the road ahead gets twisty.
Most people go the finance route these days, yes? Chuck a 10 per cent deposit down on an M60 and you’re looking at monthlies of £1,292 over four years fixed at 4.9% APR, with annual mileage of 10,000. Those are substantial numbers indeed. But this is a substantial car.