Tough comparison: BMW iX M60 vs Mercedes EQS 580 4Matic SUV

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The traditional rivalry between Mercedes and BMW continues in the electric era in the luxury SUV segment. The opponents in the fight of the new electric era are the most potent versions of the BMW iX and Mercedes EQS SUV: BMW iX M60 vs Mercedes EQS 580 4Matic SUV. Here is our verdict.

Photo: Bogdan Paraschiv

It used to be simple. BMW and Mercedes only had three main model series: 3 Series against C-Class, 5 Series against E-Class, and 7 Series against S-Class. After 1997, when the SUV trend started, we had ML against X5, X3 vs GLK, and after the SUV coupes. The electric era has arrived now, where the rivalry continues on new levels and in new segments: i7 against EQS, EQA vs iX1, and now iX vs EQS SUV.

Both are luxury SUVs, but if we’re to be more catholic than the Pope, the EQS is one class bigger, being the electric equivalent of the GLS (rival to the X7), while the iX is the electric equivalent of the X5 (rival to the GLE).
Looking at the powertrains, we have the two most potent versions face to face, except that the EQS SUV doesn’t have an AMG version yet, and the iX came to this test in M clothes. For this reason, there are differences in power and torque: 544 PS and 858 Nm for the EQS 580 4Matic and 619 PS and 1015 Nm for the iX M60. These are the maximum output figures, but if you look in the technical data table, you’ll find that both have almost the same continuous power: 190 PS BMW and 183 PS Mercedes.

Mercedes EQS 580 4Matic SUV with seven seats and Hyperscreen standard
At 5.12 m long, 1.96 m wide, and 1.72 m high, the EQS SUV is 17 cm longer and 2 cm taller than the iX. The wheelbase is 21 cm longer, so the EQS SUV can optionally accommodate two more passengers in the third row (1,904 euro) and has a 13 cm electrically sliding rear bench. The bench segments also lower and raise electrically from two buttons in the boot. BMW doesn’t offer as many electrically operated facilities in the rear, but the rear bench has a very well-profiled backrest that extends to the door panels, just like the Rolls-Royce.

In contrast, the cushion is 3 cm shorter than the X5 and 2 cm shorter than the EQS SUV. But the BMW iX M60 spoils you with four-zone climate control offered as standard, while in the EQS 580 4Matic, you have to pay 1,357 euros for the automatic Thermotronic rear climate control.

Both models offer plenty of knee room in the rear, but thanks to the longer length and wheelbase, the EQS SUV has 75 mm more knee room (820 mm vs. 745 mm in the BMW).

comparison BMW iX M60 vs Mercedes EQS 580 4Matic SUV

The EQS SUV also has a much roomier boot in the five-seater version that ranges from 645-880 liters, depending on bench position, compared to 500 in the BMW, and can expand to 2,100 by folding the backrest down, compared to 1,750 liters in the BMW. Both manufacturers live up to their premium credentials and offer a dedicated cable compartment under the boot floor.

The driving position in the iX is totally different from anything I knew about the BMW. The driver sits quite high, 67 cm off the ground, in a large, comfortable, soft armchair-like seat with an integrated headrest and Mercedes-style electric controls on the door. But the dashboard and steering wheel are positioned too low, and you don’t get that sporty feel of other BMW models, so you don’t sit in the seat, but on the seat.

Although you sit a little higher in the Mercedes, 70 cm off the ground, the EQS SUV has a more optimized driving position because the position in front of the steering wheel is more ergonomic, but you don’t have as many seating facilities as in the BMW iX M60, which comes standard with multi-function front seats that allow side and upper third adjustment. That’s why BMW’s seats can be converted into sports seats when needed.

On both models, the bonnet can only be opened at the service station, but that’s no loss because, despite the high power, there’s no V8 or V12 engine working there. So the windscreen reservoir fills up on the BMW via the logo on the bonnet, and on the Mercedes by pressing the lid on the front-left wing. In addition, on BMWs, you can wash the front radar camera by operating an automatic washer via the
multimedia system.

OS8 vs MBUX Hyperscreen
No, it’s not an episode of Star Wars. It is today’s reality. The BMW iX has unveiled the new OS8 operating system, based on two displays under a curved glass. The multimedia system screen now incorporates climate controls, so there’s no longer a physical button on the center console. Even the surface of the center console has been transformed into a touch field for activating driving modes and the main multimedia menus. Perhaps for reasons of tradition, BMW has kept the controller, but you can control now the multimedia system in several ways: touch, voice command, or gestures, which can also be configured.

Everything is complicated, even though BMW has tried to structure the multiple apps into two categories: those of the car and those external to it. If you want to see consumption, you wouldn’t even think of going into the Live Vehicle menu. But other information isn’t too intuitive to find either. That’s why OS8 works like Windows. If you want to search for something, you type in “Browse” as if you were searching for something on Google. Sounds simple, but it’s not so simple when driving. But like any operating system, you learn, so after a few months of driving around, you get familiar with it.

comparison BMW iX M60 vs Mercedes EQS 580 4Matic SUV

Mercedes “shows off” with the huge 1.41-meter wide Hyperscreen, which encases three OLED displays under one glass pane: two 12.3-inch displays for the instrument cluster and front passenger, and a 17.7-inch display for the multimedia system. It’s standard on the 580 4Matic version but costs 8,500 euros on the cheaper versions.

There are a lot of functions to manage, but Mercedes has handled this admirably. From the two small touch surfaces on the upper steering wheel arms – which, in my opinion, are the best solution in the industry – you can control the instrument cluster (left arm touch surface) and the multimedia system (right arm touch surface). From the lower ones, you can access adaptive autopilot, phone, audio volume, and voice control. The climate menu is always at the bottom of the multimedia system’s OLED screen, and from the haptic feedback button bar on the center tunnel, you have direct access to driving modes, audio volume, the most important menus, and the emergency button. Simply put, everything is extremely intuitive, despite the multiple functions.

With the shifter mounted in its traditional place on the steering wheel, space has been cleared in the center tunnel for the lidded drinks can compartment, which also has a protected place for wireless phone charging. And there’s another generous space in the center armrest, with each of the two compartments featuring two USB-C sockets.
At least on the infotainment front, the EQS SUV seems better prepared for off-roading, though neither has a low gear or lockable differentials. But the EQS’s off-road menu, with its very nice graphics, clinometer, altimeter, compass, and all-wheel steering angle display, can be useful in certain situations…

Sophisticated suspensions
Both models come standard with adaptive air suspension and all-wheel steering but are tuned differently. Not being an AMG model, the EQS SUV is very softly tuned and floats across the highway like a magic carpet in Comfort mode. In Sports, the suspension stiffens, but not much, and comfort remains the primary objective. As an M model, the BMW iX M60 is tuned a little firmer than the iX xDrive50, for example, but remains very comfortable in Comfort mode and becomes a little more punchy than the Mercedes in Sport. BMW benefits here by the more compact size and 150 kg less weight, having 2659 kg compared to 2810 kg for the Mercedes.

Both models are very quiet at high speeds, with a slight edge for the Mercedes. BMW wants to remind us of the era of the combustion engine and gives us some artificial sounds depending on the driving mode, composed by Hans Zimmer. But if you’re not a Vangelis or Jean Michel Jarre fan, you might not like it. Anyway, you can override them from the multimedia system, and you’ll notice that the Mercedes is a little quieter, but the differences are small.

comparison BMW iX M60 vs Mercedes EQS 580 4Matic SUV

BMW iX M60 is the top fiddle on paper in terms of longitudinal dynamics. Differences in torque and power give it the best acceleration up to 160 kph, but from 0 to 180 kph, both models accelerate in the same time of 13.2 seconds (see the technical data table). With current-excited synchronous motors and an asymmetrical rotor, unlike the permanent-magnet synchronous motors in the Mercedes, the BMW iX reacts more spontaneously at the press of the accelerator pedal and sprints off in the first few meters, while the acceleration is more linear, like a TGV in the Mercedes.

The BMW feels more incisive and agile. It understeers very little and tackles corners very confidently thanks to precise all-wheel steering that gives good feedback and a very good grip. With its double wishbone front suspension and five-link multilink rear suspension, borrowed from the X5, and dual-chamber air suspension, the iX is perfectly tuned and offers a perfect compromise between road holding and ride comfort.

The Mercedes EQS SUV understeers earlier than the BMW and puts more emphasis on comfort. The steering is more power-assisted and doesn’t offer the same pronounced feedback as the BMW. Around mid-position, the Mercedes’ steering always requires small corrections, which disrupts straight-line stability somewhat, and in high-speed turns, it sometimes requires more holding force without returning the favor with adequate transparency. By contrast, although the Mercedes has a longer wheelbase, it’s easier to handle in tight spaces, because the all-wheel steering has a greater steering angle than the BMW (10 degrees versus 3 degrees), and the Stuttgart giant turns in just 10.9 meters, just like a compact car. And despite the lower weight and superior agility feel, in dynamic testing, the Mercedes is almost on a par with the BMW (see table).

When braking, the BMW iX M60 brakes more linearly because the drive-by-wire system controls the transition between regenerative braking and hydraulic braking better, with the pedal stroke more linear than in the Mercedes. But in terms of braking distances, the Mercedes brakes are almost 2 meters shorter than 100 kph.

comparison BMW iX M60 vs Mercedes EQS 580 4Matic SUV

The figures are tricky
Both models have huge batteries that give them decent ranges, with a net capacity of 107.8 kWh in the Mercedes and 105.2 in the BMW. With a slightly better CX and less power, Mercedes should have consumed less. But the better CX and the 100% dedicated electric platform didn’t help much as the Mercedes consumed more in both eco and normal driving: 24.9 kWh/100 km versus 22.9 in eco and 33.1 kWh/100 km versus 30.9 in normal mode.

Thus, despite having a slightly larger net battery capacity, eco and normal driving ranges were shorter in the Mercedes: 359 and 477 km, compared to 381 and 515 km in the BMW. In the BMW iX M60, the 515 km eco-driving range is quite close to the WLTP value (564 km), while in the Mercedes the difference is quite large: 477 compared to 595 km.

Both cars charge quite quickly, but not as fast as the Porsche Taycan. From 10 to 80%, the BMW charges 195 kW in 35 minutes, and the Mercedes with 200 kW in 31 minutes. Mercedes charges more linearly, while the BMW’s charging power decreases in steps in the charge test.

Prices are astronomical, and there is a list of expensive options above: 132,804 euros for BMW and 147,922 euros for Mercedes. The electric era has its price.


Verdict

With the iX M60, BMW is focusing on sportiness, while the EQS SUV prioritizes comfort, offering a Rolls-Royce-style ride in Comfort mode. Roomier, quieter and more comfortable, the Mercedes EQS SUV would be better suited to long journeys, but the range is slightly less than BMW in both eco and normal mode.

TECHNICAL DATABMW iX M60Mercedes EQS 580 4Matic
Motors2, electric 2, electric
Max. output front/rear (kW)190/360na/na
Max. torque front/rear (Nm)nc./nc.na/na
Maximum output (kW/PS)455 (619)400 (544)
Maximum torque (Nm) 1015858
Continuous output (kW/PS)140 (190)135 (183)
Tractionelectric AWDelectric AWD
Gearbox1 gear, automatic1 gear, automatic
L × w × h (mm)4953 × 1967 × 16955125 × 1959 × 1718
Wheelbase (mm)30003210
Ground clearance (mm)203134
Boot volume (l)500–1750645–880
Kerbweight (kg)26592810
Acceleration 0–100 km/h (s)3.84.6
Top speed (km/h)250210
Battery capacity brutto/net111.5/105.2na/107.8
WLTP Energy consumption (kWh/100 km)21.820,9
WLTP range (km)564595
Price (euro with WATT)132.804162.800
MEASUREMENTS
Energy consumption
In test (kWh/100 km)30.933.1
Eco consumption (kWh/100 km)22.924.9
Range (km)381359
Eco range (km)515477
Charging time for 300 km (min)4238
Accelerations
0-50 kph (s)1.72
0-80 kph (s)2.83.3
0-100 kph (s)3.84.5
0-130 kph (s)5.86.9
0-160 kph (s)8.910.2
0-180 kph (s)13.213.2
0-200 kph (s)19.817.1
0-400 m (s)12.112.7
Brakes
from 100 kph cold (m)36.134.2
from 100 kph warm (m)36.034.1
Interior noise
at 100 kph (dBA)6263
at 130 kph (dBA)6665
at 180 kph (dBA)7270
Dynamic tests
slalom 18 m (kph)62.763.7
double lane change (kph)131.1131.1