The BMW X8 could share its architecture with the X7, which was previewed by the Concept X7 iPerformance. New trademarks have been filed in the Far East

The BMW X8 SUV is likely to be the brand’s highest-priced model when it is launched around 2020.

It will be pitched as a coupé-styled rival to the Range Rover and upcoming Audi Q8 and could compete in fully loaded guise against low-end versions of the Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus and Rolls-Royce Cullinan. The X8 moniker has been trademarked in markets around the world since 2018, with markets in the Far East being the latest to have X8 trademarks filed.

BMW’s head of development, Klaus Fröhlich, wouldn’t confirm plans to push BMW into an even higher price segment with the X8, but he did say such a car was under evaluation and the idea of it held strong appeal.

“The sector is growing fast, so there will be opportunity,” said Fröhlich. “It is early to talk about X8, but one of the first decisions I made when I worked on product strategy was to take the X5 and make the X6.

Everyone said it was not necessary, but it worked. Now we have the X2, X4 and X6. They are emotional and sporty derivatives that work for us. 

“There is room for X8 – especially in markets like China – but there are no decisions yet. Each car must have a distinct character, and these are the sort of areas that take time to evaluate.” 

Discussions are believed to centre on the platform structure the X8 would need and whether it should be a coupé version of the X7, which was revealed at the Frankfurt motor show and goes on sale in the middle of 2018, or a long- wheelbase version of that car, which would free up additional rear space and allow for a sweeping roofline. 

Either way, the X8 is likely to have the option of four or five seats across two rows, rather than the X7’s seven seats in three rows. As such, the emphasis will be on delivering luxurious rear-seat travel, with the materials and finishes chosen to further that goal, rather than being focused on outright practicality. 

While the latter idea is said to be favoured by many, it potentially adds complexity to the project as it may require the car to be built on a hybrid mix of BMW’s CLAR modular platform, which underpins the firm’s other X models, and the Rolls-Royce Cullinan’s new aluminium structure in order to achieve rigidity without adding too much weight or cost. 

The decision on how sweeping to make the roofline is said to hinge around the need for the rear seats to be commodious, given that the X8 is likely to be chauffeur driven for many owners, and how much differentiation is required to give the car a unique character from the X7. Achieving coherent styling of the sweeping roofline without bringing down the roof height ahead of the boot line will inevitably be problematic. 

The X7’s dimensions in comparison to rivals suggest there is room for a longer version in the line- up. It is 5020mm long with a wheelbase of 3010mm, while the Mercedes-Benz GLS is 5131mm long and has a wheelbase of 3076mm. 

A Range Rover is 4999mm long and has a wheelbase of 2922mm in standard form. Power is likely to come from the same powertrains as for the X7, although the sales focus in China, Russia and the Middle East may mean that initial offerings are confined to higher-powered petrol or plug-in petrol-electric hybrid drivelines. Given those target markets, the possibility of a V12-engined X8, powered by the 592bhp, 590lb ft 6.6-litre unit that is found in the 7 Series, is highly likely. 

The petrol-electric hybrid powertrain is believed to be derived from the same set-up as that used by the 740e xDrive iPerformance, with a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine operating in combination with an electric motor in the forward section of the gearbox housing, albeit with a larger-capacity battery to give a 62-mile electric range. 

Related stories: 

BMW Concept X7 iPerformance revealed 

BMW X6 review 

BMW X3 review

Join the debate

Comments
16

15 November 2017

It can't look like that. The real finished one. It can't look like that. Can it?

21 May 2018

Proctologists will be most familiar with the look of this car.

15 November 2017

How many more of these ridiculous fat cars do we need?

Citroëniste.

15 November 2017

Ironically BMWs have less character than ever. The world doesn't need the X6 - what on earth is the X8 for?

15 November 2017

They just can't build a nice looking SUV.

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

15 November 2017

It's that horrid grille again!

wmb

15 November 2017

...in the minority here, but I Love it! I say that BMW should build both, for if they do the X8 and not a long wheel base X7, they risk leaving that money on the table for the after market to take. Sadly, I fear that a long wheel base or stretched version of the X7 may hurt sales of similar versions of the 7 Series. All that being said, IMHO, now more then ever does JLR need to put a full size J-Pace into production. This way Ranger Rover may remain the standard of luxury for both off and on road, while the J-Pace (with style and sporty driving dynamics) can more directly compete with the growing crop of all weather, road biased full size SUV's that are coming to market! 

15 November 2017

"The decision on how sweeping to make the roofline is said to hinge around the need for the rear seats to be commodious, given that the X8 is likely to be chauffeur driven for many owners" -

This is not an inherent problem but a problem entirely of BMW's own making, that is to make a huge car and decide to give it a coupe roof. Shame on you BMW and zero sympathy from me.

16 November 2017

Given how BMW stick to thier styling rulebook Its not going to look much deferent is it?

16 November 2017

Utterly hideous.

Steam cars are due a revival.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LS500h 2018 road test review hero front
    Car review
    15 June 2018
    Lexus aims to reset the luxury saloon benchmark with its bold new LS flagship
  • Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 2018 first drive review hero front
    First Drive
    15 June 2018
    A more efficient petrol engine, enhanced electric powertrain and improved refinement make the world's best-selling plug-in car stronger than ever
  • Honda Civic Type R
    First Drive
    15 June 2018
    It’s a warm welcome to this steaming hot hatch. But is it too fiery for Britain’s roads?
  • Mercedes-Benz X-Class longterm review hero front
    First Drive
    14 June 2018
    Is Stuttgart’s decision to build a pick-up a shrewd one? We’re about to find out as we add the X-Class to our long-term fleet
  • Jeep Renegade 2018 review hero front
    First Drive
    13 June 2018
    Jeep hopes that new engines and some stylish design tweaks will return its Renegade to the sharp end of the increasingly competitive small SUV class