Currently reading: 2022 BMW X8: prototype hits the Nurburgring
Development ramps up for the Bentley Bentayga rival before its reveal later this year

BMW’s new Bentley Bentayga-rivalling luxury SUV - the X8 - has been spotted testing at the Nürburgring Nordschleife.

New images provide the closest look yet at the previously spotted prototype as development ramps up ahead of its anticipated reveal later this year, before a full launch in 2022.

Set to be called the X8, following a series of global trademark filings in 2018,  the new arrival is likely to be the most expensive model in BMW's line-up when it goes on sale.

These images suggest that the X8 will not, as previously thought, adopt a coupé-style roofline like that of the similarly conceived Audi Q8 and Lamborghini Urus. Instead, we can see that its upright rear, extended roofline and lengthy rear overhang should allow for three rows of seats inside, most likely with the choice of six or seven seats.

At the front, the prototype adopts different styling from that of its X7 stablemate, going against earlier indications that it would be heavily based on the existing car. Although the X7's prominent front grilles look to have been carried across, the X8's lower air intake appears to have been reshaped, with a new bonnet design and lower splitter further setting it apart. 

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The X7 is due for a facelift, but a recently spotted prototype indicated that changes to the front end will centre on the introduction of narrower new headlights, in line with the upcoming i7 electric saloon, which also appear to feature on the X8. 

In 2018, then head of development Klaus Fröhlich told Autocar that BMW was evaluating the idea of a new addition at the top end of its model line-up. The sector is growing fast, so there will be opportunity,” he said. “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. 

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“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.” 

At the time, internal discussion was believed to be centred on whether the new flagship should serve as a coupé-bodied or extended-wheelbased version of the X7. The latter was said to be a popular option but more complex as it would require BMW to create a bespoke platform using elements from both the X7 and its Rolls-Royce Cullinan sibling.

Technical details have yet to be revealed, but the X8 can be expected to offer the same xDrive40i and xDrive40d engines as its X7 stablemate, while ushering in a plug-in hybrid version - confirmed by the mandatory hybrid stickers on this prototype.

It will also gain a range-topping X8 M performance variant, which could have up to 750bhp, according to BMW insiders.


BMW X8: Range Rover rival edges closer to production​

2022 BMW X7: restyled front end shown in new images​

New BMW i7: electric 7 Series spotted for the first time​

Felix Page

Felix Page
Title: News and features editor

Felix is Autocar's news editor, responsible for leading the brand's agenda-shaping coverage across all facets of the global automotive industry - both in print and online.

He has interviewed the most powerful and widely respected people in motoring, covered the reveals and launches of today's most important cars, and broken some of the biggest automotive stories of the last few years. 

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275not599 22 May 2021
BMW need a new brand to fill the gap between BMW and Rolls Royce as I don't think BMW can stretch up very high and we don't want a Rolls for the plebs. This is where VAG has an advantage. Doing a Maybach isn't the answer, it needs to look completely different like Mini.
Bob Cholmondeley 21 May 2021

The new "World's fastest lorry".

Citytiger 21 May 2021

Ah yes welcome to the world of BMW numbering strategy where odd numers are the traditional models and even number are the sporty/coupe ones, except when it comes to the 2 series when its also a people carrier or the new 8 series which is a bigger version of the already too big 7 but not sporty or a coupe. Still never mind, slap an enourmous grill on it and sell it to the Americans and Chinese.