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.
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.