Flagship SUV in the works

Rumors of a new BMW SUV positioned above the X7 have persisted for years and now we have evidence that one is in fact coming.

A prototype for the new flagship SUV has been spotted, and it reveals that designers have adopted the sloped roof of the X2 instead of the flat roof of the X5 and X7 and coupe-like roof of the X4 and X6.

2023 BMW X8 spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf / SB-Medien

Such a roof design provides more headroom for rear-seat passengers, which is an important factor in the Chinese market where a large number of the SUVs will end up. Don’t be surprised if there’s also an option of two executive-style seats in the rear instead of the standard three-seat bench, once again to cater to the Chinese market.

The name X8 is likely attached to the upcoming SUV given the discovery of a trademark filing for “X8” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office as early as 2016. Interestingly, “X8 M” has also been trademarked, hinting at a potential high-performance variant from BMW M. Rumors point to the M version of this new SUV packing an electrified V-8 delivering close to 750 horsepower.

2023 BMW X8 spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf / SB-Medien

2023 BMW X8 spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf / SB-Medien

The prototype in our spy shots is a hybrid, specifically a plug-in hybrid as evidenced by a cover for a charging port on the driver’s side front fender. The powertrain is likely to be a version of the 3.0-liter inline-6 and single electric motor setup that features in the 7-Series’ 745e variant. It’s good for 389 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque.

Underpinning the vehicle is the same high-riding version of BMW’s CLAR modular platform found in the X7. The two SUVs are also likely to share styling cues, as prototypes for an updated X7 (shown below) with similar styling to this X8 have been spotted. Both look to feature low-set headlights, a design destined for a redesigned 7-Series due about the same time as the new X8 and updated X7.

2023 BMW X7 spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2023 BMW X7 spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

We should see all three BMW flagships arrive around 2022, meaning they’ll likely arrive as 2023 models. The X8 will compete with mid- to full-size luxury SUVs like the Audi Q8, upcoming Jaguar J-Pace, and Land Rover’s Range Rover and Range Rover Sport duo.

Production will almost certainly take place on the same line as the X7 at BMW’s plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina. And as for pricing? Don’t expect much change from $100,000 once a few basic options are added.

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