Bavaria’s flagship SUV hits the road with big grilles, sloping roofline and X7 dimensions.
BMW’s upcoming X8 flagship SUV has made its European on-road spy debut this week.
Due to go on sale in 2022, the rumoured X8 – or, according to some insiders, XM – will sit above the current X7 as the flagship model in BMW’s SUV range, reportedly positioned as a high-performance halo with a focus on driving dynamics.
Images captured by our spy photography partners reveal a lower, more steeply raked roofline than the boxier X7, though the X8 prototype’s 275/40R22 front and 315/35R22 rear tyres – as fitted to high-spec versions of the X7 – suggest an overall size and footprint similar to the current flagship.
Up front there’s a large, connected interpretation of BMW’s kidney grilles, flanked by slim headlights mounted lower than those of the X7 – with some reports pointing to a split design, with the main beam mounted low and the daytime-running lights integrated into the clamshell bonnet.
High-set, thin tail-lights headline an upright, sculpted rear fascia.
While we’ve yet to catch a glimpse of the X8’s cabin, it’s likely the Bavarian brand’s latest comfort and connectivity technologies will feature, including plush leather-trimmed seats, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 12.3-inch iDrive infotainment touchscreen with smartphone mirroring and satellite navigation.
The ‘Hybrid Test Vehicle’ sticker on the front doors and charging door on the front left quarter lends weight to rumours earlier this year pointing to a choice of performance-oriented plug-in hybrid powertrains being offered with the X8.
Opening the range is slated to be the ‘M45e’, using a version of the X5 xDrive45e’s 3.0-litre turbocharged inline-six and electric motor pairing for outputs in excess of 290kW and 600Nm.
A flagship M model is rumoured to mate BMW’s 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 to a 150kW electric motor for a total of 560kW and 1000Nm – a drivetrain that will reportedly be shared with the next-generation ‘G60’ M5 super-sedan.
Stay tuned to CarAdvice for further coverage on the new 2022 BMW X8 in coming months and years, as the halo crossover nears its rumoured public debut in late 2021 or early 2022.
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Below: The X8’s more upright sibling, the X7
2022 BMW X8 spy photos