- The BMW X8 is a driver-focused two-row version of the X7
- Expected to debut later this year
- Will likely have the same powertrains as the X7, though plug-in hybrid variants are also possible
We got our first look at the BMW X8 about six months ago. Recent photos show the upcoming super-SUV continuing development and testing at the famed Nürburgring race circuit. Here's everything we know about the X8, including its rumored Lamborghini-fighting powertrain.
The easiest way to describe the BMW X8 is to compare it to one of its chief rivals. The three-row Audi Q7 and two-row Q8 are mechanically related crossovers, with the Q8 being more expensive even though it has fewer seats. Audi markets the Q8 as the sleek, fun-to-drive version — a feeling that is enhanced by the fact that the Q7's four-cylinder engine isn't available on the Q8 at all, and there's no Q7 equivalent of the bonkers-fast RS Q8.
Since Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz essentially follow one another's product portfolios in lockstep, we believe the BMW X7 and X8 are analogous to the Audi Q7 and Q8, respectively. The X8 will likely sport a sleeker design to complement its driver-focused demeanor, and that probably necessitates ditching the X7's third row of seating.
Our spy photographers believe that the X8 will be offered in both five- and four-seat configurations. The latter isn't common on typical luxury SUVs, though you can find it on more exotic offerings such as the Bentley Bentayga, Mercedes-Maybach GLS and Rolls-Royce Cullinan. The four-seat option would likely introduce power-adjustable rear seats and a full center console with all manner of comfort and entertainment features.
The X7 lineup currently consists of two models: the six-cylinder xDrive40i and the V8-powered M50i. Expect to see these powertrains in the X8 as well. However, our spy photographers have captured images of an X8 with hybrid badging, suggesting that a plug-in version of the X8 should also be available. Our photographers surmise that this is the same powertrain that drives the BMW 745e xDrive iPerformance — a six-cylinder plug-in variant of the 7 Series. In the 745e, the powerplant produces 389 horsepower and delivers up to 16 miles of all-electric range. If this powertrain is available for U.S.-bound X8s — and the battery pack is the same size as in the 7 Series — expect less EV range for the SUV.
Whispers abound of a high-performance hybrid as well, possibly to battle against the aforementioned RS Q8, Lamborghini Urus and other super-SUVs. Heck, Porsche's Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid is the top of the Cayenne food chain, and it's, well, a hybrid. BMW's M performance division reportedly is working on a powertrain as equally outrageous, with 750 horsepower a likely target.
BMW is targeting not only Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Porsche with its new X8 crossover but also the Bentley Bentayga and Mercedes-Maybach GLS. Look for more info when it is officially unveiled later in 2021.