Should anyone be surprised? No.
Although the project has yet to be given the official greenlight, BMW is reportedly studying the possibility of a new luxury SUV slotted above the upcoming X7. According to BMW Blog, the German automaker is evaluating whether or not to produce an X8, which would likely target the likes of the Bentley Bentayga and the upcoming Audi Q8, which was revealed in concept form at Detroit. The confirmed X7, which we’ve already seen in spy shots, will be a three-row SUV but BMW believes there’s a market for something even more luxurious and sporty-looking.
Think of the X8 as a sexier, more coupe-like styling alternative to the X7, as is the case with the X5 and X6. However, the X8 could become the only X model not to be built on BMW’s CLAR modular platform. Instead it could share a few CLAR components and underpinnings with the upcoming Rolls-Royce Cullinan’s lightweight aluminum structure. In order to make the X8 relevant in its segment, BMW would also need to ensure its rear seat passengers have the same feeling of space they’d experience in the X7, meaning sufficient headroom with a roofline that dips more aggressively towards the rear end.
Expect to see a 2+2 seating arrangement only; a third-row rear bench, which is optional in the X6, won’t be offered. As far as powertrains go, the X8 will likely offer two gasoline engine options, the xDrive40i and xDrive50i, and two plug-in hybrids, the xDrive50e iPerformance and xDrive60e iPerformance. If BMW decides to go ahead with the X8, don’t expect to see it arrive until 2020 at the very earliest.