BMW M's first performance hybrid comes into focus.
BMW M recently went on record to assure enthusiasts that its core models like the M2, M3, and M4 won't be getting electrified as the automaker is worried this would dilute the brand. Instead, larger SUVs like the X5 M are more likely to get the plug-in hybrid treatment, but the performance brand still needs to overcome certain technical challenges such as reducing the weight added by incorporating hybrid technology.
BMW M boss Markus Flasch has also hinted that an M Performance SUV is already in development, but didn't say which model will enter production. According to BMW Blog, however, BMW M is working on a plug-in hybrid version of the upcoming X8 flagship SUV.
BMW M's first performance hybrid will allegedly be badged as the X8 M45e and will be one of three X8 models including the full-fat X8 M to rival Audi RS Q8, the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 and the Porsche Cayenne Turbo.
BMW Blog believes the plug-in hybrid X8 will adopt a 3.0 liter inline-six-cylinder engine paired with an electric drivetrain. BMW's current PHEV drivetrains deliver 286 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque from the six-cylinder engine and 113 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque from the electric motor, delivering a total of around 394 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque. Being BMW's future flagship SUV, the X8 M45e is likely to have more power and a longer range.
The range-topping X7 XDrive50i has a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 that produces 456 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque, enabling the luxury SUV to accelerate from 0-62 mph in 5.2 seconds, so expect the X8 M to pack even more power.
According to BMW Blog, the X8 will also have a more distinctive design than the X6 and X7 with a new kidney grille and a different shape. It will also be more luxurious and more expensive than the X7, which starts at $73,900. Don't be surprised if the X8 becomes BMW's most expensive model yet. The BMW X8 is expected to debut in late 2020 or early 2021.