M division plans electrified V-8 crossover

BMW is developing a new crossover positioned above the X7 and possibly badged an X8—a name the automaker has trademarked.

It will be similar in size to the full-size X7 but with sportier, more dynamic proportions and a lower and flatter roof, as our latest spy shots of prototype versions indicate. Imagine the final design resembling a supersized X2.

What isn’t clear is whether the new crossover will be a regular BMW model or a standalone model for the M division, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2022—the same year in which this new crossover is set for debut. Enthusiast website BMW Blog reported in June that the mystery crossover will in fact be a standalone M division model badged an X M.

Our spy shots show what’s likely to be a range-topping version of the crossover, as evidenced by the huge wheel and tire combo, plus the quad-exhaust tips which feature a new stacked design. One of the prototypes even looks to be sporting carbon-ceramic brake rotors.

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

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

Stickers on the prototypes point to a hybrid powertrain being tested. We expect an electrified V-8 powertrain, specifically a plug-in hybrid setup with a combined output approaching 750 hp. Such an output would make the crossover the most powerful BMW road car yet, which would be fitting for an M division halo.

The powertrain is expected to feature BMW’s traditional 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8, together with a single electric motor generating 200 hp. If the engineers go with BMW’s existing plug-in hybrid design, the electric motor will be sandwiched between the V-8 and transmission. Porsche has been offering a V-8 plug-in hybrid setup for years in the Turbo S E-Hybrid versions of the Panamera and Cayenne.

The setup is also destined for future Mercedes-Benz AMG models, where it will deliver over 800 hp. AMG’s first application will be a new range-topper for the GT 4-Door Coupe.

The M division has already hinted at an electrified future with 2019’s Vision M Next concept, a plug-in hybrid supercar that sadly no longer looks to be production bound. BMW’s in-house tuner and motorsport division is also developing battery-electric powertrains. The first of these is the 536-hp setup in the i4 M50. An iX M60 is also planned, and we’ve heard that the next M5 due around 2024 may come with the choice of plug-in hybrid or battery-electric power. Stay tuned.

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