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BMW's X8 flagship comes into focus

by Ronan Glon

If approved for production, the X8 likely won\'t arrive before 2020.

BMW remains on track to introduce a flagship SUV named X8, according to a recent report. Insiders don't deny the possibility of a model positioned above the upcoming X7 but they stress a decision hasn't been made yet.

"There is room for X8 - especially in markets like China - but there are no decisions yet. Each car must have a distinct character, and these are the sort of areas that take time to evaluate," BMW development boss Klaus Fro?hlich told British magazine Autocar.

That's only part of the story, according to the magazine. It reports BMW has already started working on the model, though it's still at the embryonic stage of the project. Officials are still unsure whether the X8 should take the form of a swoopier X7 with a fastback-like roof line like the X6 or become a long-wheelbase SUV. Either way, it will offer only two rows of seats instead of three in the more family-oriented X7 it will share at least part of its platform with.

Power will come from either the 6.6-liter, 600-horsepower V12 engine found in the 7 Series or from a gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid powertrain. BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system will come standard regardless of what's under the hood.

Fully loaded, the X8 will compete in the same segment as the Lamborghini Urus, and the Bentley Bentayga. Entry-level variants will carry a more down-to-earth base price tag, though they still won't be cheap.

We'll learn more about the model (and its chances for production) when BMW introduces the X7 later this year. If approved for production, the X8 likely won't arrive before 2020.

Note: BMW X7 iPerformance concept pictured. Photography by Ronan Glon.