The X8 could be positioned as BMW's flagship model.
BMW is considering a new X8 SUV model that would be positioned as the brand's flagship vehicle, a new report finds.
With the SUV craze showing no signs of slowing, BMW is exploring new ways to tap the ever-growing utility vehicle market. The company will soon launch a new three-row SUV known as the X7 (pictured), but BMW's SUV expansion might not end there.
Klaus Frohlich, head of BMW development, has confirmed that a new X8 model is under consideration. The X8 would sit atop BMW's SUV lineup and target vehicles like the Land Rover Range Rover, Audi Q8 and potentially even more up-scale vehicles like the Bentley Bentayga.
"The sector is growing fast, so there will be opportunity," Frohlich told Autocar. "It is early to talk about X8, but one of the first decisions I made when I worked on product strategy was to take the X5 and make the X6."
He added: "There is room for X8 - especially in markets like China - but there are no decisions yet."
Like BMW's other evenly-numbered models, the X8 is being conceived as a coupe-like model. However, that's proving troublesome for the car's intended positioning as a chauffeur-driven model; a sloping roof on the X7's platform could severely impact rear-seat headroom. Because of that, BMW is considering building the X8 on a mix of its CLAR modular architecture and the aluminum platform that will underpin the upcoming Rolls-Royce Cullinan SUV. That hybrid platform would allow for a longer wheelbase that could accommodate a fastback roof without sacrificing rear-seat headroom.
With utility not a major concern, the X8 will be available exclusively in four- or five-seat configurations. The X7, meanwhile, will offer three-rows of seating.
Power for the X8 would likely come from V8 and V12 gas engines. A plug-in hybrid drivetrain is also a distinct possibility.
Pricing is still a mystery, but the X8 could end up being the most expensive vehicle in BMW's lineup. If given the green light, the X8 won't appear in dealer showrooms until 2020 at the earliest.