The BMW X7 didn’t get to be top dog for long, with the Bavarian automaker readying a new X8 flagship.

    Spied testing on public roads, the BMW X8’s biggest standouts are the unusual stacked, hexagonal exhaust outlets, while a ‘Hybrid Test Vehicle’ sticker indicates this model will be electrified.

    With BMW M’s 50th birthday celebrations to begin next year, expect the brand-new X8 to be front and centre.

    It’ll most likely debut sometime later in 2021 before its official launch in 2022.

    Reports from BMW Blog suggest the X8 will be offered in two variants: a 460kW M version and an M Competition, with a total system output of 552kW from its twin-turbocharged V8 engine and plug-in hybrid powertrain.

    That would make the X8 M Competition the first plug-in hybrid model to wear the mighty ‘M’ badge.

    In even more of a departure, the X8 M will reportedly be the M Division’s first bespoke product since the 1978-81 M1.

    It’s said to wear the codename ‘Project Rockstar’.

    Though previous spy photos have shown the X8 to be as large as a three-row X7, it’s expected the X8 will have only a two-row layout with either four or five seats.

    While it doesn’t appear to have an overtly coupe crossover-style silhouette like an X6, it’s certainly more rakish than the boxy X7.

    The side window line, for example, sweeps dramatically upwards from around the trailing edge of the rear door, while the tailgate isn’t as upright.

    It does seem like the X8 will feature — just like the recently spied X7 facelift — a split headlight arrangement.

    The X8 will also have a wider grille than its more practical sibling, as well as a unique clamshell-style bonnet.

    It’s almost certain the X8 will be the most luxurious, yet most expensive SUV offered by the company.

    It could also wear the ‘XM’ nameplate, much as the all-electric iX doesn’t include a number in its name.

    The XM name has been used on a flagship product before, though that was a front-wheel drive Citroen hatch and wagon manufactured from 1989 to 2000.

    Zak Adkins
    Zak Adkins is a Contributor at CarExpert.
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