A BMW X8 is unlikely to release anytime soon, and here’s why

Update (March 20, 2024): ‘SUVs remain BMW’s mainstay in the U.S., XM still the flagship’ section updated and ‘No plans for a bigger luxury SUV, says BMWBlog’ section added.

Even a couple of years before the pandemic shook up the automotive world, there were whispers of an all-new SUV coming out of BMW’s heartland in Bavaria, as the BMW X8. This was a time when the BMW X7 was still brand-new, though rumors suggesting an even larger and more powerful model by BMW persist to this date. But what is this mystery car that has had brand loyalists so eager and excited? Let’s dive a little deeper to find out.

Spy shots & rumors about the BMW X8 were of the XM

BMW X8 PHEV rear spy shot
Prototypes that were reported as the BMW X8 in 2021, turned out to be that of the BMW XM. Image: Wilco Blok & kurt.muc

Considering its suggested positioning in the BMW line-up, the all-new model was naturally referred to as the BMW X8. International media called it the future BMW flagship, eclipsing the X7 to become the most expensive SUV from Bavaria.

Spy shots of a large camouflaged SUV were doing the rounds in 2021, with the test mules captured at the Nürburgring and on public roads in Germany. Media reports then suggested that the new model will likely be a coupe version of the X7, with an expected price tag of over $100,000.

We now know that the heavily-disguised prototypes captured back then showed up in production guise as the plug-in hybrid BMW XM in September 2022. In its most aggressive & brand-new ‘Label Red’ avatar, the SUV pairs a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 engine with an electric motor, producing a combined 738 hp and 737 lb.-ft. of torque. The 2023 XM starts from $159,000 in the U.S., with the Label Red priced at $185,000.

SUVs remain BMW’s mainstay in the U.S.; XM still the flagship

The brand’s largest SUV, the X7, made its international debut in October 2018. In late 2022, the MY2023 X7 arrived with a mid-cycle refresh & new features. Over the next few years, BMW would aim to boost sales of its leading crossovers—the X3, X5, and X7—whose sales declined in 2023 by 4.0%, 11.9%, and 6.2%, totaling 63,172 units, 72,573 units, and 28,797 units, respectively.”

2024 BMW X7 M60i front three quarter
U.S. sales of the X3, X4, X5, X6, and X7 have declined in 2023. Instead of introducing additional crossovers, refreshing and improving existing products would be a better use of resources.

Meanwhile, the XM should continue to be the brand’s top-of-the-line performance SUV, but its production numbers will understandably pale in comparison to the more comfort-oriented X7. All efforts will be directed to enhance the XM’s sales in 2024 as well, which clocked 2,315 units in 2023.

BMW’s electrification strategy & core models get priority

With global emission norms tightening its noose over the traditional internal combustion engine, the BMW Group continues to be bullish with its electric mobility plans, climate-neutrality goals, and strategies revolving around future vehicle offerings. The brand is aiming to electrify at least 30 percent of its global line-up by 2025, with around 50 percent of worldwide deliveries expected to comprise fully-electric models by 2030.

Starting in 2025, next-gen models such as the new BMW iX3 and the BMW 3 Series Electric, are to be based on the ‘Neue Klasse’ platform, which will be an 800-volt architecture with fast-charging times as quick as 12 minutes.

As with most legacy automakers, BMW is playing catch-up with Tesla when it comes to EVs that customers actually want. Therefore, the brand would rather focus time and resources on high-volume models than invest in brand-new but niche projects with lower returns, such as the BMW X8.

Alpina acquisition & market saturation for high-end SUVs

BMW X8 M front rendering
BMW has 8 SUVs in its line-up and that begs the question: What will the BMW X8 offer that its stablemates can’t? Image: BMW SUV rendition from 2021 by Instagram channel Germany’s Finest

There are already 8 SUV models in the BMW line-up here in America. Moreover, in early 2022, the prestigious performance-only Alpina brand was absorbed by the BMW Group. Soon after, the new BMW Alpina XB7 was launched as the ultimate expression of performance and luxury in a full-size family SUV. Sporting a starting price tag of $149,400 in the U.S., this 631-horsepower three-row SUV can rocket from 0-60 mph in just 3.9 seconds and tops out at an electronically limited 180 mph!

This begs the question, is there really room or need for yet another go-fast ‘Sports Activity Vehicle’ at this end of the market? While it is an extremely popular segment, there just might not be enough demand from prospective customers for BMW to seriously consider an all-new SUV (like the rumored BMW X8) in the near future. That’s what we’ve come to believe, at least!

No plans for a bigger luxury SUV, says BMWBlog

On January 31, 2024, citing its sources, BMW Blog said there’s no plan to release a BMW X8. The future of the XM itself is in limbo, as its market performance hasn’t convinced the top brass yet in Munich to renew it for a second generation. The BMW XM arrived at U.S. dealers in the first quarter of 2023, and annual sales (2,315 units) were only a fraction (8%) of the BMW X7 (28,797 units). Though the XM is a niche product, its sales likely fell short of all expectations set back in Munich.

Featured image: BMW SUV illustration from 2021 by S.Korean designer Kyuseo Choi