During an interview with CNBC’s Phil Lebeau, BMW CEO Oliver Zipse confirmed to the auto analyst that the company will initiate production of a new model at BMW Group Plant Spartanburg in South Carolina next year. Spartanburg is BMW’s largest global production facility, and currently produces the X3, X4, X5, X6, and X7, along with their various M and M Performance sub-models. What could be an X8 sports activity coupe is expected to use the same modular rear-wheel-drive CLAR platform as the X7, but with a sloping roofline reminiscent of the X4, X6, and iX.
An X8 SAC has long been speculated as being in the BMW production pipeline, and such a model would slot against established competitors such as the Audi Q8 and Mercedes-Benz GLE coupe. These vehicles are effectively coupe versions of their conventional SUV stablemates with emphasis placed on form over function and practicality. While the overall footprint of the X8 is anticipated to be very similar to that of the X7, the X8 will have only two rows of seating as opposed to three.
The specific trim levels the X8 will be offered in are not yet known, but the conventional array of regular models and an M Performance variant are expected, with motivation coming from inline-six and V8 engines. There’s also the possibility of a full M version not unlike the X5 or X6 M, but this range-topper may actually be a hybrid. According to recent reports, BMW is already testing what could be an X8 M (or alternatively an XM) on the Nürburgring, and the model is anticipated to use BMW’s current S63 M twin-turbocharged V8 engine in addition to an electric motor (eDrive unit) for total system output above 700 horsepower. Such a treatment was not applied to the X7, the highest-performing versions of which are the X7 M50i and the Alpina XB7.
With production slated to commence next year at BMW Group Plant Spartanburg, the X8 is likely to be revealed in 2022 for the 2023 model year.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]