2021 BMW X8
BMW is about to invent a new niche!by Ciprian Florea, on
The 2021 BMW X8 is an upcoming crossover based on the familiar X7. Rumored to arrive by the end of 2020 or in 2021, the X8 will fill another gap in BMW’s SUV lineup. Essentially an X7 with a coupe-style roof, the X8 will become BMW’s range-topping coupe-SUV, as it will slot above the X6.
BMW has yet to confirm the existence of the X8, but intel from BMWBlog claims that the vehicle is already in development with the internal designation G09 (the X7 is codenamed G07). Once it arrives, the X8 will be the eighth SUV in BMW’s lineup. What do we know about the X8? Quite a lot, and we also have a couple of renderings of the SUV’s design. Join me in the speculative review for more.
2021 BMW X8
- Based on the X7
- Bold front fascia
- Massive front grille
- Coupe-style roof
- Muscular rear fenders
- Deck lid tailgate
- Aerodynamic spoiler
- Should look sporty
- Too similar to the X6?
The relation between the X8 and the X7 will be identical to that between the X6 and the X5.
This means that the X8 will be a coupe version of the X7 with some changes here and there. BMW will transplant the front end of the X7 to the X8, so expect to see the same massive kidney grille with seven vertical slats and thick chrome grille. The grille will be flanked by thin headlamps, but BMW could make changes to their shape. It could opt for wider outer sections and a revised LED pattern, all aimed to deliver a slightly sportier look.
The bumper should also be slightly different. Not that the X7’s isn’t sporty already, but BMW might opt for even bigger intakes and a slimmer lower intake. The engine hood should remain the same, as will the angle of the windshield.
The X8's profile will boast the biggest changes.
Although the SUV will remain identical to the X7 from the nose to the B-pillars, things will change toward the back, starting with the shape of the roof. The boxy upper section of the X7 will be replaced by a sloping line that descends toward the rear fascia. The new roof will result in a new shape for the rear door and a smaller quarter window. Because the rear section of the roof will become slightly narrower toward the back, the rear fenders will look more muscular than on the X7. The X8 will also feature a short decklid instead of the traditional tailgate design.
As seen in our rendering, the changes are pretty obvious in the back. Just mix the design cues of the X7 with the overall layout of the X6, and boom, there’s your X8. I expect BMW to keep all of the important features from the X7, including the slim taillights with the chrome strip between them, the clean and boxy fascia, and the sturdy bumper with the rectangular exhaust pipes. But the upper section will be different, as the traditional tailgate with make way for a coupe-style hatch with an angled window, a short decklid, and a spoiler on certain trims.
How does it look overall? Well, if you’re a fan of the X6, you’ll definitely like the X8. But if you don’t fancy the hunchback design of coupe-style SUV, you’d better stick with boxier crossovers, like the X5 or the X7.
- Identical to the X7
- Same tech
- Digital instrument cluster
- 12.3-inch infotainment screen
- Optional rear-seat entertainment
- Reconfigured rear compartment
- No third-row option
- Five-seat capacity
- Smaller trunk
- Limited rear-seat headroom
Looking at how BMW designed the X6 in relation to the X5, it's safe to say that the interior of the X8 will be virtually identical to the X7.
But since the latter is very similar to the X5, the X8 will follow suit. In short, it will be a roomier variant of the X6. The good news is that the X5 is still fresh, so the X8 won’t look outdated if it debuts in 2021.
It will feature the same modern and clean design with the iDrive controller, gear selector, start/stop button, the Driving Experience Control switches, and controls for the air suspension and optional off-road modes are all grouped together on the center console.
Just like the X7, the X8 will be packed with fine materials. The base model, most like the xDrive40i trim, will come standard with black SensaTec or a choice of nine premium Vernasca and Extended Merino Leathers. The more expensive xDrive50i will feature standard Vernasca leather, available in various colors, with the option to upgrade to an Extended Merino Leather interior.
A two-tone interior will also be available on the options list, as will a leather dashboard, glass controls for the start/stop button, gear shift lever, iDrive Controller and radio volume knob, and a Panoramic Sky Lounge LED roof. This roof lights up when it gets dark outside and features LED lights that illuminate more than 15,000 graphic patterns, so it’s basically a copy of the starlit sky roof installed on the Rolls-Royce Phantom.
Tech-wise, the X8 will borrow everything from the X7:
- the Live Cockpit Professional infotainment system that brings together a 12.3-inch instrument cluster
- the 12.3-inch display on the center stack
- new haptic controls for the iDrive controller
- a tablet-like touch surface
The instrument cluster will similar, with the speedo and the rev counter to the outer edges as geometric bands instead of traditional "gauges."
An optional Connected Package Professional will add luxury apps like Remote Services, Concierge Services, On-Street Parking Information, and Real-Time Traffic Information. Wireless charging and WiFi hotspot should be standard on every trim, just like in the X7, but you’ll have to pay extra for rear-seat entertainment, which includes a pair of 10.2-inch full-HD touchscreen displays, a Blu-ray-compatible DVD player, an HDMI socket, and two headphone jacks.
The SUV will also be fitted with the latest BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant. This is a digital character that responds to the prompt "Hey BMW" and can be used to find out information and make phone calls by speaking to it. It will also feature a new Remote Software Upgrade that will keep the vehicle up to date with the latest software via over-the-air updates, similar to smartphones or Teslas.
Speaking of smartphones, the X8 will feature a BMW Digital Key that allows you to lock and unlock the X8 using your phone.
All you have to do is hold the smartphone up to the door handle to get inside and place it on the wireless charging or phone tray to start the engine.
The rear compartment is where the X8 will stand out compared to the X7. While the latter was designed to carry up to seven people, the X8 won’t feature a third-row seating option. That’s because it won’t have enough room for extra seats due to the shape of the roof. The third-row seats in the X7 aren’t particularly comfortable, so it would be impossible to actually carry people behind the second row. What’s more, second-row headroom might decrease due to the coupe-style roof, so the X8 won’t be as comfortable as its boxier sibling.
The coupe layout will also impact trunk space.
While the X7 offers 48.6 cubic feet of luggage room behind the second-row seats, the X8 will probably offer around 35 cubic feet.
With the second-row seats folded flat, the X8 will probably be good for around 75 cubic feet, down from the 90.4-cubic-foot capacity of the X7.
- Same engines as X7
- M50i model with 523 horsepower
- V-12 model possible
- Eight-speed automatic transmission
- Standard AWD
- Off-road capable
- Diesel engines in Europe
- Sporty setup on demand
As you might have already guessed, the X8 will share engines with the X7 as well. But this is good news, as the big SUV comes with a handful of powerful drivetrains.
The U.S. lineup will begin with the xDrive40i model, powered by a turbocharged, 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine.
This version will arrive with 335 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque and it will take you to 60 mph in around 5.8 seconds. Top speed will be limited, just like the X7, at 152 mph.
More power will come with the xDrive50i variant. This setup features a twin-turbo, 4.4-liter V-8 that cranks out 456 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. This X8 will be quicker from zero to 60 mph, as it will probably hit the benchmark in 5.2 seconds. Top speed increases to 155 mph, a familiar figure for German premium SUVs.
Moving over to the current range-topping model in the X7, the M50i will also become available with the X8.
This M-prepped model features a different version of the 4.4-liter V-8 that generates a whopping 523 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of twist, just like in the 8 Series coupe. The M50i will probably need only 4.4 seconds to hit 60 mph, almost a full second quicker than the xDrive50i.
|BMW X7 xDr40i||BMW X7 xDr50i||BMW X7 M50i|
|Engine||3.0-liter six-cylinder||twin-turbo, 4.4-liter V-8||twin-turbo, 4.4-liter V-8|
|Horsepower||335 HP @ 5,500 – 6,500 RPM||456 HP @ 5,250 – 6,000 RPM||523 HP|
|Torque||330 LB-FT @ 1,500 – 5,200||479 LB-FT @ 1,500 – 4,750 RPM||553 LB-FT|
|0-60 mph seconds||5.8||5.2||4.4|
|Top speed mph||130||130||155|
The M50i might not be the most powerful option. Word has it that BMW will soon introduce a V-12 version of the X7, so the X8 might feature it as well. The rumors comes from an X7 customer that discovered an M60i logo for the instrument cluster in the SUV’s computer, which suggests that the engine from the M760i version of the 7 Series will make it in the SUV. The 6.6-liter V-12 mill pumps a whopping 601 horsepower into the sedan and pushes it from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. Granted, the X8 will be a bit slower, but it could still reach the benchmark in an amazing 4.2 seconds.
|Config/No of cyls/valves||V/12/4|
|Engine technology||M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology: two mono-scroll turbochargers, High Precision Direct Injection, Double-VANOS variable camshaft control|
|Effective capacity cc||6,592|
|Output||601 HP @ 5,500 RPM|
|Torque||590 LB-FT @ 1,500 RPM|
|Acceleration 0–100 km/h||3.9 seconds|
|Maximum speed||250 KM/H (155 MPH)|
European customers will have access to a couple of extra engines, both using diesel. Again, both will be shared with the X7.
The base diesel-powered model will be called the xDrive30d draws juice from a 3.0-liter six-cylinder that generates 261 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque.
It needs seven seconds to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph, to go with a top speed of 141 mph.
The second diesel-powered model, the M50d, has the same engine under the hood, but with upgraded internals and rated at a more potent 394 horsepower and 561 pound-feet of twist. This SUV will take you to 62 mph in 5.4 seconds and up to a top speed of 155 mph.
|BMW X7 xDrive30d||BMW X7 M50d|
|Engine||3.0-liter six-cylinder||3.0-liter six-cylinder|
|Horsepower||261 hp||394 HP|
|Torque||457 LB-FT||561 LB-FT|
|0-60 mph seconds||7.0||5.4|
|Top speed mph||141||155|
All engines will be paired to an eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission and BMW’s latest xDrive AWD system.
The X8’s xDrive will able to split torque between the front and rear axles with great precision and speed or redirect all the power to the rear wheels when AWD is not required.
The X8 will also feature four-wheel steering, a system that turns the rear wheels either in the same direction as the front, to enhance stability in high-speed maneuvers, or in the opposite direction, to improve low-speed agility by decreasing the turning radius. And while it might not be able to tow up to 7,500 pounds like the X7, it will feel slightly sportier on the road.
Safety and driving assist features
Standard safety features on the X8 will be identical to the X7 and include the following:
- Active Protection and Active Driving Assistant with Blind Spot Detection
- Lane Departure Warning
- Rear Collision Warning
- Frontal Collision Warning and Pedestrian Warning with City Collision Mitigation
- Cross Traffic Alert Rear
- Speed Limit Information
The xDrive50i will come with all of the above plus Parking Assistant Plus, a package that adds Top View, Panorama View, and 3D View.
BMW will also offer the Driving Assistant Professional package with Extended Traffic Jam Assist for limited access highways as well as the Lane Keeping Assistant with Active Side-Collision protection.
The Extended Traffic Jam Assist, now a common option for luxury cars, will provide assistance in stop-and-go traffic and will monitor your eye and nose position to determine if you're watching the road ahead.
You’ll also be able to add the Driving Assistant Professional package and Emergency Stop Assistant. The latter can be used in case of medical emergency and you can activate it by pulling the parking brake switch. It activates the hazard warning lights and the Intelligent Emergency Call function automatically notifies the BMW Assist call center so the emergency services can be alerted.
The Parking Assistant Professional enables automatic selection and use of parallel parking spaces, which are detected by ultrasonic sensors mounted at the front and rear of the SUV. The system takes care of the acceleration, braking, steering and gear changes necessary to maneuver into the space. Finally, the Back-Up Assistant provides assistance when leaving a parking space or entering a confined area by reversing the vehicle for a distance of up to 50 yards.
The BMW X8 will probably become the German company’s most expensive SUV. Because the X6 costs more than the X5, it’s safe to assume that the X8 will also fetch more than the X7. How much more?
Well, it's too early to say, but given that the X7 comes in at $73,900, the X8 could cost $80,000 before options in base trim.
While the midsize SUV market is already packed with coupe-style models, there are no such vehicles in the full-size segment. So the X8 will hit the market without direct competitors. Until other automakers join this brand-new niche, the X8 will compete with the same SUVs as the X6. The list includes the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe, the Audi Q8, and the Porsche Cayenne Coupe, just to name a few. But realistically speaking, Mercedes-Benz is the only company that would consider a coupe version of the GLS to go against the X8.
The BMW X8 brings an important question up front: does it make sense? Well, not really.
With no similar models on the market, it sure seems like BMW has no goals to chase. However, the X6 didn’t make much sense either when it was introduced back in 2007 and look what it did to the market. Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche all rushed to offer similar models and the segment is heavily contested now. The X8 could do the same and motivate other carmakers to build coupe-style full-size SUVs. It’s not a segment that would return big sales, but it would definitely return important profits given the premium status and stickers that will exceed the $80,000 mark.