Rumours of a large new BMW SUV have been swirling around the Internet since November 2017 but it wasn't until a couple of months ago when chairman Oliver Zipse indirectly confirmed the umpteenth addition to the X lineup. Speaking with CNBC in late August, he briefly talked about a "high-end car" due to be built in Spartanburg following a world premiere before the end of 2021.
To be shown at a private event on November 17, the "all-new high-powered, hybrid-electric vehicle" as it's being described in a press release will publicly break cover on November 29 at 8 PM Eastern Time. Confirming rumours of a bespoke M product, BMW USA says the premiere will feature a new "M flagship vehicle," which could indeed mean the model will be an M-only affair.
Gallery: BMW X8 Spied Flaunting Unusual Tailpipe Layout
There are conflicting reports about how it's going to be called as some say it will carry the X8 moniker while others are inclined to believe BMW will take a page out of Citroën's book by naming it XM. The latter would be quite interesting to see, but perhaps the most interesting aspect is going to be the vehicle's design. Why? Because it's likely to be the first product from Bavaria to receive the already controversial split headlight design.
We've seen our fair share of spy shots that have led us to believe the speedy luxobarge will have a separate LED strip for the daytime running lights mounted up high, just below the outline of the bonnet. The main clusters will sit lower in the bumper, flanking a giant kidney grille to match the SUV's sheer size.
As for the hybrid setup, it's rumoured to combine a newly developed twin-turbo V8 with an electric motor for a PHEV arrangement good for over 700 bhp. There could be a lesser electrified inline-six configuration, but that too will be a full-fat M version The top-tier model is getting those stacked quad exhausts we've been seeing on prototypes lately.
Logic tells us the X8 / XM will be strictly an xDrive affair with the largest wheels BMW has ever offered on a production car, maybe even a 23-inch set. Being an M model first and foremost, it should make generous use of carbon fibre and feature large brakes given the potent hybrid setup and what will certainly be a curb weight of well over two metric tonnes (4,409 pounds).
BMW doesn't specify whether the vehicle it will unveil at the end of this month will be a production car or a concept, although we're tempted to believe it'll be the latter. The road-going model is probably earmarked for a debut later next year.