New BMW XM hits the road: fresh pictures of extreme SUV

Published: 04 January 2022 Updated: 04 January 2022

► Project ‘Rockstar’ uncovered
► Mammoth X8 M with 750bhp expected
► Coupe-SUV to use PHEV powertrain

Last year, we revealed BMW is working on a mammoth, all-guns-blazing X8 M-flaouvred performance SUV – and now we can show pictures of it in action. Super luxurious, but super aggressive too, it’ll sit at the top of Munich’s forthcoming line up. 

Most likely to be dubbed the XM, after the recently revealed concept, Munich’s extreme SUV will run a powerful hybrid system – and it’ll sit at the top of a range of more sensible X8 SUVs. 

Although in heavy camouflage, it’s possible to make out a few interesting design touches. At the front, the X8 appears to opt for unique split headlights, and at the rear BMW’s flagship SUV uses a pair of double-stacked exhausts. 

CAR understands the X8 will come in three variants including a power-focused hybrid, that’ll use electricity to squeeze out performance, not miles to the gallon.

At this point, BMW’s M division is still a completely electric-free environment. But, in the short- to mid-term, ‘power PHEVs’ are the answer. The X8 M, known as Project Rockstar, is the exciting cream-of-the-crop neo-SUV. It’s a cross between the X6 M and M5 Competition; expect on-demand rear-wheel drive.

M5 drift

What makes all the difference here is, of course, a 200bhp e-motor supporting the V8. Together they make 737lb ft of torque; enough for random burn-outs and wild slides.

The iNext generation

inext rear

Fifth-gen electric motor technology derived from the iNext SUV, which will go on sale in 2021, is expected to be utilised in the X8 M, as part of its PHEV powertrain. But, while the X8 M will utilise electrification, it will shun many of the iNext’s innovations, prioritising high performance over clean running.

The final flagship?

vision m next tracking

Like Mercedes, BMW is tightening its belt with platform sharing, so few other halo cars are planned. As the i8 parks itself in BMW’s museum, we had hoped its replacement would appear in 2022, with a 335bhp petrol four-cylinder engine e-boosted to around 650bhp, but word is the proposal’s been shelved… Boo.

BMW M boss on power hybrids

Markus Flasch BMW m

‘The ultimate driving experience is all about precision, agility and dynamics,’ Markus Flasch told CAR. ‘None of these have to change just because there’s a battery. We know we need to be careful, as it’s not just longitudinal performance, it’s more than that; it’s about how the car makes you feel.’

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