New BMW X8 M: scoop on 2022's most powerful M car yet

Published: 27 April 2020

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

BMW is working on a mammoth, all-guns-blazing X8 M performance SUV. After the brand trademarked the name in April 2020, Munich is planning to push the limits of how un-green a plug-in hybrid can be.

Rocking and rolling

M5 drift

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.

Power aplenty

5-series phev

The M team are putting together a dedicated high-performance crossover that will, in its most extreme hybrid form, unleash 750bhp. 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 CLAR platform used by the likes of the 5-series plug-in hybrid (pictured above) is a base in which to develop.

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.'

Check out more CAR scoop stories here

By Georg Kacher and Tim Pollard

Our reviewers: fresh perspectives for inquisitive minds