If you had told M Division engineers back in the ’90s that the larger BMW Group would eventually give it full reign to develop its own car, from the ground up, but it had to be an SUV, they’d have laughed at you. Anyway, the point is that the idea of BMW M’s first-ever bespoke performance cars being an SUV seems entirely at odds with the brand’s ethos. And yet, here is the upcoming BMW X8, lapping the Nürburgring. (We don’t own the spy photos but they can be seen here)

These new spy photos show off the BMW X8 — the first ever, built-from-the-ground-up M car — doing some hot laps on the Nürburgring and it’s an odd sight to see. For starters, it’s hard to wrap our heads around such a big vehicle being a bespoke M car and not some money-grabbing BMW X5 M. Additionally, it looks nothing like a typical BMW. In fact, it looks more like a big Range Rover Sport than an M car, with its upright front-end, long, relatively flat roof and boxy back-end.

Image by @joelre98 on Instagram

Another interesting note about the BMW X8 is that there will be a hybrid version, likely to be the top-end performance variant, which is the car we can see in the photos. The test mule can be seen wearing a “Hybrid Test Vehicle” sticker on its camouflage, indicating that it’s, well… a hybrid.

This hybrid monster SUV is said to pack a 4.4 liter twin-turbo V8, likely the same one that powers the BMW M8, paired with at least one electric motor, making around 750 horsepower. If that’s true, it will be the most powerful BMW production car in history by more than 100 horsepower. When that debuts, it will be a performance monster, no doubt, but will it be the car that would make the M engineers of yore proud? We’ll just have to wait and see.

[Source: Motor1] [Photo Source: @Joelre98]