In 2019, BMW was toying with the idea of an ultra-premium SUV to sit above the already very popular X7. The seven seater luxury SUV was internally known as “The President” while the crossover planned above was called “The Rockstar.” And the rockstar needed a name. Initially, the BMW X8 name was being thrown around, but the marketing department needed something more than just a regular crossover. This is how the BMW XM was born.

BMW X8 vs. XM: Tracing the Evolution of a Luxury Crossover

BMW X8 M Render

How tangible was the BMW X8’s existence? Our extensive discussions about the vehicle began in 2017, following rumors that it was in the planning phase. In 2019, we first learned of a potential BMW X8 M, rumored to boast over 600 horsepower – a model we now recognize as the XM. Subsequently, a few months later, we delved into the X8 45e, which ultimately turned out to be the XM 50e.

Then another more powerful BMW X8 M was referenced in 2020 when we mentioned a power output of 750 horsepower. Instead, that turned out to be the BMW XM Label Red, or simply now, XM Label. Of course, the BMW X8 would have been a BMW AG product while the XM was engineered by the M wizards in Garching.

The BMW X8 That Never Was: A Tale of Market Strategy and Evolution

Contrary to various reports, the BMW X8 project did not progress beyond its evolution into the XM. The product gap would have been too slim, and the sales of an X8 would likely have cannibalized those of the XM, or vice versa. However, some journalists, ourselves included, maintain that BMW should have named the XM as the X8. Furthermore, we argue that the vehicle could have been enhanced with an air suspension system, complementing the weight of its plug-in hybrid configuration. Thus, branding it as the BMW X8 M50e or X8 M60e would have been a savvy marketing decision.

What’s Next for BMW SUVs? Assessing the Potential of an X8 Revival

Is there a possibility that BMW will introduce an X8 in the future, particularly with the imminent arrival of the Neue Klasse architecture? According to our sources, there are no current plans for an X8 luxury SUV. However, the prospect of a second-generation XM is on the table, although it hasn’t received official approval yet. The XM’s worldwide success remains uncertain, so its future will be decided based on its market performance.

So should BMW make an X8 above the X7? Let us know in the comments below!