Rumors of a new BMW SUV positioned above the X7 have persisted for years and now we have evidence that one—the so-called X8—might be in the works.

A search of the United States Patent and Trademark Office reveals that BMW filed to protect the “X8” name back in 2016. A member of an X7 forum has also discovered that BMW filed to protect the “X8 M” name on March 24 of this year with the patent and trademark office of Germany.

While trademark filings don't guarantee the launch of a vehicle using the protected name, BMW's R&D chief Klaus Froehlich has hinted strongly at the possibility of an X8 in the recent past.

According to previous rumors, the X8 will be twinned with the X7 but place emphasis on rear-seat passengers and their comfort, with a seating configuration where there are just two executive-style reclining seats in the rear entirely possible. Volvo introduced just such a concept with its XC90 Excellence launched in 2016. The X8 also won't necessarily be a coupe-like SUV like the smaller X4 and X6, though a sloping roof should still be present. Something like Audi's Q8 is possible.

Assuming BMW has given the X8 production approval, it's likely we're still years out from the vehicle making a showroom appearance as no prototypes have been spotted. If and when it arrives, potential rivals would include the Land Rover Range Rover Sport and Porsche Cayenne Coupe.