The upcoming 2018 BMW F97 X3 M has hit the Nurburgring for some high-speed testing. The third M-built SUV will join BMW’s strong SUV lineup with the aim of not just growing the truck business, but also its famous M division.

The X3 M test mule reveals the typical M front-end with large air intakes and a design which resembles the one seen on the M2. The X3 M also gets a more muscular look with flared whee larches, wider fenders and a lower stance. The rear-end shows the M signature quad tailpipes integrated into a redesigned and sporty bumper.

To compete with the Audi RS Q5 and Mercedes GLC 55 AMG, the X3 M is based on the next generation midsize SUV. The new X3 has grown in size and strives for a more powerful appearance. Compared to the current model, the 2017 X3 is expected but slim down almost 100 kilograms, thanks to a new rear-wheel drive platform and lightweight materials.

The driving dynamics and exterior design have always been a selling point for the M family, but the interior of the new X3 and X3 M is expected to see a bump in quality and sportiness. The X3 M variant is likely to be powered by a 3.0 liter inline-six turbocharged engine delivering close to 500 horsepower.

YouTuber Automotive Mike captured video of the X3 M mule romping around the ‘Ring.