Since the debut of the original BMW X5 M, fans have been wanting an X3 M. Its smaller size, lower ride height and sharper handling make the X3 better suited to M duty than the X5. However, over the course of two generations, the X3 lacked a proper M variant. Until now, that is. Despite the new X3 not exactly being out yet, the Bavarians are already working on an M model that seems basically production-ready. In these new spy photos, we see a BMW X3 M lapping the famed Nurburgring (We don’t own the spy photos but they can be seen here).

Now in its third-generation, the BMW X3 will finally be getting an M variant. Even though we’ve had to wait awhile, it seems BMW picked the right moment for such a car.This new BMW X3 is likely to be the best one yet and has the best chassis setup for M-duty.

The BMW X3 M in these photos looks just about ready to hit the assembly line, as it’s wearing very little camouflage. The only camo on the car seems to be to hide what the lower front fascia and rear bumper will look like. Aside from that, it’s pretty obviously an X3 M. The quad exhaust pipes, bigger wheels and angrier stance all give its M Division roots away.

BMW X3 M40i

Under the hood is rumored to be an S55 engine, similar to that of the BMW M3 and M4. Expect it to have around 450 hp, which is just a touch more than the M3/M4 Competition Package. While it will have about the same mount of power as the BMW M3, the X3 M also weighs a good bit more. It will mitigate some of that extra weight with all-wheel drive traction, so it will still probably be about as fast as an M3. Which, in an SUV like the X3, is pretty bloody fast.

We also seem to think that the new BMW X3 wears sporty styling well. The new X3 M40i (pictured above) is the best looking X3 of the bunch and that isn’t even as aggressive as the new BMW X3 M will be. So this should be a good looking little SUV, as well as a fun one.

[Source: Motor Trend]