Since having driven the new BMW X3 M40i, I’ve been salivating at the idea of a proper X3 M. The X3 M40i, which isn’t a proper M car but an M Performance car, is already one of the best current Bavarians on the market. In fact, it may be my favorite current BMW at the moment, even over the fan-favorite M2. That’s right, I said an X3 might be my favorite current Bimmer. So it stands to reason that if the X3 M40i is so flipping excellent that the upcoming BMW X3 M will be even better. Which is why we’re so excited to see spy photos of it when we do, like the ones found here. (We don’t own them)

Seen here roaming the streets of Los Angeles, this X3 test mule seems to have been born from the M Division. While subtle, its differences from the standard car are decidedly M-like. For instance, it’s much lower than the standard X3, making it look squat and aggressive. It also seems to be sporting two different sets of aggressive looking wheels, although it’s tough to tell which would be the production set. At the front, this BMW X3 M tester is wearing camouflage over most of its face but we can still make out that it has some extra large front air intakes and a sportier front fascia. Very typical M-stuff.

BMW X3 M40i for comparison

It’s at the back where its M Division-roots really show through. There seems to be a new rear spoiler, covered in camouflage, that’s larger than what you get on an X3 M40i and looks pretty cool, actually. In fact, it looks a bit ALPINA-ish which, if you know me, is a grand compliment. The real giveaway at the back, though, is its quad exhausts. Four poo-shoots mean M Division product and this car, indeed, has four.

The BMW X3 M is rumored to be powered by a M-ified version of BMW’s new B58 engine. The B58 is a 3.0 liter turbocharged inline-six that, in the X3 M40i, makes 355 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. In the BMW X3 M, it would be called an S58 and should make somewhere around 450 hp. That would be paired with the same eight-speed automatic gearbox as the BMW M5 and xDrive all-wheel drive. It will be interesting to see if BMW gives the X3 M the same M-tuned xDrive system as the M5, where it allows the driver the option to switch it into rear-wheel drive. Imagine a rear-wheel drive, 450 hp BMW X3?

I know I’m not alone when I say that I can’t wait for this car. The new X3 is such an impressive overall package that making a proper M version is just so exciting. If the X3 M40i is such a superb all-around performance SUV than the BMW X3 M should be an absolute weapon with a good back seat and a big trunk. What more can you want from a car?

[Source: Motor Trend]