As much as BMW fans might not want to admit it, the next-gen BMW X3 is going to be one of the most important cars in the brand’s near future. Which is why these new spy photos, which show off a bit of the new X3’s design, are so interesting. (We don’t own the spy photos but they can be seen here)

When the next-gen BMW X3 debuts, it will be built on the latest version of BMW’s flexible CLAR platform. Judging by these spy photos, it’s going to have a pretty traditional, mature, and handsome design. The front end seems to boast a handsome, shockingly small (by today’s standards) kidney grille, slim headlights, and quad exhaust pipes. The latter of which point to this car’s potential M Performance DNA, as all M-lite cars have been getting quad pipes as of late. The rest of the car’s relatively normal styling doesn’t disprove its sportier nature, as the test mule just might not have the added M Performance body bits yet.

Styling isn’t the important bit, though. What’s most important is what’s under the skin or, more specifically, what will be under the skin.

BMW X3 M40i Test Drive 15 of 27 830x467

The BMW X3 will be built on BMW’s CLAR platform but the upcoming BMW iX3 won’t be. Instead, it will be built on the upcoming Neue Klasse platform. The X3’s chassis code will be G45 but the BMW iX3 could be called NA5. The iX3 will also be the first BMW built on the electric Neue Klass architecture and will kick off BMW’s electric future. Ideally, it will also be sold in North America, offering a mass-market electric Bimmer to the majority of the brand’s customers.

Again, the car in these photos is likely the CLAR-based M Performance BMW X3, and not the all-electric iX3, but it is the beginning.

[Source: Car Scoops]