Earlier this month, the next-generation BMW X3 was spotted testing as the spicy M40i (see spy shot above). It’s now time to have a look at the plug-in hybrid prioritizing efficiency over performance. You can easily tell it’s the PHEV by the charging port on the front fender on the driver’s side. An “Electrified Vehicle” sticker on the doors further confirms we’re dealing with a prototype that has both a combustion engine and an electric motor.

The test vehicle seemingly has the full production body but it’s hiding under multiple layers of camouflage. Tiny black rivets hold the extra disguise in place to conceal the X3’s final look. That said, we can already observe the flush door handles are coming to the model codenamed G45 for both the ICE and PHEV versions. As to why the headlights and taillights look basic, it’s because BMW has not installed the final clusters just yet.

Despite the generous camouflage applied to the prototype, it seems the next-gen X3 won’t rock the boat in terms of design. There’s no oversized vertical kidney grille and the headlights aren’t split into daytime running lights and separate low/high beams like they are on the X7 LCI. While the exterior will be an evolution, the cabin should bring a revolution after adopting the iDrive 8 with the two screens sticking out from the dashboard.

Contrary to today’s iX3, the next-generation model is expected to distance itself from the other X3s by transitioning from the CLAR platform that will continue to underpin the regular models to the Neue Klasse. That should come along with a vastly different design and we’re also expecting changes in terms of proportions and shape. An equivalent iX4 is believed to be in the works but the other X4 models are rumored to be discontinued.

The CLAR-based X3 with gasoline, diesel, and plug-in hybrid powertrains will be the first to go on sale before the end of 2024. The Neue Klasse-based iX3 is scheduled to land in 2025 at the earliest.

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