Codenamed G45, the fourth-generation X3 is believed to enter series production in the second half of 2024. Even though we’re about a year and a half away from the moment when the assembly of customer cars will start, BMW is already hard at work testing the luxury crossover. As seen below, a new prototype has been spotted at the Nürburgring, likely with a combustion engine since EVs must wear labels denoting their zero-emission powertrains and this one didn’t seem to have them.
We’re tempted to believe the new X3 had the production body or the final door panels at the very least since we are noticing flush door handles. Peeking through the camouflage is a kidney grille of normal size (well, normal by 2023 standards) flanked by halogen headlights. You can rest assured the production-ready model will do away with the old-school yellow bulbs in favor of an all-LED setup.
The headlight shape will remain the same on the production model provided the test vehicle has the final front fenders and bumper. Any changes to the size and contour of the lighting cluster would require making modifications to those body panels. Even though the X3 is wearing a lot of makeup, it’s easy to see BMW will refrain from installing split headlights that have sparked quite the controversy around the company’s largest SUVs, the X7 LCI and XM.
The changes will be skin-deep since BMW will reportedly abandon the X3 M with an inline-six engine. In addition, the M Performance model is rumored to transition from the M40i to the M50i moniker and gain quad exhaust tips. While the versions equipped with combustion engines will sit on an evolution of the familiar CLAR platform, the fully electric iX3 will transition to the Neue Klasse architecture. An iX3 M is expected to go on sale later in the life cycle, possibly in 2026 or 2027.
Although the interior wasn’t caught in this image by car paparazzi, logic tells us BMW will give the next-gen X3 a dual-screen iDrive setup that will eliminate most conventional controls found today on the center console. It means owners will have to make changes to the climate settings by accessing the large touchscreen. While the X1 and 2 Series Active Tourer have lost the iDrive rotary knob, BMW has said it’ll retain the familiar controller in other models. Time will tell whether the X3 G45 is on that list.
Rumor has it that production of ICE-powered X3 models will begin in August 2024, with the electric iX3 to follow 12 months later. The swoopy X4 will live to see a next generation but might ditch the ICEs and only come as an iX4.
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