Today might be all about the new 5 Series (G60) but a new spy video reminds us BMW is already testing the next-generation X3. Seen being pushed hard at the Nürburgring, the luxury crossover was spotted in M Performance guise judging by the quad exhaust system. We’re hearing the luxury automaker intends to rebrand the vehicle as an “M50i” by ditching the “M40i” but nothing is official yet.

Even if that’s the case, it doesn’t necessarily mean the performance crossover will get more power. After all, the M60i versions of the X5, X6, and X7 are just as potent as their M50i-badged predecessors. Perhaps the name change has something to do with an updated or new engine considering the larger SUVs now feature a different powertrain with mild-hybrid technology. We’re expecting better fuel economy and better response in the low rpm range courtesy of the 48V setup.

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Eagle-eyed readers will notice there’s more than just one camouflaged prototype testing at the Green Hell. While the vehicles with the license plate ending in “3341” and “3384” depict the X3 M50i, the car wearing the “3403” plate is a plug-in hybrid. A fourth prototype – with the “3353” plate is a lesser specification without a PHEV setup.

We’re getting the impression the new X3 will get bigger, presumably to distance itself from the latest X1 as the compact crossover has blossomed to 4.5 meters (177.2 inches). Over in China, BMW is selling a long-wheelbase X1 that stretches at 4616 mm (181.7 in), which isn’t that much smaller than the current X3 (4708 mm / 185.4 in).

The prototypes seem to be wearing the production body panels but those are certainly not the final headlights and taillights. Despite the disguise, some styling cues are already visible, including the normal grille size and the flush door handles. We can’t see what changes BMW is making inside, but surely the X3 will get a dual-screen setup, quite likely with iDrive 8.5 since it’s already being rolled out to certain cars.

Codenamed “G45,” the next-gen X3 is rumored to enter production in August 2024 and is expected to spawn a fully fledged M (G97) at a later date.

Source: CarSpyMedia / YouTube