BMW introduced the third-generation X3 back in mid-2017, so it comes as no surprise work is well underway for the new model internally codenamed “G45.” It’s expected to enter production in less than a year from now, which means the world premiere is scheduled to take place sometime in the first months of 2024. In the meantime, there’s still testing that needs to be done to iron out the kinks.

A heavily camouflaged prototype has now been spotted testing in the United States as an M Performance model judging by the quad exhaust system. As a refresher, BMW is now putting four tips on its M Lite models, with the X1 M35i being the most recent example. This sporty X3 is rumored to eschew the M40i suffix and transition to the M50 moniker. Yes, without the “i” at the end since the German luxury brand is apparently dropping the letter from its gasoline-fueled cars. However, the “d” and “e” will remain for diesels and plug-in hybrids, respectively.

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Featuring California plates, the test vehicle appears to have the full production body with flush door handles but it’s missing the M-specific door mirror caps. In addition, we’re certain those are not the final taillights and we’re not so sure about the headlights either, although that’s probably the final shape of the cluster. The exposed sections of the body where there’s no disguise show the prototype has matte paint (“Frozen” in BMW’s vocabulary).

The BMW X3 M50 xDrive appears to be bigger than the current M40i xDrive model, which makes sense given how the latest X1 has considerably grown. It’s unclear whether the name change will reflect a bump in power, although we wouldn’t necessarily count on it since the larger M60i-badged SUVs have the same power as the M50i versions they replaced. Perhaps the fresh moniker will be adopted to highlight a mild-hybrid engine seeing as how those M60i models boast 48V tech.

Once again, BMW will sell the next-gen X3 with gasoline, diesel, plug-in hybrid, and fully electric drivetrains. However, the EV will not be directly related to the models featuring an internal combustion engine since it’ll switch to the dedicated Neue Klasse platform instead of keeping the CLAR architecture. When the Vision Neue Klasse sedan concept was presented at the IAA Mobility in Munich earlier this month, we also caught a glimpse of the next iX3.

Source: KindelAuto / YouTube