BMW is hard at work preparing for the next-generation X3 but that doesn’t mean it’s ready to say goodbye to the current model just yet. Sitting proudly at the BMW Welt is the range-topping M version, dressed to impress in a matte Individual color. Frozen Marina Bay Blue Metallic is not necessarily a common hue, but every time we see it, we get the impression it works on every type of car.

Based on the facelifted version, this F97 build has to be one of the most expensive out there given the long list of standard equipment. From the Competition Package and 21-inch wheels to the laser headlights and Shadowline accents, it ticks a lot of the boxes on the options list. The interior is beginning to show its age since it’s one of the few remaining models to feature the old iDrive system. That said, some prefer this setup since you still have traditional controls for often-used functions rather than using the touchscreen for nearly everything.

Although some would argue it’s getting a bit long in the tooth compared to fresher competitors, maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all. You still get an inline-six under the hood whereas the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 has downsized to a hugely intricate plug-in hybrid based around a four-cylinder engine. Should Audi finally do an RS Q5, logic tells us it would also use a smaller combustion engine and an electric motor.

As for BMW, we’ve heard it will skip this partial electrification and transition the X3 M to a purely electric drivetrain. Rumor has it there won’t be another six-cylinder variant but rather a high-performance EV on the Neue Klasse platform. That wouldn’t be a big surprise considering the Bavarian brand has already announced the next-generation M3 will be an electric-only affair.

There will likely be a substantial hiatus between the moment the ICE X3 M bows out and its indirect EV replacement arrives. The former is probably going to be retired by the end of 2024 whereas the latter is not due until around 2027 seeing as how the regular Neue Klasse-based iX3 arrives in 2025. Should you prefer a traditional gasoline setup, the clock is ticking.

Source: rsDrive / YouTube