Earlier this year, the BMW Group announced plans to build the plug-in hybrid version of the next-generation X3 at Plant Rosslyn. For this reason, it comes as no surprise these fresh spy shots of the electrified luxury crossover have been taken in South Africa. Judging by the different wheel designs, we’re certainly dealing with two prototypes, and we believe the one with the two-tone alloys is a more expensive version.

We think both test vehicles had a PHEV setup since the one with the fancier wheels has a charging port on the front fender while the other X3 carries “Electrified Vehicle” stickers. Although the prototypes had all the production body panels in place and the final headlights, only the higher-end version seemed to have the production taillights. It’s hard to know because of the disguise but we’re tempted to believe the car with the two-tone wheels might’ve had the M Sport Package.

If you’re worried BMW will drastically change the look of the X3, that doesn’t seem to be the case. The kidney grille has a normal size (well, by 2023 standards) and the headlights are not split into two separate clusters like on the X7 and XM. We can’t be certain just by looking at these spy shots but logic tells us the next-gen model will be bigger. Why? Because the new X1 and X2 are much larger now, so it would make sense to keep the compact crossovers at a safe distance from the X3 positioned in a superior segment.

Although the exterior will be evolutionary, expect a revolution inside where the implementation of the latest iDrive will drastically change the look and layout of the dashboard. As with recent BMW models, most of today’s conventional controls will move into the touchscreen to achieve a minimalist look. Love it or loathe it, the side-by-side screens will be the focal point of the interior.

We’re hearing the PHEV variant will go by the name of X3 30e xDrive as one of the versions available at the launch of the G45 generation. An M Performance model is also in the pipeline, likely to transition from the M40i to the M50 suffix. Yes, without the “i” because BMW is apparently dropping the letter from all of its gasoline-fueled cars. Another M40d seems unlikely since diesels have fallen out of favor and emissions regulations are getting stricter in the European Union.

Series production is reportedly kicking off in August 2024, which would imply a world premiere this coming spring or early summer. The gasoline, diesel, and plug-in hybrid X3 variants will be joined by a purely electric iX3 (NA5) later in 2025 on the dedicated Neue Klasse platform. As for a fully fledged M variant, don’t hold your breath for an inline-six since sources close to Munich claim the X3 M will be sold strictly as a Neue Klasse-based EV with the ZA5 internal codename.