BMW is putting the final touches on its new X3 family, which will roll out this summer. Ahead of the introduction, set for mid-June, I traveled to Miramas, France, to sample two prototypes. The first was a plug-in hybrid X3, and the second was the BMW X3 M50. The name of the latter has not been confirmed, as BMW refrained from naming this prototype. It was only described as a high-performance M Performance Automobile from the BMW X3 family. Regardless of its name, it is clearly the replacement for the highly popular BMW X3 M40i.

Big shoes to fill

In its fourth generation, the 2025 BMW X3, codenamed G45, has big shoes to fill. The outgoing model—G01—was not only the most successful X3 ever sold but also the brand’s best-selling product in 2023, accumulating 350,000 sales. For clarity, the 3 Series lineup still led overall, especially when considering the Touring variant.

Larger than the outgoing BMW X3

Like most new products, the G45 BMW X3 has increased in size. During a pre-drive briefing, BMW refrained from revealing specs, dimensions, or weight; however, even with all the camouflage, the G45 X3 appears slightly larger than the G01 at first glance. We’ve already seen some leaked specs last month; if the information is accurate, the new X3 crossover will measure 4755 mm in length, 1920 mm in width, and 1660 mm in height. That would make it 47 mm longer, 29 mm wider, and 16 mm lower than the outgoing X3 (G01). BMW wouldn’t comment on the actual cargo capacity either, but I learned that there will be no compromise between variants. Essentially, regardless of the drivetrain, the ICE and PHEV models will have the same cargo volume.

Great Coefficient Drag, Wheels Up To 22 inches

Moving on to details that were shared with us, the 2025 BMW X3 has a drag coefficient of 0.27, compared to 0.29 in the current model. BMW mentioned that the X3 has a wider track and will offer wheels up to 22 inches in size, starting at 18 inches. They are wrapped in Label A tires, considered the best in class, and optimized specifically for the X3 to deliver both performance and comfort.

Completely Revamped Underpinnings

On the mechanical side, the new 2025 BMW X3 introduces a completely new tech package. Let’s start with the most exciting feature: the G45 X3 will be the first production series BMW to introduce a new steering system. The belt-driven steering gear, EPSapa variant, is new to the car, allowing BMW to create very specific axle kinematics and elastokinematics. The function of electric power steering belts is to transfer torque from the motor to the steering gear to assist during driving, thereby enabling the engineering team to exert more force into the axle.

One of the main benefits in real-life scenarios is the additional steering comfort in straight-line driving, varying from precise to light as needed. The steering pitch has also been optimized to be less “pitchy.” This new steering system allows BMW to offer a wide range of applications, specific to the car, ranging from a more comfortable feel to a very aggressive one in the sportier models.

All 2025 BMW X3s will come with a new strut package, subframe, and axles. In the G45, the roll bar mount and the bushings are stiffer, providing enhanced elastokinematics. There is, in fact, a 19 percent increase in caster at the front. There is actually a 19 percent increase in caster at the front. The springs and anti-roll bars are also stiffer. The jounce bumpers, also known as bump stops or bump rubbers, play a crucial role in the new BMW X3 as well, making the car feel lighter, especially considering it’s heavier than before.

New Suspension

Naturally, the BMW X3 M Performance Model features M-specific optimized axle kinematics and elastokinematics, an upgraded M Adaptive Suspension, and stiffer bushings, springs, and roll bars compared to the base X3 models. There is a new variable damper controller as well, which significantly impacts the driving modes offered in the car. We’ve already seen recent BMWs offering a wider gap between driving modes, and this new G45 X3 will extend the gap between Comfort and Sport even more.

The Glorious B58 Engine Lives On

The BMW B58 will continue to power the top X3 M Performance model. Although BMW has not officially confirmed the specs, they nodded in approval when I mentioned a possible technical upgrade to the car and more power. Indeed, the engine in the M Performance X3 feels snappy and upgraded compared to the current B58TU2. I won’t focus much on the sound since this was an European spec, so the OPF, unfortunately, neuters the sound notes. I definitely expect the US variants to sound just as good, if not better, than the current X3 M40i.

A Completely New Steering System

I was joined in the car by Matthias Richter, the BMW engineer in charge of Functional Design & Integration Driving Dynamics, who guided me through their track at Miramas while explaining some of the changes in the car. First off, BMW wanted to showcase the new EPS steering system and the extensive range of applications that come with it.

I started with a custom setting sent to the ECU by the engineer, demonstrating a very light application of the steering at the low end of the settings. “We have a big playground for us to tune,” Richter told me. “In Comfort mode, it’s important for us that the steering moments are light and that we assist the customer by providing functions like inertia damping,” he added. But he assured me that this type of steering would never appear in a production series BMW X3.

In this tune, you can’t really feel the lateral accelerations because the X3 feels too spontaneous. However, it’s an excellent example to showcase the capabilities of this new steering system.

A Wide Range Of Steering Applications

Next, the engineer increased the intensity in the steering rack. Now it feels like you’re driving a lorry with a dull feeling in the steering. The forces you need to apply to the steering are something you won’t ever experience in a BMW. Richter emphasized that he wanted to show me that when they design a sports steering, they don’t only create high steering moments because then the car would feel like a lorry, heavy and difficult to turn into a corner. He further emphasized how important the kinematics are in getting the best out of the subframe, which in turn will give you a better steering feel.

Sport Mode, 8-Speed and Limited Slip Are The Ideal Combo

Now it’s time to try a near-production-ready setup. In Sport Plus mode, everything is dialed up with a rear-wheel bias and a more aggressive limited-slip differential. I rode on the M Adaptive suspension, but you can also opt for the more compliant, less firm adaptive suspension in the X3 M Performance model.

And now, this new BMW X3 comes to life. It’s impressive in power delivery—hinting at more power and torque potentially—the shifting is amazingly smooth. That 8-speed ZF is the best one can get today. The torque distribution is excellent, allowing the engine to deliver power instantly.

I now feel like a much better driver, hitting the apex with the confidence of a full-on M car, and the overall feeling is that this X3 makes it easy for you to drive fast and dynamically.

The car rotates nicely in the corner, the steering feels heavy with a lot of feedback coming in from the front tires. Thanks to the limited-slip differential, the X3 spins its tail enough to make it fun, but remains safe on the track. In many ways, this G45 BMW X3 M50—feels pretty close to the current generation X3 M, maybe just a tad softer.

There is a bit of body roll, and that’s fine because if the car is too flat, it doesn’t necessarily scream driver’s car. What’s also important in a car of this size and height is that the speed of the roll is precise. The suspension has smooth rebounds without progression, despite being on a stretch of the track that is quite rough.

Yet, this will still be a great daily driver. And this is why I’ve always said that the X3 M40i might actually be the best BMW SUV today when it comes to fun and daily driving. It’s even more impressive that BMW managed to improve a car which I already felt was extremely good.


Richter had one more surprise in store for me. A trip to a light off-road course. When you think of the X3, you don’t typically consider it an off-roader, and that’s fair. The car still sits quite low to the ground and it won’t take on the most challenging terrains in the world. But the stretch of the road we were on was quite aggressive in terms of the depth of the surfaces and the angle of steep hills. Speaking of ground clearance, every single new G45 X3 has the same ground clearance, irrespective of the drivetrain.

The BMW X3 prototype used was identical to the one we were on the track with. The crossover navigates swiftly over the rough terrain, which makes me wonder if I would even try this with my own car. But rest assured, the G45 X3 came through unscathed. Next, a 27-degree hill allowed me to test the Hill Descent Control functions, which in this car could operate up to 30 km/h.

You can also operate in reverse; simply release the brakes, and the crossover will head back down on its own. You don’t need to operate the brake or the throttle. Now, if you’re in a hold position at the top of a steep hill and you want to move forward, the torque of the engine becomes greater than the braking torque, allowing the throttle to push you forward in a very smooth manner.

Improved Driver Assistance Features

The new G45 BMW X3 comes with an improved set of driver assistance features. While it won’t get the Level 2+ system in higher-end BMWs, it does improve some of the current Level 2 functions. According to Dr. Nicolai Martin, Senior Vice President Product Line Midsize Class and Luxury Class, BMW, the safety features outperform the NCAP 2023 requirements. More specifically, the new BMW X3 comes with improved recognition of scooters and motorcycles, emergency braking and collision warning with brake function for oncoming traffic.

The Automated Lane Change Assistant will be offered in the new X3 models, along with a trailer mode for Lane Change Warning, only available in the United States and Canada. For the first time, the Parking and Maneuver Assistant can be operated remotely via the My BMW app.

Of course, the G45 BMW X3 needed a new sensors and cameras package. At the front you will find a full range radar with a 300 m horizontal and vertical recognition, along with a short range radar at the front and rear. The objection detection was improved thanks to an 8 megapixel camera integrated behind the windshield. The surround camera system gets an upgrade as well, thanks to multiple sensors and cameras spread around the car.

Emergency Braking at 80 km/h

It was a windy day in Miramas, one of the windiest I’ve ever experienced. But it turned out to be the perfect setup to test a suite of different functions, one of these being the Emergency Braking system. On a closed track, the BMW engineers set up some obstacles and cars in front of us to test the Emergency Braking functions at different speeds, starting at 30 km/h, then 50 km/h, and finally at 80 km/h. The goal was to test object recognition in different scenarios: moving targets and pedestrians, static objects, and oncoming traffic.

Sebastian Kaps, who is in charge of this system for the BMW X3, says, “Our philosophy is to involve the driver again in an emergency situation, hopefully encouraging him to step on the brakes,” Kaps tells me. “If he steps on the brakes but not forcefully enough, we will support him by increasing the brake pressure to avoid a collision.”

In the first 30 km/h scenario, the emergency braking is smooth, and once the car reaches zero delta velocity, the system releases the brakes so it doesn’t come to a full stop if it’s not necessary. The goal is to prevent a collision with a car following behind. Kaps says that the system now triggers flashing indicators faster than usual to alert the driver.

The emergency braking system also functions in scenarios where the BMW X3 overlaps with the car in front. Imagine a scenario where you aren’t driving in the middle of your lane; the system will still recognize the object and apply the brakes as needed.

The final scenario was the most intriguing. The system understands when someone intends to pass the car or object in front of you, and even if it’s extremely close, the system won’t issue a warning or brake, even if you might lose your side mirror.

Quad Pipes Coming to the 2025 BMW X3

There isn’t much to say about the exterior design of the 2025 BMW X3 because it is heavily camouflaged. The one-year-old prototype was fitted with plastic panels, along with the typical camouflage, to hide the design details of the car. However, there were a few things I managed to see up close.

At the front, the M Sport package looks quite aggressive, in a good way, with kidney grilles that open and close, showcasing a different design in each state. The headlights feature two LED bars, playing on the double headlamps theme of BMWs. The side views show a bit more of a sloping roofline compared to the G01 X3. The rear end was probably the most camouflaged part of the car, but peeking from underneath the camo was an X-motif-like design of the taillights.

Finally, the quad pipes, once reserved for full M cars like the X3 M, are now part of the X3 M Performance models lineup as well. Hate it or love it, it’s still a personal preference, but overall, they do give the car a sportier look, even if they take away from the iconic bits once reserved for M cars.

iDrive Controller and Two Steering Wheel Choices

The interior of the G45 BMW X3 was also covered with a black cloth, hiding some of the final details. But there aren’t any surprises really. Aside from the expected large curved display, now powered by the Operating System 9 (iDrive 9), the interior is typical of recent BMWs. While there are fewer physical buttons, fortunately, the iDrive controller hasn’t been axed. It’s uncertain for how long, but we will get to enjoy it for now.

I sampled two different steering wheels. The G45 BMW X3 PHEV had the same steering design as in the iX – flat top and bottom – while the X3 M Performance variant came with the steering design from the i5 M60. Of course, it’s the latter that feels better in hands. BMW refrained from confirming if there will be two steering wheel options, but I doubt they would use a decoy for a press drive.

Unveil and Market Launch

The 2025 BMW X3 will make its official debut this June, followed a month later by the start of production. First units will be delivered in the fall so each market will received the cars at a different pace. Of course, there is no pricing information at the moment, but we expect to learn more in June.