BMW’s current generation X3 still has a couple of years in it after the 2014 facelift, but work for a fresh replacement is well underway with our spies nabbing one of the first testers on the road.
This will be the third iteration of BMW’s compact luxury SUV, and if the Germans keep their usual 7-year cycle, we should see it in the second half of 2017, as a 2018 model in North America.
Developed under the internal codename G01, the new X3 doesn’t look too different from the current model, but we suspect that’s because this is a test mule featuring modified parts and a slightly longer wheelbase than the current crossover.
The next X3 will adopt BMW’s new CLAR scalable architecture first used on the new 7-Series and which will eventually be found from the 3-Series to the 6-Series and all SUVs above the X2, shaving some weight in the process, though, don’t expect the same dramatic savings as in the 7er that made extensive use of (costly) carbon fiber and aluminum in its construction.
Powering BMW’s rival to the Mercedes-Benz GLC and Audi Q5, will be the usual suite of 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged petrol and diesel units, together with a 3.0-liter straight-six turbo gasoline, which mirror today’s powertrain options, but we’re going to see at least two new additions.
These include an M Performance X3 M40i xDrive model similar to the X4 M40i’s with over 350 horses and a tweaked chassis, and a Plug-in Hybrid variant pairing a four-cylinder gasoline unit to an electric motor with over 240hp. We could see a third addition in the form of a purebred “M” model as other companies like Porsche with its Macan keep pushing the envelope, but no final decision has been reached yet.
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