Is This A 2018 X3 Mule Or Has BMW Caught Audi’s Bug And It’s A Production Prototype?

When we first saw BMW’s camouflaged next gen X3s on the road, we were almost convinced that they were test mules based on a cobbled-together pieces from the current model, but we’re not so sure any more.

To visualize what we mean, we compiled a set of photos with the latest X3 tester we caught on the ‘Ring this week and which depicts an M version of the series, and the current (non-M) facelifted X3.

If you examine the cars in the pictures in an Audi fashion, dissecting each and every detail, you’ll come to realize that they’re extremely close in design having way more similarities than differences, with the latter mostly concentrated on the front where the newer X3 has a more upright fascia with an even bigger grille, and a cleaner hood design. Another difference, which may seem trivial at first, but could point to the car being an actual prototype of the production model, is the A-pillar / Roof / Windshield designs.

We’ll let you give your two cents on whether it’s a test mule or if BMW has caught Audi’s progressive-design bug in the comments, but before we do, allow us a few words on what’s behind the camo of this car.

This tester of the G01-codenamed X3 appears to be for the high-performance, full-blown X3 M model that would provide BMW with a competitor against Mercedes’ upcoming GLC 63 AMG and Porsche’s higher-end Macans. Munich’s interpretation of a smaller and more affordable X5M could receive up to 425 horses from the M3 and M4’s twin-turbo 3.0-liter in-line six-cylinder paired to a dual-clutch transmission and a rear-biased xDrive all-wheel drive system. An introduction for the next X3 is planned for 2017.

Photo Credits: CarPix for CarScoops

Visual Comparison 2016 X3 Vs 2018 X3 Tester

Photo Gallery

  • donald seymour

    Who said that was the 2018 model? It could just be a M model.

    • Andrewthecarguy

      The chance that BMW will bring out an M version of the current X3 is extremely low.
      I’d vote for the new X3 albeit in M sport guise

  • Andrewthecarguy

    It’s def 2 different cars. The snouts are different for one, and the hatch is flatter on the camo car.

    • Maxime Durez

      Absolutely right, that new snout appears to be a blown up X1 nose.

      • JohnCarscoop

        There’s no doubt that it’s a different car; my question was if it’s a test mule made up of components from the current and next X3, or if it’s an actual prototype with a production body. Just take a look around the web and you’ll see that some are calling it a test mule, others a production tester, sometimes, even from the same medium.

        • Maxime Durez

          Well that is an interesting question indeed. Given their uhm.. conservative styling you never really know do you? The wheelbase seems to be the roughly the same. However the 2017 5 series production model that has been spotted also looks strangely familiar to the old car..

  • Zandit75

    I agree with Donald, I think this is a M version of the X3. It’s likely to have different bumpers, maybe even the grille, a bigger spoiler over the hatch which will change the profile slightly.
    Carscoops are just clutching at straws.

    • JohnCarscoop

      There’s no way BMW will bring out an M version of the current car. The F25 has been in production since the 3rd quarter of 2010 – that’s nearly six years. It’s done, there’s less than a year left for its replacement. What is BMW going to do, release an X3 M F25 for a couple of months or are they going to have two X3 production lines – one for the old F25 M and one for the new X3?

      Here’s a non-M tester of the next X3 that we caught last month, with a few shots of its interior –

    • donald seymour

      FLAME WAR! Laugh out Loud. Maybe, John is on to something, or maybe not. At any rate, I wouldn’t be surprised.

      • JohnCarscoop

        Not really, just a conversation 🙂 What strikes me most is how similar the two cars look, which is fine if it’s a test mule, but surprising if it’s a production prototype.

  • roy

    It can be actually 2 options… a lwb X1 or the new X3 as the rearmost window-lines gives away the fact that it is the new car

  • Daniel Golson

    It’s the next-gen X3.

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