2017 BMW X3 and X3 M performance model – latest spy pictures
BMW’s mid-size SUV will arrive in 2017, with the range including hybrid powertrains for the first time and an xDriveM40i M Performance model
The third-generation BMW X3 has been spotted testing again, offering the clearest sights of its exterior design yet.
The video below shows quad-exit exhausts, muscular bumpers and a roof spoiler, and a straight-six engine note can also be heard, suggesting this latest X3 development car is a high-performance variant.
BMW officials are understood to be considering development of an X3 M model, which would produce 425bhp from the same turbocharged 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder engine used in the latest M3. Such a car would allow BMW to compete against the Porsche Macan Turbo and upcoming Mercedes-AMG GLC63. This latest video suggests that car is now being tested.
The X3 M will sit above an X3 xDriveM40i M Performance, which has also been spotted testing (in the video below). That model is due to arrive after the regular 2017 model in 2018.
The X3 xDriveM40i will be powered by BMW’s twin turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six engine, which also features in the new 7 Series. Our sources say the model will be accompanied by a diesel variant running a detuned version of BMW’s punchy 376bhp triple turbocharged 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder engine, as used by the X5 M50d.
As for the rest of the next-gen X3 range, spy photographs show that the car’s overall shape looks lightly facelifted compared with the outgoing model, although it does look to have longer rear doors and a new glass house, with longer rear quarter windows. This suggests it will have a slightly longer wheelbase than the 2810mm of its predecessor.
The new range X3, known internally by the codename G01, will also get an upgraded cabin with a bigger infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. This is expected to come with the latest version of BMW’s iDrive system.
Underneath, the new X3 is earmarked to receive a revised high-strength steel platform along with a modified double wishbone (front) and multi-link (rear) suspension. BMW sources also say the new SUV will gain a new electrical system that will “open up new directions in safety systems and connectivity options”.
The same underpinnings and electrical system will also underpin the second-generation X4, set to appear in 2019.
The engine line-up for the new X3 is set to include a range of updated four-cylinder and all-new six-cylinder direct-injection petrol and common-rail diesel units. A six-speed manual gearbox will be standard with selected four-cylinder engines, while a new ZF-produced nine-speed automatic with the latest fuel-saving technology is likely to be mated to all other powerplants.
BMW is also planning to offer selected four-cylinder models with rear-wheel drive; these will be sDrive models. However, the majority of the new X3 line-up will continue to be standard four-wheel-drive xDrive models.
Autocar has been told the most frugal new X3 – a six-speed manual successor to today’s sDrive18d running a revised common rail injection system among other developments – will achieve combined fuel economy of more than 56.5mpg.
One model BMW insiders say is likely to form part of the new X3 line-up is a frugal X3 xDrive35e. Baby brother to the new X5 xDrive40e, the new plug-in petrol-electric hybrid has been conceived around the same driveline hardware as the 330e that is set to appear early next year.
Greg Kable and Sam Sheehan