Wearing what seems to be the full production body, BMW's next compact crossover is inching closer to an official reveal.
The second-generation X3 has been around for approximately six years, so as you would imagine BMW is currently busy working on a new model codenamed “G01.” The latest prototypes caught on camera by our spy photographers appear to have the production bodies with the final lighting clusters, thus suggesting an official reveal is probably scheduled for the beginning of 2017.
Although the test vehicles were wearing a considerable amount of camo, it’s easy to observe the design and shape of the posh crossover will remain virtually the same. That being said, look closer and you’ll notice the rear doors are longer, and that means the wheelbase is going to be stretched a little bit to generate more legroom for passengers sitting in the back.
Despite a minor bump in size, the new X3 won’t actually be heavier than the outgoing model. As a matter of fact, a diet is planned as a result of making the switch to the CLAR platform. Some are saying it could shave off up to 220 pounds (100 kilograms), although that sounds a bit too optimistic. Regardless of how much fat it will be able to drop, the diet will pay dividends on all fronts by slashing fuel consumption and emissions and at the same time increasing performance and improving handling.
In terms of engines, a familiar assortment of turbocharged four- and six-cylinder units will find their way underneath the X3’s hood. To spice things up, BMW is expected to introduce no less than three performance-focused versions: the warm M40i and M40d duo and a range-topping X3 M. The M40i is most likely the prototype seen in the adjacent images with the fatter exhaust tips and the blue brake calipers, while the M40d should looks very much the same, only with a diesel powering it.
As for the X3 M, the current generation has never received the full-on M treatment, but that will change with its successor as spy images have shown a high-powered flagship is clearly on the agenda and should arrive later during the life cycle with around 500+ hp on tap.
Speaking of future derivatives, BMW announced earlier this week plans for a pure electric version of the X3 due to arrive in 2020. Until then, the crossover will likely spawn at least one plug-in hybrid model to boost the company’s continuously growing eco-friendly portfolio, which now also includes the new 530e.
BMW’s answer to the Mercedes-Benz GLC will allegedly enter production in August 2017 at the Spartanburg factory in United States and go on sale shortly thereafter as a 2018MY. We know for sure it’s also going to be assembled in South Africa at BMW’s Rosslyn factory following an investment of $420 million to get the plant ready for the X3’s arrival.