Model is expected to be lighter and more fuel-efficient than its predecessor.

The next-generation BMW X3 has been spied undergoing testing on the Nürburgring.

Looking instantly recognizable, the redesigned model has an evolutionary front fascia with a more prominent grille that is flanked by slender headlights.  The camouflage hides a lot of styling details but the crossover appears to have more curvaceous body work and a familiar greenhouse.  This particular prototype also has a panoramic glass sunroof, a tailgate-mounted spoiler, and a dual exhaust system.

BMW has been tight-lipped about specifications but the X3 is expected to ride on the company's new CLAR architecture.  The platform uses a mix of lightweight materials so the model will likely weigh significantly less than its predecessor.

Engine options remain unconfirmed but speculation suggests there will be a variety of 2.0-liter four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines as well as powerful 3.0-liter six-cylinder units.  There should also be a plug-in hybrid variant as well as a high-performance X3 M40i with a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine that produces at least 360 horsepower and 343 pound-feet of torque.

Previous reports have suggested the X3 could be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show but it now appears BMW will use that event to showcase the redesigned 5-Series.  This likely means the X3 wouldn't be introduced until sometime next year.

BMW X3 spy photos