BMW continues honing its first ever M variant of the X3.

The upcoming BMW X3 M is lapping the Nürburgring again for another round of testing, and this fresh batch of spy photos shows the fruit of the engineering team’s labor at the track.

BMW still covers the X3 M in camouflage for this outing, but the obfuscation does little to hide the designer’s aesthetic tweaks for the forthcoming high-performance crossover. Compared to the standard version of the next X3, which is also testing, the M variant sports a lower front bumper with larger intakes, bigger side skirts, and a set of well-integrated dual exhaust tips at each corner of the rear. The styling changes make the X3 M look like a suitably aggressive challenger in the growing field of quick CUVs.

The upcoming model’s powertrain remains a mystery. However, a rumor hints at the company slotting in a turbocharged six-cylinder with around 500 horsepower. Whatever BMW puts under the hood needs to compete with upcoming rivals like the roughly 500-hp Mercedes-AMG GLC63 and Audi Q5 RS.

BMW still has months of development time to get things just right. The standard trims of the next X3 should go on sale in 2017. Expect the company to debut the M variant months later to give the regular one time in the spotlight at showrooms.

Gallery: BMW X3M Spy Photos