Earlier this year, the BMW Group announced plans to build a plug-in hybrid version of the next-generation X3 at Plant Rosslyn. For this reason, it is not surprising that these new spy shots of the luxury electric crossover have been taken in South Africa. Considering the different wheel designs, we are actually dealing with two models, and we believe the one with two-tone alloys is the more expensive version.
We’re guessing both test cars had the PHEV configuration as the one with air-cooled wheels has a charging port on the front fender while the other X3 carries “Enhanced Vehicle” stickers. While the prototypes had all the production panels and taillights, only the high-end version was seen with the production taillights. It’s hard to tell because of the camouflage but we’re tempted to believe that the car with two-spoke wheels may have had the M Sport Package.
If you’re worried BMW will drastically change the look of the X3, that doesn’t seem to be the case. The kidney grille is of normal size (well, by 2023 standards) and the headlights are not divided into two separate groups as on the X7 and XM. We can’t be sure just by looking at these spy shots but logic tells us the next generation model will be bigger. Why? Because the new X1 and X2 are bigger now, so it would make sense to keep the compact crossovers at a safe distance from the X3 placed in the higher segment.
While the exterior will be revolutionary, expect a revolution inside where the implementation of the latest iDrive will drastically change the look and layout of the dashboard. As with recent BMW models, many of today’s standard controls will move to a touchscreen to achieve a smaller display. Love it or hate it, side-by-side screens will be the focal point of the interior.
We hear the PHEV variant will go by the name X3 30e xDrive as one of the versions available at the launch of the G45 generation. An M Performance model is also on the way, likely to change from the M40i suffix to the M50. Yes, without the “i” because BMW seems to be dropping the letters from all of its gasoline-powered cars. Another M40d seems unlikely as diesels are not acceptable and emissions regulations are becoming stricter in the European Union.
Production on the series is reportedly set to begin in August 2024, which could mean a world premiere this spring or early summer. The petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid variants of the X3 will be joined by the electric iX3 (NA5) later in 2025 in a special Neue Klasse model. As for the full-fledged M variant, don’t hold your breath for the inline-six as sources close to Munich claim the X3 M will be sold purely as a Neue Klasse-based EV with the local codename ZA5.