The big-selling BMW X3 will enter its fourth generation in 2024, taking the fight to the recently revealed Mk2 Mercedes-Benz GLC with new powertrains, refreshed styling and a completely overhauled cabin.
The new SUV, which has been caught testing on public roads around BMW’s German headquarters, looks to be getting a bigger front grille than its predecessor, with holes in the bottom of the camouflage suggesting that it will take up at least half of the nose area.
It won’t be as extreme as the BMW 4 Series, however, if the more subtly styled BMW X1 crossover – revealed in May – is any indication. The slim-line LED headlights look to draw a link between the X3 and the new range-topping BMW 7 Series.
At the rear, a similar look to the current X3 is evident, one difference being the lights, the prototype sporting a more circular design. However, with most of the rear covered in camouflage, it's difficult to say whether these will replace the current generation’s sleek LED units.
Further details are thin on the ground, but expect newly added tweaks such as the brushed metal grille and 'J-blades’ for the daytime running lights to be upgraded.
The interior is also expected to be totally revamped. The facelifted model received a large, free-standing 12.3in touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard to set it apart from the 2017-spec X3. But the new-generation car is expected to follow the iX and 7 Series flagships in adopting a much more minimalistic set-up throughout - aided by flush haptic controls and an advanced touchscreen interface running BMW’s latest-generation iDrive software.
The new X3 will continue to use BMW's Cluster Architecture (CLAR) platform, which was designed to accommodate mild-hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure-electric powertrains from the off.
This will allow it to be released with a mix of four-cylinder and six-cylinder petrol engines, some of which are most likely to get hybrid assistance, while a similarly styled version of the Chinese-built iX3 EV will follow it into showrooms - potentially with improved range and performance figures.
BMW has only just updated the current generation X3, so the new model isn't expected to be revealed until the end of 2023, ahead of a launch in early 2024, when it's likely to be priced from around £50,000.