It’s safe to say BMW single-handedly created what we now call the coupe-SUV genre about a decade ago with the launch of the original X6 (E71). It’s now mid-2018 and the Bavarians have commenced public road testing of the third generation, only a little over a month after taking the virtual wraps off the regular 2019 X5.

The prototype in question not only has what seems to be the full production body, but also the wheels and paint you’ll be able to order once the new X6 will hit dealerships sometime next year. Judging by the M Sport silver side mirror caps as well as by the shape of the massive exhaust finishers hiding the quad tips, it appears we are dealing with the hotter M50i version.

More BMW X5:

As far as the design is concerned, the kidney grille will be going up a size to lend the X6 a more dominating front fascia, much like it will be the case with future BMWs such as the X7 and the 7 Series facelift. The most obvious change compared to the current generation is noticeable at the back where there are slimmer taillights in the same vein as those of the new X4.

Codenamed G06, the new Sports Activity Coupe from BMW is expected to be offered in a rear-wheel-drive sDrive40i specification, with all other versions to come as standard with xDrive. The M50i flavour spotted here is going to use the latest version of the company’s familiar biturbo 4.4-litre V8 with a specification similar to that of the M850i xDrive and will be positioned underneath the full-fat X6 M.

While these spy shots don’t allow us to have a look inside the cabin, the 2019 X5’s interior should provide an accurate look of what to expect from the SUV’s more athletic sibling.

Rumour has it the next-gen BMW X6 will be officially revealed next spring and will obviously command a premium over the X5.

Photos: David J Wright / PalBay SpyShots

Gallery: 2020 BMW X6 spy photos