The current-generation BMW X3 just received a minor facelift for 2022, but our spy teams already captured its successor in action. Two next-generation X3 prototypes were caught on camera as BMW crews unloaded them from a covered trailer, giving us an early preview of the new model.

The major takeaway is that BMW will stick with a conservative approach to styling. The X3's shape is quite familiar here, even wrapped in camouflage with fake panels and placeholder lights installed. Zooming in on the nose we can see the grille will grow slightly, dipping lower into the fascia though not to the extreme that we see on the 4 Series. The holes visible beneath the kidneys are indications of where the grille should reach, and while we're there, shift your attention to the corners of the fascia. We can see what looks like round holes, possibly for driving lamps set above slimmer corner vents.

Gallery: Next-Generation BMW X3 Spy Photos

We also have a clear view of the X3 from the side, where it looks slightly longer to our eyes. Admittedly, that could be a trick of the camo but we can definitely see altered body lines compared to the current model. The C-pillar seems a bit thinner, and door handles sit lower. At the rear it's difficult to see any detail; we know the taillights are temporary placeholders but the quad exhaust tips point to this being an M40i model.

Our photographer couldn't get close, so we have no idea what's happening inside. Don't be surprised to see a largely glass cockpit similar to the BMW iX, packed with the latest technology. As such, electric power will almost certainly become part of the X3 package with plug-in hybrid and pure EV models offered. The next X3M could combine petrol and electric power for a serious performance punch.

Considering the current X3 just received a facelift, we are catching the next-gen model very early in its public testing cycle. A debut is likely over a year away at the very least, possibly not happening until 2024.