The calendar says spring, but snow still abounds in the northern latitudes of Sweden and automakers are making the most of cold-weather testing while it lasts. Our spy photographers are still there as well, and their perseverance paid off. This could be our first look at the gutsy M40i trim level.
As is usually the case with camouflaged BMW test vehicles, the exhaust tips tell the tale. There are quad pipes at the back, identifying this as something above the base trim. Of course, full-fledged M vehicles feature quad exhaust outlets so could we actually be looking at a next-gen X3 M? That's a remote possibility, but the brakes don't appear aggressive enough for something with an M badge. The ride height also isn't quite low as we'd expect.
Gallery: 2024 BMW X3 New Spy Photos
That leads us to a possible M40i trim level, but that doesn't mean the production version will have four exhaust finishers. This test vehicle wears placeholder taillights, and we're pretty sure those aren't the final lenses at the front, either. Zooming in closely we can see hard panels all over the exterior, form-fitting around the wings/fenders, bonnet, doors, and fascia to conceal design details. While it's true that we've seen X3 prototypes in public for almost a year now, BMW still has a ways to go before a full reveal. In other words, the test vehicle seen here is a long way from production.
Still, we can see the general outline of the grille and it's a bit larger. Indentations in the front camouflage point to vertically oriented corner vents with driving lamps in the middle, though it's possible the round spots could be part of the vents. The headlights will be smaller on the next-gen SUV, and there will be significant changes at the rear with the number plate much lower on the hatch. Camouflage prevents us from getting a good idea of the new taillight design at this time.
Previous spy photos offered a taste of the X3's new glass cockpit, which will be a significant departure from the current model. And while nothing is confirmed under the bonnet, mild-hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and a fully electric version should appear for this generation. As for the M40i specifically, we think the current six-pot will stick around with a power boost, possibly passing 350 bhp.
Stay tuned, as we expect a full reveal by the end of the year as a 2024 model.