Having updated nearly all of its crossovers and SUVs in the last couple of years, BMW is getting ready to do the same with the hugely popular X3. Codenamed G45, the fourth iteration of Bavaria's Mercedes GLC competitor has been spied resting on a trailer between two test session. It's not just any X3 but the M Performance version judging by its quad exhaust system. Yes, BMW is putting four tips on M Lite models, starting with the X1 M35i.

Not only does this prototype have the full production body but it also the final headlights and quite possibly the taillights as well. The large two-tone wheels with red brake calipers reinforce our opinion this is an M Performance model, one that will allegedly transition to the "X3 M50i" moniker. It's unclear whether that is going to bring a bump in power, although we wouldn't necessarily count on it since the larger SUVs carrying the "M60i" suffix have the same output as their "M50i"-badged predecessors.

2025 BMW X3 M50i spy photos

The new X3 seems bigger than the current-generation model but that shouldn't come as a surprise seeing as how the latest X1 is now 4.5 metres (177 inches) long. The current X3 is still the larger of the two crossovers but BMW is likely to reinstate the gap between the two. Our spies weren't able to peek inside, although we can easily see the side-by-side screens part of the latest iDrive infotainment. That means a simplified dashboard with considerably fewer conventional controls by moving the access to most functions inside the touchscreen.

As to what will power the M50i, we're curious to find out whether the inline-six will live to see a new generation in the X3. When the X5, X6, and X7 transitioned from the "M50i" to "M60i" moniker, the bigger luxury SUVs kept their V8s and gained a mild-hybrid setup. If BMW has a similar plan for the smaller crossover, it could mean the X3 M Performance will have a 3.0-litre engine with a 48V setup. However, nothing is official.

Speaking of names, the next X3 is rumoured to drop the "i" from the names of the petrol-fuelled models while the diesels will keep the "d." Once again, BMW intends to sell its successful crossover as a plug-in hybrid while the role of a fully electric version will go to a Neue Klasse-based iX3.

As a refresher, the current zero-emission model uses an adaptation of the CLAR platform underpinning the ICE and PHEV models. Switching to a bespoke arhitecture is likely to bring massive design changes to separate the combustion-engined versions from the pure EV. Today, the models look borderline identical regardless of what’s under the bonnet.

The X3 is not the first new crossover to be unveiled next as BMW will initially take the wraps off the second-generation X2 / iX2 at the end of this year. The X3 will follow in 2024, possibly in the first months of the year since a well-known BMW insider from the Bimmer Post forums claims programmed to kick off in August. The Neue Klasse-based iX3 will be launched later in 2025.