Almost five minutes of tire-screeching action.
With only a few months to go until its reveal, the new BMW X3 is currently undergoing final testing at the Nürburgring where the Honda Civic Type R just established a new record for the fastest front-wheel-drive production car. Speaking of which, the X1 has been “demoted” to a FWD setup for its latest generation, but that won’t happen with the larger X3 as it will soldier on with a rear-wheel drive-based setup. Needless to say, xDrive will be available and most models will have all-wheel drive.
There are some massive changes in tow for Bavaria’s upcoming SAV, although judging by the styling you wouldn’t think that’s going to be the case. BMW’s engineers have been taking the X3 (G01) to the gym during the development phase to shave off an estimated 100 kilograms (220 pounds) compared to the outgoing model, despite growing in size. The significant diet was possible by switching to the company’s flexible CLAR platform, which has already underpinned several models and will serve as foundation for many more in the years to come.
Even though we’re dealing with a crossover, BMW wants the 2018 X3 to live up to the “ultimate driving machine” status, so the Nordschleife with its 73 turns (33 left, 40 right) is the perfect place to tweak the handling. That’s especially true once you take into account the X3 will spawn a full-on M version for the first time ever. It’s not this, though. The soundtrack provided by the prototype seems to come from a turbodiesel engine.
BMW is expected to unveil the new X3 in June, but we’ll have to wait probably about a year to see the M-flavoured range topper. Sitting right below it will be a warm M40i version, which might get an M40d diesel counterpart in Europe as well to further broaden the crossover’s appeal. These two will likely be available from day one.
A public debut is set for the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, with sales to kick off before the year’s end. Production will once again take place in United States at the Spartanburg factory where it's also making the X4, X5 / X5 M, and X6 / X6 M. Additional output will come from the Rosslyn plant in South Africa where BMW has invested about $420 million USD to get it ready for the X3’s arrival.
Note: Photos below are showing a different prototype from northern Sweden as part of a teaser released by BMW last month.