Development of the new model has been under way for several years, but engineers have recently been spied applying the finishing touches to the new X3 at Germany’s Nurburgring race track. Spy shots indicate BMW won’t dramatically alter the current car’s proportions, but it’s believed the X3 will be the first model from the brand to use a new lightweight, rear-wheel-drive chassis. The platform will also underpin the new 5 Series saloon, due next year, plus an all-new 3 Series expected in 2018.
The new architecture will mean a slight increase in overall length and a small boost in practicality. As our main image shows, there will be only slight visual changes for the X3 when the wraps come off towards the end of this year. BMW’s trademark kidney grille will be flanked by a pair of sharper LED headlamps, while reshaped bumpers and more muscular rear haunches will be the defining features.
However, the new platform will mean more dramatic changes are expected under the skin. Between 50kg and 100kg is likely to be stripped out of the new X3, which could bring the weight of the entry-level model down to around 1,700kg. But the availability of plug-in hybrid tech also means the heaviest model could exceed 2,000kg. It’s understood that car is likely to arrive 18 months after the X3’s initial debut.
When it arrives, the powertrain could be lifted straight out of the current 330e saloon – made up of a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor, developing 249bhp. BMW may increase the power output on the plug-in X3 to compensate for the extra weight, but expect CO2 emissions of around 60g/km.
Source: Auto Express