New BMW X3 to take the fight to the Audi Q5

Munich brand’s latest premium family SUV to get a sleeker design and updated infotainment

2024 BMW X3 front quarter
  • New iDrive OS8 infotainment
  • Mild-hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric powertrains
  • Expected to arrive in 2024

BMW is already developing a replacement for the recently-facelifted BMW X3 that’s expected to be unveiled to the public in late 2023. Buyers will be able to test drive the new model in early 2024, when the first deliveries are anticipated. The current generation BMW X3 has been on sale for five years and rivals the Audi Q5, Jaguar E-Pace, and Mercedes GLC.

The revised design of the new BMW X3 will include larger kidney grilles and slimmer headlights than the current X3, although changes are expected to be conservative compared with flagship models in the BMW lineup. The spy shots show a rear that’s still undergoing development, disguised lighting that’s yet to be finalised.

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Despite the heavy camouflage, we can deduce that the cosmetic changes for the new X3 will be evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. Like the smaller, recently-updated X1.

In profile the X3 appears to have largely the same wheel arch placement and rear pillar design as the existing model, further hinting at minimal changes. We do not expect to see the split front headlight from the BMW X7, and it’s likely that more lightly camouflaged prototypes will give us a better idea of its front and rear design as it gets closer to production.

2024 BMW X3 rear quarter

On the inside, buyers can expect a similar layout to that of the X1, with a minimalist design that features very few physical buttons. As seen on the newly-facelifted BMW 3 Series, the X3 will get BMW’s latest iDrive OS8 infotainment system; this ‘Curved Panel’ comprises a 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster, alongside a 14.9-inch central touchscreen. While BMW’s infotainment systems are amongst the most intuitive and responsive on the market, the latest setup integrates the climate controls into the screens which can be difficult to use when on the move.

We expect the new car to sit on a modified version of the current X3’s CLAR underpinnings. This is compatible with mild-hybrid, plug-in hybrid and full EV powertrains, meaning we’ll likely see a new fully-electric BMW iX3 sometime in the future, too. To remain competitive, this would need a range of over 300 miles – the current model needs plugging in after just 279 miles. Depending on when the iX3 is launched, it could instead debut BMW’s upcoming ‘Neue Klasse’ architecture; this is set to debut in 2025 and could enable even greater range figures in the iX3.

For those not quite ready for a fully electric car, the rest of the range will consist of a mix of four and six-cylinder engines with varying levels of hybrid assistance. We can also expect a high-performance X3 M variant to make an appearance; like the upcoming XM range-topper, this could also use a plug-in hybrid setup, but this time with a smaller 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine to provide most of the muscle.

The current X3 will set buyers back over £45,000 and it’s likely that the upcoming model could come achingly close to the £50,000 mark, even for just an entry-level example. Of course, as is the case with German luxury cars, the BMW X3’s options list is likely to be extensive, elevating its cost well into X5 territory with a few too many extras selected.

Want something as economical as it is spacious? Check out our list of the top 10 best hybrid SUVs

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