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The next-generation BMW X3 SUV has been photographed out on the road once again this week.

The new third-generation X3 will use a version of the flexible rear-wheel drive platform employed by the new 7 Series. In time, that component set will underpin everything from the 3 Series to 7 Series, and from the X3 to the big new X7.

Dubbed the Carbon Core architecture, the new setup aims for weight savings, and therefore improvements in fuel economy and performance, through the use of lightweight materials, such as aluminium, high-strength steel and carbonfibre.

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It’s entirely possible that BMW will dial back the use of carbonfibre for more affordable models, such as the X3, in order to reduce costs.

Despite the usage of a number of camouflage techniques, we can see that the new X3 will feature a design best described as evolutionary, despite the presence of new underpinnings.

Up front, the third-gen X3 sports a larger-than-ever double kidney grille that’s flanked by what looks to be a production ready set of headlights.

The side features a subtle shoulder line and slightly squared off wheel arches.

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Out the back, the car is still using temporary prototype-only tail-lights.

Expect the new X3 to feature a suite of turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder and 3.0-litre straight-six petrol and diesel motors.

For some markets, the new X3 range may start with a 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol motor similar to the one employed by the recently facelifted 100kW/220Nm 318i.

Given BMW’s preference for seven-year model cycles, and the fact the current X3 made its debut in 2010, we expect the third-generation X3 to step out some time in 2017.

That will see the new X3 follow Audi’s next-generation Q5, which has now been confirmed for a 2016 market debut.




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