Set to compete with the Porsche Macan, Mercedes-AMG GLC and rumoured Audi RS Q5 when it goes on sale, the X3 M prototype pictured sports a more aggressive front bumper with large air intakes, side skirts, rear diffuser, roof spoiler, larger brakes and wheels along with quad exhaust pipes.
The new third-generation X3 will use a version of the modular rear-wheel-drive platform that already underpins the new 7 Series limousine, which will soon underpin everything from the next-generation 3 Series to the 7 Series, and the X3 to the upcoming X7 SUVs.
Aimed at saving weight, improving fuel economy and increasing performance, the new platform uses lightweight materials including aluminium, high-strength steel and carbon-fibre.
However, considering the more affordable nature of the X3, it is likely that BMW will use less carbon-fibre in its construction, and for other smaller, more affordable models that will utilise the new architecture.
The X3 M’s release is likely to follow that of the regular X3 range - which should debut either later this year or early next - so don’t expect to see it until at least late-2017. It's also believed that an X4 M will follow afterwards.