BMW has previewed its next-generation X3 SUV in a series of images, showing a heavily-disguised prototype tearing up the white powder in North Sweden.

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With the current model now in its seventh year, the new X3 is expected to be revealed sometime later this year - though BMW is remaining tight-lipped as to when its all-new crossover will make its debut.

The company says the icy surfaces of frozen lakes and remote roads of the region allow it to fine-tune stability and traction control systems, along with the xDrive all-wheel drive system.

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Additionally, BMW says cold-weather testing contributes to the development of the vehicle as a whole, considering the exposure to extreme weather conditions.

Despite the swirly black-and-white camouflage, the X3 looks like it will draw a lot of inspiration design-wise from the smaller X1 and the larger X5.

Up front the large 'double kidney' grille and headlights resemble the X5 - which is also set to be updated soon - while the tail-lights look very similar to the X1 and new 5 Series Touring.

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Images of the interior are yet to surface, but it's likely the X3 will take styling cues from newer models like the X1, 5 Series and 7 Series, along with offering the company's latest infotainment and driver assistance systems.

Under the bonnet will likely be a range of turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, in four-, six-, and possibly three-cylinder configurations.

It's also believed a high-performance M model will join the X3 range for the first time, potentially motivated by the 317kW/550Nm twin-turbo 3.0-litre straight six from the M3 and M4.

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For more details of the new X3, we'll just have to wait until the new SUV is revealed - which is likely to occur later this year.

Stay tuned to CarAdvice for more updates.