BMW’s next-generation Audi Q5 rival sheds a little extra camouflage in latest series of spy shots
A fresh batch of BMW X3 spy shots has landed, and while the new BMW SUV – due on sale in the middle of 2018 – is still heavily masked, this is our clearest look at the upcoming Audi Q5 rival yet, providing a decent glimpse at the car’s evolutionary styling.
BMW had previously teased the new model in a series of official spy shots, but these fresh photographs strip back the masking around the front of the car a little more. Overall, the profile of the car remains much the same, and we don’t expect the new X5 to swell in size over the current model.
Auto Express understands that the new X3 SUV will use a new lightweight rear-wheel drive platform to improve fuel economy, performance and handling. That means it’ll be slightly longer, improving space in the cabin, but up to 100kg lighter than before. The platform also underpins the new 5 Series saloon, 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, ahead of a likely debut at the Detroit Motor Show in January. 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.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the company’s M Division could finally get its hands on the X3 and develop a fully-fledged rival for the Porsche Macan Turbo. An Audi RS Q5 is on the cards, so BMW will be looking to counter any such arrival; the 425bhp 3.0-litre twin-turbo straight six from the M3 is a likely contender to provide the power.
Diesel will make up the bulk of sales, though. The 262bhp six-cylinder diesel from the new 7 Series will be carried over for the X3 30d and a more powerful version used for the 35d. The big seller will continue to be the X3 20d featuring a new 2.0-litre four-cylinder.
Entry-level sDrive rear-wheel-drive models will be paired with a six-speed manual gearbox and should see CO2 emissions dip below 130g/km. Four-wheel-drive xDrive versions will still prove popular and will come with BMW’s eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox as standard.