BMW is back at the Nürburgring testing the next-generation 7 Series with full camo attire ahead of a possible launch in the latter half of 2022. While the heavy disguise masks most of the design secrets, there are a few noticeable novelties worth pointing out. For example, a closer look at the front wings/fenders reveals small winglets incorporating cameras.
They're there likely for the blind spot monitoring system and/or what we think will be a sophisticated semi-autonomous driving system as it would be fitting for a luxury flagship. We are hoping those cameras kick in when the turn signal is activated and the feed is shown in the digital instrument cluster to make overtaking easier and safer.
Gallery: 2023 BMW 7 Series new spy photos from the Nurburgring
Beyond the nifty side cameras, the profile reveals a new door handle design originally seen on the iX electric SUV. BMW slapped on some fake white door handles right above the real ones, but those aren't fooling anyone. The side profile view allows us to take a peek inside the cabin where the 7 Series prototype appears to have a dual-screen setup inherited from the iX with its eighth-generation iDrive infotainment.
Moving at the front, the low-mounted headlights remind us of the original 8 Series from the 1990s, but we're fairly certain there's more than meets the eye. For instance, we're tempted to believe those are provisional clusters since they look a bit old-fashioned, but their placement is final. Extra layers of camo held into place using tiny black rivets make the bonnet seem smaller than it (probably) is.
The front grille doesn't seem to have that look-at-me vibe we've seen on some recent BMWs as it does not appear exaggerated in size. Air curtains in the corners of the bumpers are noticeable, but the bumper itself remains mostly hidden under black and white mascara. Overall, this sharp front-end design reminds us of the stunning Gran Lusso concept designed by Pininfarina back in 2013.
Moving at the back, the taillights also seem placeholders and the discreet bulge on the trunk lid suggests the clusters are wider than seen here. A subtle spoiler is noticeable, along with a not-so-subtle quad exhaust arrangement different than the design used by BMW for the outgoing M760i. The exhaust arrangement is a telltale sign we are likely dealing with the range-topping 7 Series. However, there probably isn’t a V12 under the hood as the powerhouse will likely be dropped at the end of the current 7er’s life cycle.
Moving at the back, the taillights also seem placeholders and the discreet bulge on the boot lid suggests the clusters are wider than seen here. A subtle spoiler is noticeable, along with a not-so-subtle quad exhaust arrangement different than the design used by BMW for the outgoing M760i. The exhaust arrangement is a telltale sign we are likely dealing with the range-topping ICE-powered 7 Series. However, there probably isn't a V12 under the bonnet as the powerhouse will likely be dropped at the end of the current 7er's life cycle.
An all-electric equivalent has been confirmed multiple times by BMW and will receive the i7 moniker. Our pals at BMWBLOG are reporting there will be a base rear-wheel-drive i7 eDrive45 model joined by all-paw i7 xDrive50 and i7 M60 versions. The latter is rumoured to have more than 500 bhp on tap, according to the same report. The all-electric 7 Series will be offered with multiple battery configurations, varying in size from 80 to 120 kWh.
ICE or EV?
Overall, the new 7 Series will be a radical departure from the current generation in terms of design and also in terms of the hardware by offering a first-ever pure EV solution.