We’re so accustomed to seeing overseas motoring websites post BMW spy photos at regular intervals; each time they do we tend to feel further removed from the epicentre of the automotive world than we actually are…
But sometimes we get to take the spy photographs and upload them into cyberspace. This time round CAR magazine photographer Kian Eriksen was on his way home when he spotted a convoy of large camouflaged BMW sedans travelling in the direction Blouberg, a northwestern suburb of Cape Town. Kian followed the convoy in his vehicle and when the BMWs stopped at Kreefbaai on the beach front, he stopped to take a closer look.
Judging from the dimensions of these vehicles it would be safe to assume that they are test units of the upcoming G11/G12 generation BMW 7 Series, which is expected to be unveiled at the upcoming Geneva Show. German manufacturers, especially those with local production facilities (but not exclusively) often conduct hot weather testing in South Africa.
The new Seven (of which G12 denotes the long wheelbase version) will reportedly be the first BMW based on the “35up” architecture, British Car suggests, which is fully scalable in dimensions, materials and content. To reduce kerb weights, the Munich-based manufacturer utilises combinations of defined-to-measure sub-modules featuring lightweight material mixes.
“In the case of the new 7 Series, this means that the entry-level versions will utilise lighter chassis elements, smaller brakes and a less complex cooling circuit than the high-end cars,” the publication’s report suggested.
The range will adopt the latest 3,0-litre inline six-cylinder petrol (B58) and turbodiesel (B57) engines, the V8 engine has been updated and the outgoing ActiveHybrid 7 becomes a plug-in petrol electric hybrid named the 750h.
Or are these vehicles X7 mules?
Autocar.co.uk have published images (of a car that looks remarkably similar to the ones you see here) seemingly undergoing testing in Scandanavia.
The publication speculates that it is a mule based on the new 7 Series, which features extra weights on the bonnet and roof to replicate the extra weight and higher centre of gravity of the X7.
It is based on a long-wheelbase version of the platform expected to underpin the next X5, and is set to be BMW’s biggest SUV to date. It will be built in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
The X7 is not expected to go on sale until 2017, so we believe it’s most likely our photographs depict the upcoming 7 Series, as the B58 and B57 engines will also feature in the updated 3 Series and we could have sworn that at least one of the vehicles we saw bore the shape and size of an F30…