BMW has started testing the next-generation 7-Series and our spies have managed to snap the first photos of the upcoming model.

BMW has started testing the next-generation 7-Series and our spies have managed to snap the first photos of the upcoming model.

Expected to be launched in late 2015 or early 2016, the redesigned model - reportedly codenamed the G11 - appears to adopt an evolutionary design which clearly echoes it predecessors. There isn't much to see, but the prototype has an imposing appearance thanks to a long hood and a large passenger compartment.

Engine options are unkown, but previous reports have indicated choices could include a 260 bhp (194 kW) four-cylinder, a 340 bhp (254 kW) six-cylinder and a 460 bhp (343 kW) V8. There have also been rumors about plug-in hybrid variants as well as an M770i xDrive that could use a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 which cranks out approximately 475 hp (354 kW / 482 PS) and 480 lb-ft (650 Nm) of torque. The future of the V12 engine remains in doubt, but nothing has been decided as of yet.

Regardless of the final offerings, the next-generation 7-Series is expected to ride on a lightweight architecture that incorporates aluminum and carbon fiber. This could enable the luxury sedan to weigh as much as 450 lbs (204 kg) less than its predecessor.