Spotted in this video undergoing winter testing is the next-generation G11 BMW 7 Series, which is set to replace the current F01/F02 model (pictured below) sometime next year.

The video reveals a car that’s more an evolution of the previous-generation model, rather than a revolution. The new 7er looks to be much the same proportionally, although it cuts a sleeker profile with a more steeply-raked greenhouse and a low nose reminiscent of the F30 3 Series.

Of more interest is under the skin, where it will reportedly ditch the F01′s traditional steel monocoque for a brand new construction that uses a blend of steel, aluminium and carbon-fibre. This technology, gained from BMW’s futuristic i3 and i8 models, will be part of a new modular rear-wheel drive architecture that will underpin everything from the next 2 Series to the X5 and X6.

All this tech will bring about a significant reduction of weight, shaving off as much as 200 kg. This will mean that the base 740i will drop from its current weight of 1,900 kg to somewhere around 1,700 kg, which is about the same as a base-model F10 5 Series. A new dual-camera pedestrian detection system, as well as laser headlights that will make their production debut on the BMW i8 sports car, are also expected to be included.

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Engines offered will be the usual range of BMW six-, eight- and twelve-cylinder engines, all of them turbocharged. One particularly notable addition to the range is likely to be a twin-turbocharged 4.0 litre V8 that is rumoured to see service in an M770i xDrive, developing 475 hp and 650 Nm. The on-again-off-again full-blown M7 variant is now reported to stay “off”.

Another variant that may have been seen tested in the video is a plug-in hybrid version. One of the cars shown sports what looks like a flap on the front fender that could be covering a socket in much the same way as on the Concept X5 eDrive and 3 Series eDrive prototype. If true, it will likely feature the powertrain from the X5 eDrive – a turbocharged four-cylinder engine connected to a 95 hp electric motor.

As previously reported, Mercedes-Benz’s aim to push its S-Class upmarket to fill in the void left by its Maybach brand will see BMW following suit with an extended-wheelbase 7 Series variant of its own in addition to its usual regular and long-wheelbase models, which will sit just below the Rolls-Royce Ghost in the BMW Group lineup. The G11 BMW 7 Series is expected to bow at the Frankfurt Motor Show next year.