A G11/G12 BMW 7 Series development mule was photographed to be testing in fully electric guise last November, as judged from the ‘Electric Test Vehicle’ stickers applied to its body. This could be the eventual i7 pure EV full-sized sedan, and a similar vehicle has been spotted, though this time without the EV-identifying decals.

That can mean that road-testing work for the next-generation 7 Series flagship is underway, and given that our sources indicate the current-generation 7 Series is due to reach its end of production in June 2022, the initial variants of its successor should have made their debuts before that. Here, the G11/G12 mules also feature the current car’s interior, and the lights have been concealed as they are interim parts for early prototypes.

With the internal combustion versions of the next 7 Series also having commenced testing following the EV versions, this could mean that most of, if not all three ICE, hybrid and EV versions of the Bavarian flagship are to debut at or around the same time. The former two will most likely continue to wear 7 Series badging, with the fully electric version to likely be called the i7.

At present, BMW’s electric drive technology could see the 7 Series EV take after the setup in the i4 with different battery capacities, starting with an 80 kWh battery pack. The 120 kWh pack in the i4 makes for an estimated range of 700 km, and therefore the i7 will likely get a battery of an even larger capacity to attain similar ranges for the larger, heavier vehicle.

The German automaker’s fifth-generation eDrive electric drive systems are set for duty in the forthcoming 7 Series, with redesigned motors, power electronics, charging unit and high-voltage batteries. Improved packaging comes courtesy of the integrated motor, power electronics and transmission into a single unit.

With the wick fully turned up, the Power BEV experimental vehicle based on a G30 5 Series gives an example of what’s possible with BMW’s latest generation of electric drive systems. Still early days for powertrain details on the next-generation flagship, though a mixture of inline-six and V8 engines can be expected on the internal combustion front. Meanwhile, the soonest we can expect to see full-body next-gen 7 Series development mules is likely in six to seven months’ time, according to our sources.