The BMW 7 Series just can’t avoid the paparazzi these days, as spy photos of the next-gen luxury Bimmer just keep popping up. However, this time, the focus is a bit different. Rather than focus on its design, it seems as if these photos show off a unique feature that’s actually a bit more interesting. (We don’t own the photos but they can be seen here)

In these new spy photos, we see the next-gen 2023 BMW 7 Series doing  some testing but what’s more interesting is what’s on its snout. There seems to be a little cutout at the top of its right kidney grille that features some sort of sensor. It looks very much like the sorts of radar cruise-control sensors we see on most modern luxury cars, except that it’s recessed into the grille a bit. Typically, we see these sensors inside the grille, where it can be hidden as much as possible. On this test mule, though, the sensor sticks out like a zit on its nose.

The specific car this sensor is on seems to be the upcoming, all-electric BMW i7. Though, considering the i7 is part of the 7 Series lineup, we suspect any sort of autonomous driving tech seen on the i7 will migrate to the rest of the lineup.

We don’t know what sort of autonomous driver aids the BMW 7 Series/i7 will have, as it’s just too early to tell. Technology and regulations could change wildly by the time the 7er debuts, so it would be irresponsible to make any bold claims. However, we do know that BMW is working hard to implement new autonomous driver aids, so it wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility to think Level 3 autonomy could be realistic.

As for the actual placement of this sensor, take it with a grain of salt at the moment. Sure, it’s about as terrible a placement as possible but it also could just be for test mule purposes. In fact, it likely is.

Don’t expect to hear any claims of autonomous capability from BMW until the 7 Series is close to its launch date. One thing no one can fault BMW for is that it plays its self-driving close to the vest. Rather than make constant outlandish, chest-thumping claims and then fail to deliver each and every time, BMW prefers to wait until the tech is actually usable before making any such claims. Until then, though, it’s clear BMW is working on something new. Whatever that something new is, we’ll have to wait to find out.

[Source: Car Scoops]