We just saw some spy photos of the next-gen BMW 7 Series, which showed off more of its front-end than we’ve ever seen before. It seems to be getting a new, much smaller kidney grille, as well as some interesting new headlights. Those aren’t the only changes that the new 7 Series will be getting, as some new spy photos show off a few interesting new interior changes as well. (We don’t own the spy photos but you can see them here)

These new spy photos show off the inside of the next-gen 7 Series and, while it’s mostly covered in camouflage, there are some big changes on display. These changes aren’t just big for the 7 Series but for BMW as a brand as well.

For starters, you can see the same iDrive/digital gauge setup as seen in the BMW iX. So BMW is clearly going to be using the iX as its design benchmark moving forward, at least for high-end luxury cars. Not a bad idea, either, as the BMW iX has the best interior of any modern Bimmer. But that’s not entirely surprising.

The 7 Series will also be getting an all-new steering wheel, one that’s yet to be seen on any BMW, iX included. It’s a three-spoke wheel, with an almost hexagonal airbag, and the bottom spoke is made from lovely skeletonized metal, which not only looks very sporty but it has a premium, expensive look as well. There are also what big lights at the 9 and 3 o’clock positions, which are likely for semi-autonomous driver aids.

Interestingly, it’s also a flat-bottomed wheel, something that BMW has typically stayed away from in the past. It’s an interesting choice for the 7 Series not only because it’s unusual for BMW but because flat-bottomed wheels are usually reserved for sportier cars, not six-figure luxury cars like the 7 Series. It also gets big, chunky paddle shifters on the back of the wheel, which we hope are metal.

Another interesting addition is the migration of seat controls to the upper door panel, rather than down on the side of the seat. All BMWs have had their seat controls on the side of the seat base since the early ’90s. If I’m not mistaken, the last BMW to not have such seat controls was the E28 5 Series, whose seat controls were on the center console. Like the new BMW iX, however, the seat controls on the BMW 7 Series are mounted on the doors. BMW might not want to hear this but the new control placement is very reminiscent of Mercedes-Benz’s products.

To be honest, I like this new direction for BMW interior design. It’s sharp, interesting, and more premium than any of the interior designs in the current crop of BMWs. I can’t wait to see the rest of the cabin when the car is finally released.

[Source: Motor1]