BMW News

For a short time, a photo of the next-generation G11/G12 7 Series steering wheel and instrument cluster was posted to Instagram reportedly by a BMW test driver. While the layout of the wheel and panel are instantly recognizable to existing and past BMW owners, some of the details are definitely new.

The speedometer and tachometer are in the right place and are the right size, but the displays—at least the needles and center readout—appear to be digital. It’s hard to tell for certain from the picture if the speedometer and tach outside ring numbers are digital or painted on the old-fashioned way.

What can we tell about the car at the moment this picture was snapped? The car is being driven slowly in Sport mode, the engine is cold, it’s almost out of fuel, and we’re not entirely sure but the driver may not have his or her seatbelt fastened.

BMW has bounced its cruise control controls all over the place over the years, from buttons on the left and right sides of the steering wheel to buttons on the panel to stalks on either side of the steering wheel. Apparently, the next 7 will have them on the left spoke of the steering wheel.

On the right side of the steering wheel we see infotainment and communication controls. We assume these will be duplicated on the central display screen via BMW's new touchscreen and also using the iDrive controller.

The steering wheel center cover—there must be an airbag in there somewhere—looks good in leather, but we were mildly surprised to see that BMW’s famous pre-production camouflage so commonly seen in exterior spy shots extends to the BMW roundel logo on the steering wheel as well. Who knew? Certainly, the production model will offer various leather and trim selections other than the ones pictured here, but the camouflage logo cover won’t be one of them.

Expect the official presentation of the new 2016 7 Series to take place at the Frankfurt International Auto Show in September with a possible online reveal earlier.—Scott Blazey

[Photos courtesy of]