Reports state that the new 7 Series will be officially launched in the build up to the one of this year's major European motor shows, either the Geneva show in March or Frankfurt extravaganza in September.
According to Dutch website AutoWeek.nl, the photos you see here, of a completely undisguised prototype of the new BMW 7 Series, were first posted on a Swiss BMW fan club's Facebook page.
The next-generation 7 Series is expected to use the G11 model code for short wheelbase version, while long wheelbase sedans will be designated as the G12.
Although the 730d seen here is stylistically a gentle evolution of the current F01/F02 model, the new 7 Series will be far more radical under the skin.
All 35up-based cars will feature a high proportion of lightweight materials, such as carbonfibre, aluminium and high-strength steel, in their structures.
Reports indicate that the new 7 Series will tip the scales at least 100 kilograms lighter than the current model. Some rumours talk of savings of up to 170 and 200 kilograms, which would mean that the next-generation 7 Series will be around the same weight as the current 5 Series.
Under the bonnet, the next-gen 7 Series is expected to feature engines equipped with either six, eight or twelve cylinders.
Car magazine believes that BMW is investigating the feasibility of a 725i model powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
On the inside, the new BMW 7 Series has a sleeker layout and more inviting design than the current model. Like other recent BMW models, it features a tablet-style high resolution display rising out of the dashboard.