These are the best pictures yet of BMW's next 7-series, which will be publicly unveiled at the Paris motor show in September.The new car abandons some of the current model's controversial styling (it was the first BMW to use design chief Chris Bangle's flame surfacing) for a smoother, more conventional look. This approach follows BMW's tradition of following a complete styling change with a more evolutionary look. The biggest differences are at the front and the rear of the car, where the head and tail lamps set the look for the next generation of BMWs. It's also slightly longer at about 5100mm, and higher than the current car, but according to Bangle it doesn't look it; the car has been designed to hide the extra bulk and some of the panels are aluminium, to help cut weight.Inside, the 7-series will retain iDrive, despite reports to the contrary. The controller has been moved from behind the gearshift, and the column shift has been dropped in favour of BMW's joystick style controller to the right of the shifter. The rotary controller also has function buttons around it, like Mercedes' 'Command system'.The new 7 will be the first BMW to get the firm's eight-speed gearbox, which can be fitted with a stop-start system, though there is no word yet on whether the 7 will get a stop-start facility. There is also the possibility of a four-wheel drive 7-series for the first time. BMW is missing out on a market dominated by Audi's Quattro A8 and Mercedes 4Matic S-class. A 4x4 7 would come with BMW's new DPC system - a torque vectoring unit that allows drive to be varied between the front and rear axles dependent upon traction, and between the left and right wheels for greater agility. This will be seen first on the new X6 and eventually on all BMW's 4x4 models.The V8 diesel from the current model will be discontinued in favour of developments of the twin turbo six-cylinder diesel engines. And it's likely that the V12 petrol will live on as a flagship model for the brand, especially in markets such as China.