Pictures and details of BMW's redesigned 7-series flagship have appeared on internet sites world-wide ahead of the 'official' release.

The new car appears to have less controversial styling than its predecessor. Reports say it is now 5.1m long on a wheelbase lengthened 84mm and the strut front suspension has been replaced by double wishbones at the front and a multilink arrangement at the back.

Weight-reducing aluminium is used for the bonnet (hood), roof, doors and side panels.

Initial engine are 240kW three-litre I6 twin-turbo petrol, 180kW three-litre I6 turbo diesel and the 300kW twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 launched recently in the X6 SUV.

The transmission is expected to be an eight-speed ZF automatic and one report said the gear selector is now centre floor-mounted instead of on the steering column. The often-criticised I-drive central control wheel for the menu system has also been substantially revised.

There have also been reports of an option called integral active steer - speed-sensitive rear wheel steering said to improve low-speed manoeuvring and high-speed handling by adjusting rear wheel angle up to three degrees.

The car is scheduled to make its public debut at the Paris motor show in October and go on sale in November.

Initially, only the petrol versions will be sold in the US but BMW insiders have not ruled out the diesel for later, a US report said.

Reuters reported that BMW hopes to sell 340,000 units of the new generation 7 over its life cycle, 20,000 more than the outgoing model.

It will be built in the automaker's Dingolfing plant and a 'mild hybrid' version, developed jointly with Mercedes-Benz, will be launched late next year, the news agency added.