It’s not only one of the oldest models in its highly competitive segment, but one of the oldest that BMW currently produces. Though still disguised by swirly camouflage, what you’re looking at here is BMW’s next-generation mid-size sedan, inside the automaker’s own facility.
At this point you may be wondering what those big robotic arms are doing to it. They’re not for assembly or for painting. In fact they’re not part of the production process at all. What they’re doing is scanning the vehicle in intricate detail to create a high-precision digital 3D model.
The automaker says it is the first in the industry to use the fully automated optical measuring technology, which boasts accuracy down to 100 microns (or 0.1 millimeters). The data it gathers, according to the manufacturer, “allows barely visible deviations to be identified at an early stage,” and is far more accurate and less time- and labor-intensive than previous methods.
The seventh-generation 5 Series, slated to be dubbed internally as the G30, is expected to arrive later this year as a 2017 model. We won’t be surprised to see it unveiled in time for the Paris Motor Show this fall.