By on July 6, 2015

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Over the weekend, I spotted a completely camouflaged BMW ActiveTourer heading into the mountains of Colorado. At the same time half a world away, a TTAC reader on vacation in Germany spotted a completely camo’d 7 Series on the streets of Munich.

What gives, BMW? We’ve already seen these cars before.

Turns out the story is less exciting than what I had for breakfast.

Well, in the case of the 7 Series, the car hasn’t been revealed to the public yet. Case closed.

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IMG_3261But our mystery 2 Series Active Tourer driving around the U.S. is a little more interesting. Spy photographer Brian Williams — who didn’t take the 7 Series shots — clears it up for us:

“In June every year BMW brings about 50-60 cars into Death Valley. From there they disperse across the US doing all kinds of different testing. The reason that prototype is still camo’d is probably because it’s just more work to take the wrap off. It’s just a lot easier for them to leave the camo on.”

This must be the first instance in recorded history of a German automaker being accused of laziness.

But it’s spy season in Colorado, however. Several manufacturers send cars up Mt. Evans — the highest road in North America — for high-altitude testing. By the time they trek up the 14,000-foot mountain, many of the cars are fairly close to production and lightly camouflaged — if at all.

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21 Comments on “Why Are These BMW Cars Camo’d If We’ve Seen Them Already?...”


  • avatar
    ahintofpepperjack

    Leaving the camo on is providing them with all this free advertising on automotive blogs. As long as we keep getting “Spotted!” posts, they will keep the camo on.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    Tactical deception? That is, giving the automotive journalists, et.al what they want in such an obvious way that it distracts from what is really out there.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    To de-douchify the roadways?

  • avatar

    I was at Pikes Peak this weekend, too. On the way back down the mountain, I saw the camo’d 7-Series headed up the mountain, what looked like the facelifted 3-Series, several partially-camo’d Range Rover Evoques (facelift?), and what looked an awful lot like a Rolls-Royce SUV…although I’m not sure how plausible that is when Rolls-Royce is still out there using a sawn-off Phantom mule to test the SUV’s hardware.

  • avatar

    To give all the photoshoppers something to do to make the cars monochrome and see what they look like. It isn’t like the Camo is LESS noticeable.

  • avatar
    kobo1d

    Saw a whole bunch of camouflaged BMWs in the Eastern Sierra Nevadas yesterday, some of the only other cars out there. Two separate caravans of them, surrounded by black additional X5s. Couldn’t tell what model, probably 3’s based on size.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    This is the new standard paint job and interior trim. It’s called “Modest”. To ugrade to the old standard, which is now called “Assertive”, you will have to fork up $5000.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Well, someone has to keep the camo people in business.

  • avatar
    NutellaBC

    As a former prototype driver, I can confirm that camo is usually left on already released vehicle because it’s just too hard to remove . Sometimes, molded parts are held by rivets and removing them would expose the inside to water.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The new BMW IAD Interior Active Drapery option costs about $4,799.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I see Doug has been driving the 7-Series pictured.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Either extra press or BMWs ashamed at their recent 7-series.

    I doubt it’ll look that different than the current models.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Ah so those two prototypes I saw up here yesterday were BMW 2’s.
    Prototypes seem to love the Colorado Mountains.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    Maybe they realized it was crap and not on par with the S-Class and they are redoing it.

  • avatar
    OliverTwist

    I live in Munich and see those camouflaged BMW vehicles almost every day. I saw a lot of BMW models six to twelve months before their official release, including i3, i8, F15 X5, G11/G12 7-Series, 2-Series Active Tourer (with different rear door design), and so forth. Yet, it is very extremely rare for BMW to park and leave their camouflaged prototypes on the street.

    Leopoldstraße, a main trunk road going from city centre to the northern city boundary, is very popular hotbed of BMW prototype sightings. Additional bonus: the traffic can be mercilessly bad in the afternoon, keeping the BMW prototypes stuck in traffic and affording us excellent photo opportunities. I snagged a chance to photograph the early 2-Series Active Tourer prototype to the intense annoyance of test driver. Same with right-hand-drive G12 7-Series last April (a couple of months before its official reveal).

    I sometimes see BMW vehicles with partial swirl camouflage, namely the bumpers, which denote them as mid-cycle refresh. Some prototypes are so subtle that they are overlooked if not for ‘WERKSTESTWAGEN’ (factory test vehicle) sticker on the rear bumpers.

  • avatar
    DrGastro997

    Perhaps another series addition- 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, perhaps 9 or 10 series? Something that’ll attack the S-class directly?

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