The writing has been on the wall for some time for BMW to replace its air-cooled boxer twin with an updated liquid-cooled version, and that hallmark day appears to be coming, as SoloMoto (additional photos on their website) has captured the next-generation German motor out testing in the wild (enhanced photo above) on the Spanish roads near Tarragona. This photo appears to confirm reports that BMW is testing a new R1200GS model, which will feature the liquid-cooled boxer twin, and has obvious differences from its air-cooled predecessor.
While the photo is noticeably of poor quality (isn’t funny how spy shots are always taken on bargain bin camera phones?), it does appear to give away the fact that the shaft drive has been moved from the right to the left side, with the exhaust can also moving to the opposite side of the current R-Series. These facts alone tell us there is a new motor hidden underneath the updated bodywork seen above. Road-testing this early in the year could suggest that we’ll see BMW unveil the design as early as the Fall motorcycle shows as a 2012 model.