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2015 BMW 7 Series redefines the meaning of luxury

2015 BMW 7 Series interior

There is so much convenience in today’s basic cars, even something like a Kia Cerato, that the top-end brands are changing their approach to luxury.

Mercedes-Benz has featherdown pillows in the headrests of its S-Class flagship to counter the inclusion of leather on so many cars in the affordable range.

On the sound-system front, luxury cars now easily top the performance of the majority of home systems with brands like Bowers & Wilkins, Meridian and even ‘Bespoke Audio’ at Rolls-Royce.

And that’s without thinking about all the electronic gadgetry you get when you spend more than $100,000 - from heated-and-cooled massage seats and laser headlamps to self parking that operates while you stand outside the car.

BMW has completely changed its approach to luxury after researching what people really want.

It even sent a group of designers to stay in five-star hotels to see how big spenders are treated.

The results are reflected in its all-new 7 Series flagship, but will quickly trickle down to even the most basic 1 Series models.

“Luxury is personal, not a machine,” the head of interior design at BMW, Oliver Heilmer, tells CarsGuide.

He believes people want personal touches in their cars, even if that’s just the ability to choose the colour of the interior lighting. Men, apparently, prefer reds and oranges while women go for cooler greens and blues.

For the 7 Series, Heilmer and his team began their design work on the top-end, long-wheelbase model. And they started in the back.

So there is a removable tablet to control all the luxury in the rear, from massage seats and privacy screens to a system which pushes the front-passenger seat away to boost legroom.

But the biggest luxury of all, Heilmer believes, is the personal concierge systems coming to cars like the Seven.

“You can always talk faster than you can type. And it’s great to have a real person helping you with something,” he said.

“This will be more and more common. It’s easy to do, linking the car to a concierge and talking to a real person."

What's your definition of luxury? Let us know in the comments section below.