At first glance BMW’s yet-to-launch luxury flagship is about as relevant to the average CarsGuide reader as haute couture.
Yet just as bespoke fashion finds its way into mainstream outlets, so will the technology infused in the big limousine filter down to more affordable models.
And the sheer number and extent of the computer-controlled systems is staggering. In a segment where owners now expect to awe their audiences with more than a serene ride, it’s a case of innovate or be irrelevant.
BMW’s 7 Series product guru Sven Arens says the 7-Series combines futuristic functions with craftsmanship and materials borrowed from Rolls-Royce, which BMW owns.
CarsGuide looks at some of the key features found in the sixth-generation 7 Series.
Gesture control: BMW is the first carmaker to fit a production model with gesture controls based on specific movements. A camera monitors an area in the centre of the dash and finger swirls can raise or lower the volume of the 16-speaker Bowers and Wilkins sound system or swipe to accept or reject phone calls. The system worked intermittently at a preview … but it was a pre-production vehicle.
Remote parking: Operated using the display key with an integrated screen, the idea is the occupants can exit the vehicle before it drives in or out of a tight parking space.
Carbon core: Adopted from the i Series vehicles, the carbon-fibre reinforced plastic has helped trim 120kg from the 7 Series. Arens says bonding car components is better than welding because the weld softens the metal around the joint.
Wireless connectivity: The 7 Series can now wirelessly charge smartphones using an inductive pad while Bluetooth pairing uses near-field communication — the same tech used with “pay wave” credit card purchases.
Removable tablet: Rear-seat passengers can use a seven-inch tablet to control everything from the aircon to the seats. The Android-powered device can be taken out of the car to load up a movie and various apps can be installed.
Occupant wellness: The big BMW can emit occasional bursts of scent, the seats incorporate a vitality program that extends the massage function and “allows rear passengers to engage in active physical exercise for recuperation purposes”. The long-wheelbase executive lounge option also includes a 42.5-degree rear seat recline and there’s a panoramic “sky lounge” that acts as a (relatively) poor person’s version of the fibre optic roof lights found in some Rolls-Royce models.
The cars will launch in Australia late this year in 730d, 740i and 740Li models, with the top-spec 750i/Li due early next year. Pricing has yet to be set but the current model starts at $206,200 for the 730d.