You may be of the opinion that the 2016 BMW 7-Series is just a cushy almost-limousine for rich dudes with no interest in insane M5 levels of performance. You’d be wrong, then, because like Mercedes’ S-Class, the 7-Series is BMW’s technological flagship. And the new one has some crazy interesting stuff. Here are some highlights.
The platform is the future of BMW sedans and coupes. This 7-Series debuts a new modular platform called “35up” that will underpin a lot of future BMWs, including the 3-Series, 5-Series, 6-Series and presumably the 4-Series coupe as well. That includes their wagon and GT derivatives.
The body structure is carbon fiber reinforced plastic. See more details on this here. It’s cutting edge stuff. The structure alone shaves nearly 300 pounds off the old 7-Series. It’s derived from technology developed on the i8 and i3. On the 7, it’s the first car in this segment to combine CFRP with aluminum and steel.
A fancy air suspension. Standard on the car is a 2-axle air suspension with automatic leveling. That should make for a comfy ride.
Gesture control! Alright, this one’s kind of neat. For the first time ever, iDrive is a touch-screen based system in addition to the controller knob. (Which is good because when I have BMW press loaners, my passengers are always trying to touch the screen anyway.)
But wait, there’s more! A 3D sensor now reads your hand gestures to operate a variety of features, like controlling the stereo volume and accepting or rejecting calls. It may look kind of dorky, but it beats fumbling for the right button when you’re driving. You can even customize different functions to different gestures. Watch those middle fingers, BMW drivers!
Remote parking. The 7-Series can park itself! No need to waste time sitting inside while the car finds a spot to hang out until you come back. All this is controlled with the display-based keyfob unit that comes from the i8.
GPS-controlled transmission. This is nothing new, it’s been on Rolls-Royce and Mini cars for a while now, but it’s still neat. The gearbox uses GPS data to determine the proper time to shift gears based on the curves of the road. It’s all about efficiency.
Seems like an interesting machine. I can’t wait to try it out. Parking myself is so overrated. I have things to do!
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