What the New BMW 7-Series Reveals About the Future of Luxury Cars – PSFK (blog)
Gesture control, airline style tables and remote control parking are defining categories of the new flagship sedan
BMW have unveiled their sixth generation flagship luxury sedan which the automaker says represents the ‘Future of Luxury.’ Historically the 7 Series has been a luxury and technology benchmark in its class but not without controversy. The fourth generation’s super complex iDrive system and Bangle butt styling sparked fires in the press but the model sold in record numbers. Although viewed as too radical by many in the industry, elements of the E65-68 of that era eventually ‘inspired’ design and technology features on many competing luxury sedan models.
The 2016 BMW 7 Series is feature packed. The company issued a hefty 55 page press release that explains everything that’s new. One area that isn’t a vast departure from the fifth generation is the exterior styling. The shapes on the new 7 Series are an evolution from the previous generation and have an overall softer character. It looks to be a final sign off from the flame surfacing era and the a contrast to the bolder shapes of the i and M brands.
Developing any car these days if fantastically expensive. Automakers have been looking for ways to share platform or chassis components across as many vehicles as possible to spread out the investment. The 7 Series has a new modular platform called 35up which will also be the basis for upcoming 3-Series, 5-Series, 6-Series vehicles.
One hidden innovation new to the car is the use of carbon fiber for structural pieces, a first in the industry for a car in this segment. The ‘Carbon Core’ is a tech transfer from BMW i and aims to reduce weight without sacrificing chassis strength.
BMW is debuting Remote Control Parking which allows drivers to navigate in or out of forward-parking spaces standing outside of the car. The feature is initiated via the BMW Display Key which includes an integrated LCD display. The car has to be oriented properly before starting the semi-automated maneuver and the car will only travel 1.5 times its length in driverless mode.
Another world premiere is gesture control features within iDrive. A dash-mounted 3D sensor will be able to detect predefined hand movements to interact with the infotainment system.
The Ambient light package takes interior illumination to another level. An eye-catching Welcome Light Carpet is projected on the ground adjacent to the car at night when the doors are opened. Inside, LED lighting has been integrated into doors, seat backs, the dashboard, and footwells. The lighting color can be altered from six different hues through the iDrive menu.
Fumbling around with a smartphone charging cable is finished in the new 7 Series. The car comes with inductive charging which can recharge mobile devices wirelessly.
For those whose methods of travel go no lower than first class, the Executive Lounge option available on the long wheelbase 7 Series aims replicate high-end air travel amenities. First, there’s 4-zone climate control and ventilated seats with massage. There are also flip-out airline style tables.
Positioned between the two rear seats is the BMW Touch Command multifunction control unit, a seven-inch tablet computer which can wirelessly control to control comfort, infotainment and communications functions.
There’s no need to sit in the back seat when there’s a feature that’ll melt away executive level stress. The front passenger seat can be moved forward and the rear seat reclined to offer what BMW says is a superlative standard of travel comfort. As part of the rear seat entertainment and massage system, BMW developed a Vitality Programme which allows passengers to engage in active training to revitalize the body on longer journeys.