BMW 7 Series Touts Tech, Opulence and Individuality

The new 7 Series was unveiled at an exclusive ceremony at BMW Welt in Munich tonight, and it includes everything but the kitchen sink. As well it should – now that the 8 Series wears an i-brand badge the 7 Series is the BMW brand’s flagship, and it’s entering its sixth generation.

If you’re not immediately drawn in by the new design, you’re not alone. Clearly BMW’s design team has played it safe with this one so as not to alienate potential customers, be they repeats or new. It’s a very conservative evolution on the current model, and nowhere near as polarizing as the E65 created under Chris Bangle’s stewardship. Perhaps BMW Group’s design director Adrian van Hooydonk’s ears are still ringing from that one. He is, after all, the designer who penned the model that has since become synonymous with the non-too glamorous “Bangle butt” adage, even though it went on to become the best selling 7 Series model ever.

That aside, BMW is planning to offer the new 7 Series (aka G11) model with an infinite range of personalization options – a page out of the atelier book of creation. BMW is calling these ‘characters’, and says they will reflect cultural and regional preferences to appeal to customers in Europe, Asia and the Americas, all of which have a different take on what signifies a luxury car.

Similar to what Ferrari and Lamborghini have done with their one-off personalization programs, BMW has tasked lead designer Sandy McGill and the design team at the firm’s California based design studio, Designworks, with guiding customers though an individual consultation program to help them choose the best options.

Apparently at the top of the list of requirements for these well-heeled customers was a prolific amount of technology within the opulent cabin. This includes not only the world’s first gesture control interface and touch screen technology on the new fifth generation of iDrive, but also the largest HUD in the industry, standard wireless charging, a WiFi hotspot and a panoramic ‘Sky Lounge’ LED roof, as well as ambiance lighting and carpeting with LED lights. And for those for whom that isn’t sufficient, there’s always the optional Display Key — which enables users to park the car via a touchscreen without being on board — BMW Night Vision or 7-inch touch command tablet to operate the massage (and other) functions on the rear seats.

Wrapped within the new body are a multitude of technological innovations derived from BMW i technologies, such as the laser lights and carbon core body, which decreases weight and maximizes efficiency. The new long wheelbase 7 Series model, the only one available in the US, measures in at 5248mm long, 2170mm wide and 1478mm tall — more than 25mm longer than its predecessor yet 86kg lighter.

As a nod to aero efficiency, the new 7 Series is also the brand’s first car to feature an Active Kidney Grille, which includes an air flap that opens when there is a need for cooling air but otherwise remains closed.

As with any new flagship the BMW 7 Series has a lot of baggage, not least of which a legacy that started back in 1977 with the first model unveiled. Now the company is responding to the digitalization of modern mobility, placing more emphasis on the individuality of its customers worldwide and looking to reinvent automotive luxury for the 21st century. We’ll see what the sales figures say when the car has its formal launch and starts arriving in dealerships in October.


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