We all know that the BMW 7 Series is one of the most technologically advanced automobiles currently on the market. With such features like gesture control and autonomous parking, the 7 Series is the pinnacle of BMW technology. While this may not matter to folks like you and I, who can’t afford a near-six-figure luxury car, it’s still exciting as these technologies will trickle their way down into more pedestrian BMWs in the future. So the new BMW 7 Series is paving the way for some of the cool stuff we’ll get in later 5 Series’ and eventually 3 Series’.
But there’s so much tech in the new 7er that it’s hard to keep track of it all. BMW has been doing some incredible work lately, but without a technical briefing it’s hard to remember it all and/or understand it all. So it’s best to just limit yourself to learning a few of the important things. CNET has been providing quality technological information for ages now and they’ve done a great job with the car videos as if late. In this latest video, Brian Cooley, of “CNET on Cars”, goes through a list of the his top five technologies in the brand new 7 Series. Here are his top five.
5. Carbon Core: The new BMW 7 Series chassis uses what BMW calls Carbon Core technology. Essentially, this means that the chassis of the new 7er is developed with extensive uses of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP), aluminum and lightweight high-strength steel. The CFRP is used sporadically throughout the chassis, where BMW could best utilize it and it can be seen from looking at the naked chassis. This Carbon Core chassis technology allows BMW to create a 7 Series that is over 200 lbs lighter than its predecessor.
4. Laser Headlights: While we won’t be getting the awesome laser headlights in America, the BMW 7 Series will be available with them in other markets. These tiny little laser modules shoot their beams at an illumination structure which shines perfectly white light up to 600 meters ahead of the car, which is considerably further than even the average high-beam. These lights also require one third of the energy it takes to power a standard LED headlight and will last the life of the car. They’re quite remarkable and BMW is the first company to use laser lights on a fully mass production vehicle.
3. Gesture Control: We’ve talked quite a bit about gesture control and how it can be both extremely helpful and a bit gimmicky. The Gesture Control system in the new BMW 7 Series is quite remarkable, actually, as it uses sensors above to monitor hand motions in front of the screen and can control certain functions with them. This can be useful when driving and you don’t want to take your eyes off of the road. It actually works quite well, also, so it’s impressive. However, I think this iteration is more for learning for the future. Currently it can only control a couple of commands, like changing volume or answering a phone call, all things that can be done from the redundant steering wheel buttons without averting attention from the road. But in the future, as the technology improves, it will be able to do much more and become more useful. It is cool though.
2. Head Up Display: While HUDs have been in cars since the ’80, as the C4 Corvette even had one, BMW has always been the best at it and this new one is no exception. The HUD in the new 7 Series is offers a full graphical display on the windscreen directly in the driver’s vision. It’s a full color display and looks absolutely fantastic while showing important information within immediate view. It can be wonderfully helpful and, even though it seems like something quite simple, is a technology that once you use you don’t want to live without.
1. Touchscreen Key Fob: Cooley combines the self parking feature with the key fob as one technology and I can see his point. Everyone talks about how the new 7 Series can self-park without the driver in the car, and it can and it’s amazing. But no one has given much attention to the controller which allows it to do so. The incredible touchscreen key fob that comes with the 7 Series can change climate control, check fuel or charge level and even set departure times to have the car nice and toasty or cool, depending on the weather, as you step into the car. But how it controls the autonomous parking is the best part. You simply press the “Remote Parking” button and the 7 Series will go and find a parking spot and line up with it. Once it does this, the car prompts you that it’s ready and presents a forward and backward arrow on the screen. You simply hold the forward arrow and the car will slowly park itself into the spot, using an array of sensors. The key is that you must hold the arrow until it’s done parking, as the button acts as a Dead Man’s Switch and will stop if you let go, for safety. Fascinating.
The new BMW 7 Series is one of the most interesting cars on the road, thanks to its incredible technology. It’s great looking, fun to drive and extremely luxurious, but it’s the 7 Series brain that counts most. So in a way, the BMW 7 Series is like a sexy librarian, it’s got both the looks and the smarts. What a catch. Check out the video to get a good visual as to how all of this tech works.