Personally, I love the ’80s. I’m fascinated with the entire decade, from the cars to the movies to the wars. Everything about the ’80s either intrigues me or makes me laugh, due to the sheer absurdity of it all. This old video manual for the BMW 7 Series from 1989 is part of that, as it’s so cheesy and overdone.
Back in the late ’80s, BMW realized that the 7 Series was too high-tech for customers to learn via a traditional user’s manual. How could someone possibly read about the cutting-edge six-disc CD changer and intermittent wipers? So the Bavarians put together a video about the car, what it can do and how customers felt about it. And it’s so hilariously ’80s that I couldn’t help but watch it.
Its also funny to see just how over-engineered German cars were back in the day. Today, over-engineering consists of things like “Caring Car” systems in iDrive that adjust mood lighting for you, which is nonsense. Back in the ’80s, the 7 Series had two-stage windshield washer fluid; one stage for light cleaning and another stage for heavier-duty stuff. But it’s not the over-engineering that makes me laugh, it’s the way the man delivers his lines in this video does.
Nowadays, all of this is built into the infotainment system, with nice little graphics and video demos about how to use certain features. But they didn’t have infotainment systems in the ’80s, even in the ultra-high-tech 7 Series with two-stage windshield washer fluid. So these were the sorts of videos that were made and they’re treasures for people like me who really get a kick out of just how silly that decade was.
It’s also interesting to see how innovative the 7 Series actually was back in the day. There seemed to be so much more thought that went into creating new ideas back then than there is today.