The Futuristic Tech in the BMW 7 Series

Credit: Courtesy BMW

Nearly 50 years after the 7 Series was introduced, BMW will debut its sixth-generation edition this fall — and it will continue its tradition as one of the most high-tech rides money can buy. BMW announced that the car will, in fact, carry 25 new technologies. Remarkably, more than a dozen of those aren't available through any other manufacturer in the segment such as the first carbon core body, gesture controls, and adaptive driving modes. Here's a look at what all this new tech can do.

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1. Carbon Core
As part of BMW's Efficient Lightweight concept, the extensive use of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) in the structure of the passenger cell, alongside ultra-high-tensile steels and aluminum, reduces weight while increasing both rigidity and strength of the cell. The result is a vehicle that weighs 190 pounds less than its predecessor.

2. Active Kidney Grille
This is the first marque to feature an active kidney grille in a luxury sedan. It features a visible air flap control that optimizes engine cooling and aerodynamics, and the increased number of bars in the grille upgrades its appearance. And while some drivers might appreciate a supercar feature that's made its way into a sub-six-figure luxury sedan, unless you're taking the Autobahn to work every day, it's really just something to impress the neighbors.

3. Gesture Control
Pre-selected hand movements in the vicinity of the center console allow 3D sensors to register and carry out customizable actions: adjust volume, accept or reject incoming phone calls, navigating home, or turning off the screen. Basically it's designed to be an alternative to conventional means of hand operation. Be on the lookout for sudden outbursts of wild gesticulation in your near future. And you thought Google Glass and Bluetooth headsets were distracting.

4. Panorama Sky Lounge LED Roof
A two-section panoramic roof is standard. There's also an optional panoramic sky lounge LED roof featuring light emitted by LED modules along the sides, which is then spread evenly throughout the glass surface. At night, etchings in the roof glass create an imprinted graphic mimicking a starlit sky (and available in six color schemes). It's BMW's take on Rolls-Royce's fiber optic headliner. 

5. Display Key
This high-tech key fob with a digital screen allows the driver to use it as a remote control (a world first) to park the 7 Series while standing outside. The vehicle must be in a central position in front of the parking space and within 1.5 times the length of the car. The driver will also receive vital stats on the car, such as fuel level, battery charge level, and remaining range. 

6. LED Light Carpet
Incorporated into the side skirts of the 7 Series, it produces eye-catching lighting graphics in the entrance/exit area of the vehicle that illuminates the floor during entry and exit.

7. Wireless Charging
This feature includes a holder in the center console with LED charge status display, along with a second microphone to optimize the hands-free functionality for the front passenger. In a world dominated by an endless stream of battery-siphoning apps and games, its efficiency really shines by freeing the console of any cords.

8. 7" Touch Command Tablet
The removable BMW Touch Command Tablet lets you adjust seats, interior lighting, and air conditioning. Also, you can control infotainment, navigation, and communication system. It can play external audio and video files, surf the Internet, or work as a gaming console via a pair of 10-inch screens in the back seat.

9. Vitality Program
Designed for the 7 Series, the rear passengers can engage in some on-the-road fitness using instructions displayed on the back seat screens. While we appreciate the idea, it's not something we plan to use a lot. In our initial test, it required quite a bit of force to register an exercise motion with the seat sensor — not something you want to do while strapped in and traveling at 70 mph.

10. Adaptive Driving Mode
For the first time, an adaptive mode can be selected in the 7 Series. While activated, the vehicle set-up is matched to the current driving style and changing route profile — altering the powertrain and chassis for either sporty or comfort performance.

11. Touch Sensing Ambiance Light Pillar
Vertically arranged light bars on the interior B-pillars help illuminate the rear compartment. Intensity can be adjusted as needed.

12. Near Field Communication (NFC) 
Simply move your smartphone above the LTE lettering to sync to your vehicle. This complements a package that includes Bluetooth Office with access to your calendar, SMS, and email functions.

13. Intelligent Safety Button
Drivers can now customize safety features such as controlling on/off features, and even selecting warning levels based on distance. Access is available to: Frontal Collision Warning, Pedestrian Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and Active Blindspot Detection.