BMW’s new 7 Series is the luxury car of the future, here today
Most notably is the employment of carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) within the car’s passenger cell. BMW made a huge investment into the production of CFRP, which is lighter and stronger than steel and aluminum, for its i3 electric car and i8 plug-in hybrid and the 7 Series heralds its incorporation with the rest of BMWs lineup.
Reducing weight in a car has great benefits for both performance and efficiency. This is why every automaker is trying to reduce weight between successive generations, especially when there is a requirement for safety and technology, which adds weight.
Carbon Fiber has been used in high-end performance and race cars since the early 1980s, where lightness and strength is an absolute must, but it hasn’t quite trickled down to normal, everyday cars yet. BMW’s investment is an attempt to drive the cost of production down while reaping the safety, performance and efficiency benefits CFRP offers. In the not-too-distant future, CFRP will undoubtedly find its way into BMW’s bread-and-butter cars like its venerable 3 Series and eventually, every car.
In the new 7 Series, the usage of CFRP among other lightweight materials reduces weight up to 190 pounds while also lowering the 7 Series’ center of gravity and reducing desirable unsprung weight (weight which isn’t supported by the car’s spring).
If you like cars that drive well but are also safe and efficient, CFRP will make you very excited
If you like cars that drive well but are also safe and efficient, CFRP will make you very excited.Beyond this, BMW also employed some tech which looks like it came straight out of a sci-fi movie. The car’s iDrive infotainment system can now be operated with gesture controls, which let drivers adjust the volume of the stereo and accept and decline calls.
Users can also program their own gestures associated with various functions of the car. I’m sure you could program the car to flash the lights and honk the horn if you raised your middle finger because it is, after all, a BMW (sorry, had to).
As this is a large luxury sedan, the real party is in the back where the oligarch/businessman/celebrity/cult of personality can control pretty much every function of the car on a seven-inch tablet. In fact, the only thing the tablet doesn’t control is the gas, brakes and steering because this would probably be dangerous. Just a guess.
Passengers in the back can enjoy videos streamed over the car’s Wi-Fi hot spot on the two 10-inch screens, while getting a massage from the seats. There are eight different massage programs plus what BMW calls a “Vitality Program,” because any luxury car is only as good as its massaging seats.
The new 7 Series also has a host of tech features which are de rigueur for a modern luxury car including automatic parking, a digital gauge cluster, air suspension, active aerodynamics, a panoramic sunroof, interior mood lighting, a Bowers & Wilkins surround sound audio system and much more.
Frankly, this isn’t so much a car as it is a supercomputer with some wheels and an engine.
Frankly, this isn’t so much a car as it is a supercomputer with some wheels and an engine.A plug-in hybrid version, which will be powered by a 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder and an electric motor, will also be coming in the fall.
As it starts at $81,300, the new 7 Series may seem irrelevant to most, but the technologies featured in this car will have a huge effect on the cars we’ll all drive in the near future.
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