BMW 7 Series: A Tech Showcase [with Video]



BMW South Africa has updated its 2016 7 Series line-up with new technologies, some of which are standard on all models.

The Munich-based company announced these updates earlier this week in Johannesburg, after revealing that it has already sold a total of 292 of these ultra-luxurious sedans from January to July, with the 730d making up over a third of total sales. In this article we focus on five of the most amazing pieces of technology you'll find in the 7 Series, but there are many more. From the use of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic in the body, to Laserlights and an inductive charging station, the 7 Series bristles with technology.

“At BMW we believe the future can be predicted most effectively if we’re helping to shape it,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. “The primary objective in the development of the new car was to create a vision of modern luxury and to exceed our customers’ expectations. In BMW’s eyes, modern luxury is rooted in the most advanced technologies and extremely fine attention to detail.”

Remote Control Parking

A first in the first-class sedan segment, the 7 Series is able to park itself, but there’s a (small) catch. It is able to manoeuvre up to 10 m forwards or backwards into a parking bay; and not alley dock or parallel park. It’s meant to assist getting into tight parking spaces or narrow garages. Come to think of it, the 7 Series is quite wide, so much so that it makes almost all parking bays seem narrow!

In order to get the car to park itself, you must first get the 7 Series into position, so you have to drive it all the way to the front of the bay. Once you switch off and get out of the car, you have to stand within a 1-metre proximity, and use the Display Key to access the Remote Parking feature. You long press the P button on the right to activate it, which then prompts you to start the engine via the Display Key. You will then see an image of the car on the screen of the key, which you press and move it in the direction you want the car to park; forward or backward. If an obstacle is in the way, the car detects it automatically and stops. You need to walk in the direction of the vehicle so the smart key and car remain within 1 metre of one another.

Gesture Control

The iDrive infotainment system on the new 7 Series introduces a touchscreen display and the introduction of Gesture Controls. It detects your hand movements by a 3D sensor control, which is located on the roof of the vehicle. Supported gestures include changing the radio station, turning the volume up and down, or accepting and rejecting calls.

The gestures take a few tries before getting used to. For example, to reject a call you must wave your hand from right to left and to increase the volume, move your index finger in a circular, clockwise fashion. When doing the gestures, be aware that drivers in other vehicles may stare at you in confusion!

Display Key

The Display Key comes standard with the 7 Series. It allows you to access certain features of the car before getting in, such as adjusting the temperature, checking if the car is locked, viewing fuel status and range, service notifications, the status of the windows and Remote Control parking.

Rear-seat entertainment

The back seat of this particular BMW 7 Series (featured in the video inserts) is equipped with optional viewing screens for passengers, as well as a tablet to access entertainment features. The tablet, which is fairly simple to operate while docked, can also be used to adjust several comfort settings... there are large user-friendly icons for controlling the temperature, seat adjustments, roof window, blinds, radio stations, etc. The seats also offer a massage function; the experience is so plush that being a rear occupant of a (so-equipped) 7 Series on a long journey can be compared with flying business class.

ConnectedDrive Store

ConnectedDrive came to South Africa about two years ago, and as of September 2016, the local ConnectedDrive Store will go live. It will allow drivers to download and buy new apps for their vehicles, or access new services.

There are two ways to download apps to your vehicle. One is via the web portal, and the other is in the vehicle itself. The car comes standard with a built-in SIM card, which is used to access these services, as well as Real Time Traffic Information (RTTI). As the store is yet to go live (in South Africa), we weren’t able to see which apps are coming.

See pricing for the BMW 7 Series Line-Up in South Africa here

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