Cars & Gadgets

Control Your Car With a Wave of a Hand With the BMW 7 Series

Now on its sixth generation, BMW’s new 7 Series raises the stakes once again when it comes to luxury and comfort.
IMAGE BMW Philippines / Asian Carmakers Corporation
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As the mind-blowing, nostalgia-inducing first season of the Netflix series Stranger Things ended last year, I found that there was only one thing about it that really bothered me. As a longtime BMW fanatic who did grow up in the 1980s, I found it surprising that Steve Harrington, the show’s typical ’80s bratty rich kid jerk with poufy hair, wasn’t driving the highly covetable 325, from the yuppie favorite E30 3 Series line, seen in several scenes. It was after all, among the cars of choice of that generation’s stars, including Andrew McCarthy in Pretty in Pink and Charlie Sheen in Wall Street. Instead, Steve drove a 733i from 1983, from the 7 Series’ first generation. As BMW’s flagship, this wasn’t a car that young teens or even junior executives drove, it was—and still is—meant for the big shots, the leaders of business and industry, those who had truly arrived. This little detail, trivial to most, got to me, but a friend pointed out the obvious. Steve was probably borrowing his dad’s car, most likely sneaking it out. Of course.

As the wave of ’80s nostalgia continues to wash over us, the sixth-generation BMW 7 Series is a reminder of how special the flagship line is, having become a byword for luxury, performance, and comfort. With each iteration came groundbreaking innovations and top-of-the-line features. Remember the second generation, on the road from 1986 to 1994, which had built-in telephones and fax machines? It also introduced the “L” model designation, currently available in the 740Li and 750Li cars, which stands for lang, German for “long,” marking the car as a limousine or long-wheelbase model for extra legroom in the rear. The 7-Series’ most radical redesign came in 2002. At the time, the modernized, aggressive styling shocked BMW’s more traditional customers, but it bravely paved the way forward, leading to today’s quite handsome model.

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Inside the “Executive Lounge”; the 6th generation 7 Series

Now making use of a new manufacturing process, the current 7 Series shaves up to 130 kilograms off from the previous model, leading to improved numbers in fuel economy and acceleration. Powered by a straight six-cylinder engine delivering 326hp, the 740Li, the top model offered in the Philippines (the 750iL is available through special order), goes from 0 to 100 kph in 5.5 seconds, impressive for a car of this size. As this is a BMW, its top speed figures haven’t changed, as for years the German carmaker has set a self-imposed speed limit of 250kph on the vehicles it produces. Just think of it as more time on the road to enjoy the car’s features, and there are plenty.


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Controlling the Touch Command; demonstrating gesture control.

For many years, “the Ultimate Driving Machine” was BMW’s slogan. While it might still hold true, the best seats are in the rear, especially in the “L” versions with their electronically controlled lounge-style seats. A prime option is getting the 20-way seats, which feature power adjustable headrests, thigh extensions, and lumbar and shoulder support for the ultimate in comfort. It’s really quiet inside the cabin, and the air suspension and adaptive dampers further isolate you from the world outside. Entertainment options are controlled through BMW’s Touch Command, a 7-inch tablet built into the rear center armrest, which allows you to play your music and videos, and to set the cabin ambient lighting. If you’re in the driver’s seat, you can also control these with either the highly improved iDrive system, voice commands, or the newly developed “Gesture Control.” With this, you don’t have to touch anything, just wave, swipe, or twist your fingers in front of the dashboard panel to control various car features or zoom into navigational maps. If you liked Minority Report, this might be your sort of thing, but the solid knobs and increased intuitiveness of the iDrive seem more practical. Then again, it just might take some getting used to. As to the car’s look, we loved it right from the start. bmw.com.ph.

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Pierre A. Calasanz
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