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Forward thinking

How the BMW 7 Series raises the bar

BMW Laserlights

The BMW 7 Series has a long tradition of cutting-edge lighting technology. In 1991, the world’s first xenon lights illuminated the road from a BMW series-produced model. Now, BMW Laserlights with extended functions mark another spectacular lighting innovation courtesy of the new BMW saloon. Laser lighting made its automotive world debut in the BMW i8. It glows bright as daylight, thus emitting a light that is particularly pleasant on the driver’s eye. Lasers are considered the smallest and most intense light source – even the latest LEDs with comparable output are around 100 to 1,000 times bigger. Laser headlights can offer high luminosity with unrivalled efficiency and a compact design. Compared to LED, laser light uses about a third less energy while at the same time extending the maximum range of the light beam from 300m to 600m, making driving along dark country roads safer and less tiring for motorists. In the BMW 7 Series, the lighting engineers have used laser to boost the LED lights on full beam. In conjunction with the BMW Selective Beam anti-dazzle High Beam Assistant, the luxury saloon thus boasts the world’s most advanced automotive lighting technology to date.

BMW Display Key

The new BMW 7 Series forges a particularly close relationship with its driver thanks to a uniquely informative and intriguing Display Key. It marks the definitive entry of the car key into the world of digital design. Using an intuitively operated touch display, the driver receives relevant information on the car’s status, such as fuel levels, battery-charge level and remaining range. This data is extremely important, above all for the BMW 740e hybrid model.

BMW Remote Control

Within a 30m radius around the car, the driver can use the key to lock and unlock the car, for example, or to set the cabin temperature. If the BMW 7 Series features the Remote Control Parking option, the key acts as the remote control.

BMW iDrive with new functions

Never before has a BMW been capable of communicating with its driver in such a variety of ways and so individually. Voice control, a touch display and BMW Gesture Control now complement a perfected BMW iDrive system. Electrical engineer Stephan Durach is in charge of all communications and input systems in the new BMW 7 Series. In the past, he was responsible for integrating apps into BMW’s infotainment system.

Why is the new BMW 7 Series being fitted for the first time with a touch display in addition to the proven iDrive system?

Stephan Durach: We still consider BMW iDrive with its high-mounted screen and controller for driver input to be the best system. This ensures minimal distraction while driving. Nevertheless, a touchscreen is sometimes more practical and intuitive – such as when moving or enlarging a map, for example, or selecting a point on it.

What can the driver control with the touchscreen and controller?

Drivers have the option of operating all functions using either. Our trials have shown that BMW drivers who are familiar with iDrive will initially still do everything by turning and pressing, before gradually starting to use the touchscreen where appropriate. With younger test subjects who have no BMW experience, exactly the opposite happens. Use of the touchscreen decreases in general while driving. That’s the advantage of a controller – it can also be operated without looking. Apart from the new touchscreen, the new BMW 7 Series also features Gesture Control.

How does it work and what are the benefits?

A camera monitors the area in front of the screen and detects hand movements made by the driver or front passenger. We use this function for certain gestures, such as pointing a finger to accept a phone call or making a wiping motion to reject it. Besides being a very direct, swift and effortless method, it’s also really fun to control functions in this way.

BMW Head-Up Display

In the new model, the BMW Head-Up Display projects information into the driver’s field of view over an area some 70 per cent larger than in the previous model. At the same time, a higher resolution and new graphics enhance readability. Among other things, the display offers newly designed navigation directions and small map views. Beyond the enlarged Head-Up Display, the new BMW 7 Series keeps the driver informed via two high-quality displays in matte black and a newly designed control panel for temperature settings and seven favourites buttons. An optional, freely programmable instrument display in the driver’s direct line of vision presents the displays in arresting style with the help of sophisticated graphics and a range of colour worlds. The centre display in the middle of the dashboard measures more than 10in in the new BMW 7 Series and comes with an optional touch function. It means the driver and front passenger can operate all the displayed functions and menus via the touch-sensitive screen. For the first time, the BMW designers have also integrated the favourites buttons into the display between the climate controls. As before, the buttons respond to touch and show the stored function.


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