. It will perfume the air you breathe and draw the shades if the sun is too bright. It can recline your seat, clear the space ahead, and deploy an ottoman. Approach the car and it’ll roll out what BMW calls a “Light Carpet,” an LED-projected runway welcoming you.
It’ll remind you of speed limits, but wouldn’t dare suggest you obey them. And when you reach your destination, it will park for you, or just act as spotter if you prefer to do it yourself. It’ll even stomp on the brakes if you don’t see an obstacle and get too close. The new BMW 7-series isn’t just a car. It’s a concierge, a four-wheeled passe-partout.
Here, in the concierge class, luxury means something more than just highly adjustable and supremely comfortable ventilated leather seats, which, of course, this 750i xDrive has in both the front and rear. Or a high-end stereo system, which in this case is a Bowers & Wilkins with 1400 watts and 16 speakers that include Kevlar midranges and “diamond tweeters with Nautilus technology,” a description that probably took longer to write than it takes to manufacture lesser speakers. BMW chief designer Karim Habib says modern luxury means “offering the customer what they want before they know they want it.”
Which is why, like any proficient attendant, the 7-series now responds to hand gestures such as waves, points, and impatient finger twirls. A dismissive flick of the wrist ignores incoming calls. Pointing at the infotainment screen accepts them. Twirling your finger clockwise in front of the screen turns up the volume; counterclockwise turns it down. A two-fingered point can be programmed to do any number of things: set a specific destination, play “After All” by Cher and Peter Cetera from a connected phone, play other songs less terrible.
Where Habib sees a luxury feature, we see a gimmick. But if you don’t like Gesture Control, you don’t have to use it. With the addition of touch-screen control and an optional tablet between the rear seats, there are now five ways to interact with the 7-series’s iDrive infotainment system (the knob and voice commands being the other two). The race to incorporate mind control is on, however our bet is on dark horse—or would that be space horse?—Tesla. …Read more