The 7 Series is where BMW shows off its latest technology and design techniques. The high-end vehicles are beautiful machines in their own right, but they also serve as a proving ground for new ideas. BMW is currently working on a new one and has recently allowed the world’s automotive press access to the prototype. Based on this early model, it seems that the next 7 Series car is going to be something pretty unique. It’s jam-packed with innovative tech and is even built from new-to-the-industry materials to improve its performance and efficiency.
BMW have already established a precedent for using ultra-lightweight materials in the construction of their vehicles: their range of eco-friendly ‘i’ cars utilised carbon fibre as the main material for many parts. Now, the new 7 Series model will feature a passenger cell that uses carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP). By manufacturing certain components of the passenger cell from CFRP, BMW has given itself the opportunity to use aluminium and steel in other vital parts of the car while still reducing the vehicle’s overall weight and lowering its centre of gravity. In point of fact, the new 7 Series is 130 kg lighter than its predecessor. The reduced weight of the new 7 Series makes it more fuel efficient (after all, it takes less petrol to get a lighter car moving) and therefore more environmentally friendly. Meanwhile, the lower centre of gravity will make the vehicle more stable, which in turn will make drivers feel more secure on the road.
BMW’s prototype 7 Series is bristling with futuristic hyper-technology. The Dynamic Damper Control, for example, enables drivers to select from a range of brand new suspension set-ups, including a lavish-sounding Comfort Plus option. Meanwhile, the improved rack-and-pinion steering system allows drivers a far preciser level of control than in previous models. However, the features that will really have tech-heads salivating are gesture control and self-parking. The former allows you to interact with certain aspects of the vehicle's computer interface by gesture alone; for example, if you receive a phone call on the car’s phone, you can wave dismissively to get rid of it or simply point at the new touchscreen to pick it up. The latter is a system that allows the car to manoeuvre itself into tight parking spots. All the driver has to do is get the vehicle into approximately the right position then get out and push a button on the key-fob. The 7 Series will then slide itself seamlessly into the narrow space.
Here at Big Motoring World, we can’t wait to find out when this marvellous machine will be released. The next 7 Series sounds like it’s from the distant future, but hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for it!