Tesla Motors is widely regarded to be one of the leading innovators in the automotive industry. But don’t forget about BMW.
There’s a reason Apple reportedly wants to work with BMW on its own car: BMW has gone above and beyond to endow its cars with some wild and useful innovations. Its latest 7 Series sedan is a testament to BMW’s commitment to modern technology.
The BMW 7 Series can automatically pull in and out of your garage using BMW's Display Key, a FOB that's packed with sensors and even a tiny colour display. Once the car is settled, it turns off automatically, but you can both start and kill the engine with the Display Key.
You can operate the new 7 Series' in-car system with simple hand gestures so you can keep your eyes on the road. You can take phone calls or decline them, or raise or lower the volume, with memorable hand gestures. You can also assign a fifth customised gesture, in case you want to do things quickly like summoning a map on the fly.
The new 7 Series comes with a new touchscreen display that lets you zoom in on your map for better orientation. You can also use it to dial phone numbers.
If you don't want to use manual inputs or hand gestures, you also can talk to your BMW 7 Series. The car's intelligent voice system recognises everyday commands and phrases, so you can say, 'Show me the next gas station on my way,' and your car will know exactly what you're talking about, and direct you there.
The car's front-facing window includes a new heads-up display that's 75% bigger than its predecessor, the 2014 BMW 7 Series, with newer and bigger graphics to show you more about your car at a glance.
Is your phone running out of juice? No problem, the new BMW 7 Series comes with a wireless charging station, so if your phone supports NFC and wireless charging, just drop your phone in and charge. If not, the new 7 Series comes with two USB plugs to recharge the old-fashioned way.
The back seat of the BMW 7 Series offers the 'executive lounge,' which includes an integrated table in the middle panel that flips up to hold your food, laptop, or anything else.
The Executive Lounge also includes BMW Touch Command, an Android-powered tablet that sits in the panel in the rear of the car. It can do everything a tablet can do, but it's also a remote control for 24 different functions within the car, relating to comfort, entertainment, and navigation options -- so you can manage the car's air conditioning, entertainment options, or even activate the massage seats, right from the slate.
The BMW 7 Series' Sky Lounge appears during nighttime driving. It has 15,000 tiny light patterns built into the glass to create an 'exceptional interior light ambiance.'
Miss that new car scent? The BMW 7 Series comes with an 'Ambient Air Package' with eight different fragrances to choose from, ranging from water and plant fragrances to 'natural' and 'warm' fragrances. You can even activate two fragrances at once in case you're feeling a little crazy.
The new 7 Series comes with the Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround sound system, which includes 16 speakers that offer three-dimensional sound and a beautiful Fibonacci cutout design that lights up when the system's on.
When it's dark outside, the 7 Series comes with a new 'Welcome Light Carpet,' which illuminates the collateral areas of the car with white-light patterns.
Compared to a standard LED high beam, BMW's Laserlight technology covers nearly double the distance, which also works on curvy roads.
But easily the most interesting aspect of BMW's Laserlight technology is that it creates selective beams so as not to disturb or dazzle oncoming traffic.
The BMW's 'kidney grille' on the front of the car actually serves an environmental purpose: Depending on the engine temperature, the chrome bars within the grill can open and close to improve the car's aerodynamics but also lower the car's fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
Select sections of the BMW 7 Series are fitted with carbon fibre parts, making it about 286 pounds lighter than its predecessor, the 2014 BMW 7 Series, but also more rigid than that car.
Similar to Tesla Motors' Autopilot technology, BMW ConnectedDrive is the company's assistance technology. It comes with a lane keeping assistant with active side collision protection, a traffic jam assistant, and a steering and lane control assistant that keeps you in your lane for speeds up to 130 miles per hour.
Thanks to a new feature called Executive Drive Pro, you'll notice improved comfort and driving dynamics in the BMW 7 Series. Its active chassis components keep the car in perfect balance -- nearly perfectly horizontal -- despite road conditions and the speed of the car.
Of course, the BMW 7 Series also comes with internet access, real-time traffic information, and the 24/7 concierge service, which can answer any questions you have, or help connect you to local sites or attractions. It can even help you book a hotel room.
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