BMW's new 7-Series luxury sedan is packed with gadgets that will make you smile

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is the benchmark to which all luxury sedans are compared.

For decades, the competition has been trying to play catch up — and this includes BMW’s 7-Series.

For 2016, the Bavarian maker of the “ultimate driving machine” has a brand new flagship sedan that the company hopes will finally close the gap between itself and its archrival.

Although the new sedan’s styling may be more evolutionary than revolutionary, the technology employed by BMW is truly a major step forward for the model.

Recently, BMW gave me a sneak peek at their unreleased 7-Series. Here are some of the cool things you will find when the car lands in showrooms.

Since the late 1970s, BMW's top-of-the-line luxury sedan has been its 7-Series.

Some have been very well received while others ...

... haven't.

For 2016, the folks in Bavaria have been busy packing the new sedan with as much tech as they can get their hands on.

This starts with the frame of the new Bimmer, which features a blend of aluminium, carbon fibre, and steel components.

The lightweight, carbon-fibre roof allowed engineers to lower the car's center of gravity -- giving it better stability around corners.

In front, BMW's signature 'kidney grilles' feature automatic shutters that open to provide additional engine cooling, but close to improve aerodynamics when cooling isn't needed.

Inside, the cabin is as plush and high tech as expected. For the new 7, BMW has installed its latest iDrive 5.0 infotainment system.

The coolest new feature is the gesture control function.

Using a series of 3D sensors, the system allows you to control certain features with hand gestures.

For example, you can rotate your finger to change the volume of the radio.

To accept a phone call, point at the screen. To decline a call, swipe across the screen

BMW has also updated the company's stellar heads-up display.

The 7-Series also has a new key with a built-in touch screen display, in addition to the normal set of lock/unlock buttons.

To ensure the key remains functional in case the screen runs the battery down, BMW has installed two separate battery sources -- one for the buttons, one for the screen.

But as a luxury limo, the rear seat experience is a key component for the new 7 and ...

... BMW did not disappoint.

As expected, the company can soup up the rear cabin with a variety of entertainment and luxury options.

The key new feature is a 7-inch Touch Command Tablet that can be used to control everything from lighting and climate control to the navigation system.

The tablet can be used as a hand-held unit or stored in its holster.

As a true BMW, the 7-Series has to live up to the 'ultimate driving machine' moniker.

For propulsion, BMW will over a variety of its highly potent V6 and V8 TwinPower turbocharged engines.

The new 7 will also get BMW's satellite assisted transmission, currently found on the company's Rolls-Royce cars.

Using GPS to read the geography and layout of the road ahead, the transmission then makes the appropriate adjustment to optimise performance.

Speaking of performance, the company will build an 'M Sport' model for those looking for a sportier presentation.

And for the environmentally conscious buyer, there will also be a plug-in hybrid.

The 2016 BMW 7-Series is expected start at around $81,000 when it hits US showrooms in the fall of 2015.

Here's something awesome from Mercedes-AMG ...

NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at