The new 2016 BMW 7 Series is ready to tackle Mercedes-Benz and Audi head on in one of the most tightly contested segments on the market. Falling behind in sales compared to the S-Class, the revived 7 Series is aiming to dethrone the S-Class and take the segment crown for itself. And BMW has given the new G11/G12 all the tools do so — from a weight loss and advanced tech features to a fresh and dynamic design.
When it comes to exterior design, the two limousines take a different approach. BMW continues to emphasize the driving dynamics through its design, while Mercedes goes for the massive and luxurious look that you often see on Bentleys and Rolls Royces. The front-end of the two cars cannot be any more different; S-Class’ grille takes over the entire fascia compared with BMW’s s0fter approach to the front design.
The first thing you notice about the 7 Series cabin is the gauge cluster. Replaced with a 12.3 inch high-definition display, the main gauge cluster is now fully dynamic and can change the displayed information depending on driving mode or navigation settings. It’s very similar to the one used in the S Class, but unlike the S Class it doesn’t look like a couple of screens have just been stamped onto the dash. It looks properly integrated into the dashboard and fits seamlessly and elegantly. There will also be a new generation HUD, which is 75 percent larger than before and will feature Check Control, Navigation and Warning information in full color graphics.
The new 7 Series will also come with four-zone climate control as standard with two consoles to control them, one front and one rear. The climate controls now feature touch-sensitive surfaces to control ventilation, cabin and seat climate and even the new fragrance system, which has eight different scents and three intensity settings. There will also be the typical Bluetooth connectivity and streaming as standard, but will now feature a second microphone to optimize hands free connectivity for the front passenger. A universal phone holder is also mounted in the center console, which will feature wireless charging and an LED battery status indicator.
New to the G12 7 Series are the Luxury Seating Comfort and Rear Executive Lounge Seating packages. The former gives the 7 Series heated and ventilated rear seats as well as heated front and rear armrests. A removable 7 inch Touch Command Tablet will be mounted in the rear armrest which will control all of the climate, seating, seat massage and lighting controls for the rear passengers.
The massaging seats offer 8 programs, each with three different levels of intensity, with one of them being a Vitality Program which engages active training to revitalize the rear passengers over long journeys. The Rear Executive Lounge Seating offers the rear passengers the ability to recline their seats up to 42.5 degrees. To offer even more room, the front seat can be moved forward, the front headrest folded down and a fold-out footrest can be found on the front seatback, all controlled electronically from the Touch Command Tablet. It also comes with a Rear Entertainment System, which features electronically adjustable screens on the front seatbacks, a fold-out table, two cupholders and a storage compartment all in the center armrest. The Touch Command Tablet can also be used to browse the internet, play audio and video files and be used as a game console, all via an internal WIFi connection.
The 7 Series also comes with standard Ambient Lighting, providing indirect illumination in the rear of the instrument panel, door beltlines, map pockets, front seatbacks and footwells. There will be six different color options, controllable through the iDrive system. LED Light Carpets are incorporated into the side skirts to produce graphics on the entrance and exit of the vehicle. With the optional sunblinds for the rear comes an Ambiance Light Pillar, which are vertically arranged lightbars on the interior B Pillars to illuminate the rear compartment. Intensity can be adjusted through contact sensors on the lightbars or through the iDrive or Touch Command Tablet.
The real beauty of the rear of the cabin comes by way of the two-section Panoramic Moonroof. The optional Panoramic Sky Lounge LED Roof creates a night sky effect in the glass by emitting light, from LED Modules along the sides, spread evenly across the glass. There are etchings in the moonroof which, when illuminated at night, create the effect of a starlit sky and is available in six different color schemes. This creates a serene night sky feel as you lounge in your infinitely adjustable and massaging seats, all while listening to the wonderful Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround sound system. The B&W system features 16 partially illuminated speakers featuring Kevlar midrange speakers, three unique diamond tweeters with Nautilus technology, 10 channel amplifier, 1,400 watts and a Rohacell central bass subwoofer.The amount of technology and luxury features in the new 7 Series is dizzying. It’s incredible how BMW was able to fit this much forward thinking and innovation into one vehicle. The computing power in the new 7 Series must be equal to that of NASA’s Mars Rover. It’s simply staggering to behold and beautiful to admire. The interior of the 7 Series is a masterpiece and one befitting of BMW’s flagship car. Only time will tell whether or not it can trump the luxurious interior of the current S Class, but if I were a betting man, I’d place my bet on the Bavarians.