WITHReally little display: That is the first impression when you have made yourself comfortable in the 7-series BMW, which was modernized in 2019, and took a look at the infotainment equipment. In contrast, Mercedes-Benz with its Mbux system has huge displays, and Audi also drives significantly more in the A8 and A6 than the Bavarians in their luxury-class flagship.
The digital instrument cockpit with a diagonal of 12.3 inches is located behind the steering wheel, and to the right of it the on-board monitor is only 10.25 inches firmly fixed on the dashboard. That doesn’t look like much at first. But compared to Mbux, I immediately like the more subtle, restrained design with fine menus and clear structures. The nerd is not addressed here, but the frequent driver who wants to be distracted as little as possible on the go.
Like its rivals in the luxury class, BMW also relies on the principle that there are many ways to get to your destination. The on-board monitor is touch-sensitive, so you can tap the symbols with your finger, it recognizes gestures and reacts to the approach of the hand. After a few days, we liked the control element best that Mercedes and Audi have banned from the interior: the controller next to the selector lever of the automatic transmission, which can be turned, pressed and pushed. It allows precise work with minimal distraction.
Then speech recognition. As with Mercedes, it surpasses itself, so not only recognizes commands relating to navigation and telephony, but also becomes a personal assistant who can be addressed with “Hey BMW”. Thankfully, BMW dispenses with some antics and allows meaningful queries, for example to explain how the high-beam assistant and other vehicle functions work. The assistant not only saves regularly driven routes and destinations, but the personalization goes so far that you can create “if then” links such that the steering wheel heating is always switched on when the outside temperature falls below a specified value. As with Siri and the like, personal relationships can be saved: Who are father, mother, brother or sister? In this way, the assistant records more natural language formulations.
The automated window lifter also works with personalization: if a certain activation point, determined by its GPS position, is approached at a speed of less than 10 km / h, the window opens automatically. Very practical, for example, when entering the underground car park, if you have to legitimize entry with an NFC card.
A maximum of 20 seconds before and after an accident
First seen: the 7 Series BMW has a dashcam installed. The “Drive Recorder” uses the cameras of the assistance systems and records videos of the entire vehicle environment. In the event of an accident, the records can be used in court. The length of the recordings can be configured in the menu, up to a maximum of 20 seconds before and 20 seconds after an accident. The integrated dashcam can also be started manually, for example to pick up a shovel. The video material can then be found in the “Saved recordings” folder. The recorder is also available for other BMWs.
This also applies to the camera-based attention recognition: The camera is located at the top of the instrument cockpit between the rev counter and the speedometer. It evaluates the driver’s attention by recording the position of the head and the eyes. If you drive with active cruise control and have to wait in front of a traffic light, the assistant automatically accelerates when it is “green”, provided the driver is actually looking ahead at the road. If you are uncomfortable with the whole thing, you can turn off the camera.
As with other upper-class systems, the display on the on-board monitor can be configured. As with a smartphone, you can create several screen pages and store your own content with small tiles for quick access. If you get involved with the latest version of the iDrive for some time, you will easily find that basically nothing is missing. In the 7 Series BMW, almost everything important is part of the standard equipment. The two displays including telephony, navigation and entertainment, voice control and the personal assistant are included ex works. The same goes for the 4G cellular module, a WiFi hotspot, remote control of some functions via app and smartphone integration. Even the huge head-up display with its excellent and clear presentation is part of the standard equipment. However, other functions can only be used free of charge for three years.
If you are looking for additional extras, we recommend the comfort seats with massage function (500 to 2200 euros) or the sound package from Bowers & Wilkins, which is offered with 16 speakers and a ten-channel amplifier with 1400 watts at prices between 4400 and 5700 euros .