Luxury car aficionados say the BMW 7 Series is the luxury automaker’s “halo car,” and one that rejects the car-on-steroids approach some other European companies take with their high performance vehicles. While Lamborghini and Bugatti push the upper limits of horsepower and conventional speedometers (and the lower limits of fuel economy), BMW instead “opts for comfort, sophistication and technological evolution.”
And this summer, the German carmaker transported a troupe of auto reviewers from Manhattan to the Monticello Motor Club in Upstate New York to show off the new 2016 7 Series. The writers arrived in Monticello by private helicopter, where BMW proceeded to flex its muscles. And the show of force (and wealth) obviously worked. Already, those auto journalists are releasing rave reviews; one representative headline reads, “New 2016 BMW 7 Series Redefines Auto Industry’s Tech Limits.”
Some of those limits have less to do with the auto industry and more to do with safety regulations. For instance, the 2016 model will be the only car on the road with “active gesture control for the infotainment system.” So far, U.S. regulators have pressed the pause button on that feature. There’s also an improved collision avoidance system; a lighter carbon fiber frame; a turbocharged engine with a 320 horsepower punch (or a V8 with 445 horsepower for the 750i); and improved fuel efficiency. Oh, and it parks itself, if you’re into that sort of thing.
“While other makes can automatically parallel park for feeble, undeserving drivers who can’t do it themselves, the 7 Series will park itself in a garage if left in the driveway,” snarked Crave writer John Scott Lewinski. “Once again, U.S. regulators are working this over with the engineers.”
Last year, the auto industry sold about one million luxury automobiles in the United States (defined as any car above $50,000). Positive reviews from the press and an improving economy are helping drive up BMW sales this year. So far, the company has sold 223,348 vehicles in North America alone.