When BMW launched the fourth generation of the 7-series in 2001, they
intended to revolutionise
a luxury car's operation. It seemed they really aimed at controlling
the car by just one button via a menu structure. But customers, and
most of all the press, did not welcome this approach. And, the idea wasn't
something new. In contrast to computers, users have to pay attention
to driving while a graphical interface's usage.
So it is in principle too detracting
for a driver to control a vehicle's most frequently used functions this
way. Although BMW considered this and offered some extra buttons, finally
they went a bit too far; the solution appeared too annoying to many!
The new Seven now has, depending on the number of ordered features, around
50 controls, some more than its predecessor had! And also the gear shift
lever has moved from the steering column back to its old place, the center
The reason for this: It turned out that there were just a few who
liked this! Most were displeased of the relocation. The same for the seat
While the previous model had the switches for that at the sides of the
center console, they are now put back to the seats again.
Regrading the dash, it seems as if they have been in a back-to-the-roots inebriation!
As it was in the old days with BMW cars, and on the Seven before the last one, the center console
is now again angeled towards to the driver. Nonetheless, there is still a lot
that was introduced on the old Seven. For example: The monitor next to the
ments and - however it is now significantly enhanced: The iDrive controlling
Nevertheless, the cockpit of the new model appears more substantial, especially in
contrast to the S-class' fascia which is cleaner and has got some switches less.
But finally the Bimmer provides a more reasonable measure of innovations - necessary to cope
with the number of features - and classic intuitive approaches. Together with some
nice details, e.g. storage space for sunglasses or mobiles behind the wood trim,
Munich have managed to design a respectably luxurious yet easy to use coning
bridge, just as it is worthy a high-class car.
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