2016 BMW 7-Series gets carbon fiber, gesture control

BMW\'s latest 7-Series sedan is a technological tour de force.

BMW has pulled the veil on its all-new, and decidedly high-tech, sixth-generation 7-Series sedan.

Not to be outdone by Mercedes-Benz and its S-Class, BMW has crammed its newest 7-Series with the latest high-tech gadgets, including the world's first application of gesture control in a production vehicle. As the name implies, the system uses 3D sensors mounted in the car's center stack to pick up on the driver's gestures. Those pre-determined movements are then turned into commands, such as lowering the radio volume or rejecting an incoming phone call. It's also possible to program a customized gesture for a unique command, such as setting the navigation for your home address. BMW's Gesture Control is standard across all 7-Series models.

Other high-tech features include a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and touch-sensitive climate controls.

BMW also went high-tech in the 7-Series' construction. The flagship sedan is made from a mixture of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP), aluminum and steel. Thanks to those advanced materials, the new 7er is up to 190 pounds lighter than its predecessor, despite growing an inch in overall length.

Here in the U.S., the new 7-Series, which will be offered exclusively in long-wheelbase form, will be sold as the 740i and the 750i xDrive. A plug-in hybrid called the 740e xDrive will also be available.

The 740i will make use of a revised twin-turbocharged 3.0L inline-six engine. The new motor is tuned to produce 320 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque which, when combined with the 7's lighter weight, yields a 0-60 run of just 5.4 seconds.

The up-level 750i xDrive employs a 4.4L turbocharged with 445 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque on tap. It can scoot from 0-60 in 4.3 seconds.

The 740e xDrive plug-in hybrid pairs a turbocharged 2.0L gas engine with an electric motor. Specific power figures weren't given, but BMW says the 740e xDrive can hits speeds up to 75mph and travel for about 23 miles on battery power alone.

All 7-Series model are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission that uses the vehicle's on-board GPS to determine the right gear for the terrain. BMW's Rolls-Royce luxury division has been using the technology for several years now.

On the styling front, the 2016 7-Series looks similar to the model currently on sale in BMW showrooms. The flagship sedan does, however, receive updated lights, a bigger kidney grille and a sharper-raked C-pillar.

The interior is a similar story, with no radical changes to note.

Pricing for the 2016 BMW 740i will start from $81,300 while the 750i xDrive will list from $97,400. Both prices exclude a mandatory and undetermined destination charge. Pricing information has not been revealed for the 740e xDrive.

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