Autos

BMW's new 7 Series includes gesture controls

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BMW unveils new 7 Series

From BMW's perspective, the new 7 Series sedan will take luxury and technology to a whole new level—one that includes gesture controls so drivers can adjust the radio and other in-car systems with a wave of their hand.

"I think people will really get a kick out of it," said Ludwig Willisch, president and CEO of BMW North America. "Just a simple gesture, moving your hand or just pointing two fingers towards the dash, will mean a certain order to the car."

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BMW unveiled the new 7 Series in Munich, Germany, on Wednesday, promising it will set a new standard for the company's flagship sedan. The improvements are noteworthy. Among its features are:

  • A carbon fiber core that helps make the car 190 pounds lighter
  • A new, more efficient V-8 engine with 445 horsepower
  • Adaptive mode, which matches the driving style (sporty or comfortable) to the route being driven
  • Remote controlled parking capabilities

"It is elegant, it's dynamic, it's futuristic, [it] has a lot of innovations," Willisch said. "This is all what BMW is about."

The vehicle is also part of the booming and vastly competitive super-luxury segment of cars and SUVs that sell for more than $75,000. Although sales of sedans over that price are up 13.2 percent this year—more than double the growth in overall auto sales, according to Autodata—buyers also increasingly have more choices.

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Super luxury SUVs

Those include the Tesla Model S, which has an average selling price of $93,000. At Tesla's annual meeting Tuesday, CEO Elon Musk said the Model S is the top-selling high-end premium sedan in North America.

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"We are strong on the West Coast and in the South, but we're not that strong in the Northeast," Musk said. "So there's a lot of potential in the U.S. Northeast."

BMW will start the new 7 Series at $81,300 when it goes on sale this fall. The average selling price is likely to be at least $5,000 higher after buyers customize the vehicle to include the features they want.

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com.