BMW's new 7 Series includes gesture controls

BMW unveils new 7 Series
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.

Super luxury SUVs
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.

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