The days of shotguns in the front seat may soon be over thanks to BMW, which has taken rear-seat luxury to a new level in its high-tech £110,000 smart car.
MailOnline took a ride in the new fully electric BMW i7, which has 5G connectivitymood lighting inside and a super-wide ‘theatre screen’ in the back.
The 8K display, which measures 32 x 9 inches, flips out of the sunroof at the touch of a button and streams video from Netflix, YouTube and more.
BMW gave me a lift on my morning drive through west London – a welcome alternative to the cramped and temperamental subway.
BMW i7, part of the legendary Series 7 range, features 5G connectivity, interior ambient lighting and a theater screen in the rear seat
The proudest feature of the new vehicle is the theater screen, which is really super wide at 32×9 inches
BMW i7 Series: specifications
Current: Fully electric
Loading time: 34 minutes
Reach: 374 miles
Top speed: 149 mph
Gear: 0-100 km/h in 4.7 seconds
The BMW i7 is a new electric variant of the BMW 7 Series, which has been in production at the German car manufacturer since 1977.
According to the company, the new car redefines luxury “with new levels of electrification, sustainability and digitization.”
It reads: ‘The new BMW 7 Series represents a significant step forward over its acclaimed predecessor, with an innovative specification designed to deliver incredible driving pleasure, unsurpassed long-distance comfort and an advanced digital experience.’
By far the proudest feature is the theater screen, which at 32×9 inches is really super wide, almost shaped like a wooden slat or a surfboard.
As I sat in the back and watched it collapse in front of me, it initially seemed a little too close to my face – probably about three feet away – but I quickly got used to it.
Fortunately, passengers can change the aspect ratio from full screen (32:9) to 21:9 or 16:9, closer to a conventional TV.
The 8K display, which measures 32 inches by 9 inches, flips out of the sunroof at the touch of a button and streams video from Netflix, YouTube and more
Passengers can change the aspect ratio from full screen (32:9) to 21:9 or 16:9, closer to a conventional TV
When passengers are done with the screen, it rotates 90 degrees and nestles securely into the roof, which is made of glass and lets in more natural light than a normal car
BMW sparks controversy over £15/month heated seat subscription
BMW sparked controversy in 2022 when it introduced a heated seat subscription.
BMW’s service charges £15 per month to enable heated front seats, as well as an additional £10 per month to enable the heated steering wheel.
One Twitter user commented, “It’s like buying a laptop with a built-in camera and having to pay the PC company every month to use that camera.”
Another added: “BMW started selling subscriptions for heated seats in their luxury models. I don’t care how rich you are, you’re an idiot if you go along with this.’
For safety reasons, the theater screen is only activated when the rear window blind is lowered.
BMW rightly says that seeing videos through the window would be a dangerous distraction for the cars following.
But this means the driver can’t see behind, so their rear-view mirror becomes useless when theater mode is engaged and they have to rely solely on the two wing mirrors.
I did wonder: is my ride less safe because I watch movies?
I asked the driver about this and he said any new vehicle he has to drive takes some getting used to. I think truck drivers have the same problem.
This is all legitimate, of course – UK law states that all vehicles must have at least two mirrors giving a view of the rear of the vehicle.
The huge ‘theatre’ display is a touchscreen, but can also be operated with a small screen the size of a smartphone that is built into my passenger door handle (there is also one on the other passenger side).
From here I can pull down the theater screen and select apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, ITVX and more – just like a smart TV at home.
Although my ride was early in the day, I’m sure a night ride when it’s dark outside would really make it more cinematic, especially with a bucket of popcorn, like a movie theater on wheels.
I can only imagine bombing the highway with a stock of fast food from a gas station while watching the latest movie on Amazon Prime – bliss.
When I’m done, the screen rotates 90 degrees and nestles snugly into the roof, which is made of glass, letting in noticeably more natural light than a normal car.
Touch screen displays for operating the car’s functions are built into the handles of both passenger doors
From the back seat, passengers can change the radio station, pair a phone to make calls, close the blinds and more
The control screen in the passenger door also lets me choose different ambient settings, each of which shines softly colored lights and makes soothing sounds.
Every time my driver puts his foot on the accelerator, I hear a burst of noise – again, something that I think must get pretty annoying to him after a while, though he doesn’t seem to mind.
From the backseat I can change the radio station, link my phone to make calls and close the blinds without activating the theater screen.
A center armrest has a smartphone charging pad so I can supercharge my phone while I watch a little YouTube.
My seat is soft and plush and heated from the bottom up. I can also control the overall temperature with ‘climate mode’.
The BMW i7 accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.7 seconds thanks to two electric motors: one drives the front wheels and the other the rear wheels.
I’ve never been in an all-electric car before and the ride is incredibly quiet and smooth (perhaps too quiet for comfort, some might say).
At £110,000, the car is clearly designed for wealthy people who like to be driven to work
All too soon I’m at the MailOnline offices and have to hit the cold London street from the comfort of the backseat.
I could certainly get used to being driven to work every morning. Unfortunately, the £110,000 car is clearly designed for very wealthy people, so it’s back to the subway for me.
BMW is clearly pushing the boundaries of what a car does, and the i7 seems designed primarily for passenger comfort, but at the expense of driver comfort?
I hope not, because driver comfort is also part of passenger comfort.
Otherwise, the next step for BMW is certainly a bar, full table service and possibly a team of chefs in the boot, for fine dining on the go.
BMW unveils color-changing car at CES 2023 – but says it won’t go on sale
At CES 2023 in January, BMW unveiled a new concept car that flashes in a variety of colors.
The BMW i Vision Dee was unveiled during BMW’s keynote address, featuring none other than the Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The electric car sports sedan uses electronic ink to transition between 32 colors, including purple, pink, yellow, white and red.
The body of the BMW i Vision Dee is divided into ‘microcapsules’ – small spherical particles with a diameter equal to the thickness of a human hair.
The electric car sports sedan uses electronic ink to transition between 32 colors, including purple, pink, yellow, white and red
These microcapsules contain color pigments that, depending on the chosen setting, are stimulated by means of an electric field.
As a result, certain color pigments collect on the surface of each microcapsule, giving the car body the desired shade.
BMW i Vision Dee can also project an image of the driver’s avatar onto the side window, visible to outsiders.
And dimmable windows can also be used to ‘blur out’ reality, although this is designed for when the car isn’t being driven.
However, BMW told MailOnline that the car is just a prototype and it would not be marketing it.
Asked about the purpose of a color-changing car, BMW said it is “a vision of the distant future.”
“At BMW, we are always trying to push boundaries, which also means exploring all aspects of innovative materials,” said a spokesman.