Meet the next BMW 7-Series

22 April, 2014 | by Vijay Pattni

This is the BMW Vision Future Luxury concept. Because this name takes a very long time to write, we’ll save time and call it the next 7-Series. Which it is, just about.

The VFLC is a flagship, über-posh four-door saloon unveiled at the Beijing Motor Show and demonstrating where BMW wants to go in the realm of ‘modern luxury’. This involves the use of über-cool suicide doors. And some very clever monocoque tech.

See, BMW has employed carbon as an underlying layer in the construction of the VFL, with the black stuff visible in the doors, under the seats and in what remains of the B-pillar.

The seat frames – seat frames! – are integrated into the load-bearing structure, allowing the use of a very small B-pillar, which in turn allows the fitment of backwards-opening rear doors.

The 7′s form has been hand-modelled – because a computer could never understand the ‘emotional appeal’, apparently – with a coupe-like roofline, internal air channeling in the C-pillar, rear apron openings to vent air from the wheel arches and the use of lightweight materials.

The kidney grille appears to have swallowed a gallon of protein juice (it’s now huge), while the headlamps use BMW’s new ‘laserlight’ tech. They’re ten times more intense than LEDs, eat up less energy and give a better range.

Inside, there’s a base layer of carbon fabric, followed by a level of interface components, and then a load-bearing layer of aluminium. Literally topping things all off is wood and leather to give a ‘comfortable ambience’.

The dash is similarly astonishing, too. It features a driver-centric cockpit with that lovely swooping dashboard, a 3D display with the left side giving vehicle information, and the right side additional infotainment stuff.

The head-up display projects information directly into the driver’s line of sight on the road, which is, quite frankly, brilliant. Front passengers even get their own information display too, with a touch-sensitive panel to use for things like buying opera tickets (BMW’s example, not ours).

The personalisation theme continues in the back, where the two rear seats each their own display, set in carbon surrounds and with a detachable tablet able to communicate with the interface up front. The rear seats themselves are surrounded by wood surfaces, lighting slats and the finest leather BMW could get its hands on.

With a new 7-Series expected next year, this concept is a clear demonstration of where BMW’s heading with its luxury saloon. We’re excited. Are you?

     

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