BMW promises "the ultimate driving experience", and its stable of luxury vehicles — the new BMW M760Li included — undeniably deliver it on the open road. But for most people, everyday driving doesn't involve endless stretches of pristine highways or aggressively serpentine mountain passes; it consists of stop-and-start city traffic while fielding calls, listening to music, and navigating. BMW was thus faced with a dilemma: how to create the ultimate driving experience out of the most rote, frustrating part of the day. The answer to that head-scratcher lies in the cabin of the BMW M760Li.
The luxury sedan, BMW's newest flagship model, offers a tech solution to every problem that might arise throughout the course of one's commute — even before getting into the driver's seat.
Especially for those living in condos, its not at all uncommon to step into the parking garage only to find one's car effectively blocked in by a gracious neighbor who parked too close. The BMW M760Li saves drivers the contortion act of squeezing in while carefully avoiding dinging the guilty vehicle's door. A special display key doubles as a remote control, allowing the owner to safely pull the car out of its parking spot without having to enter at all. And those concerned about their video game skills don't have to worry. Thanks to built in sensors surrounding the entirety of car, it automatically stops to avoid contact with any obstacles.
It wouldn't be much of an experience if the car only pulled itself out of a parking spot. Once on the road, the BMW M760Li's 'Driving Assistant Plus' system demonstrates level 2 autonomous driving capabilities. By activating the system, the car can take control of steering, using the aforementioned sensors to recognize lanes and stay on track. It automatically adjusts speed to stay in step with traffic as well. Driving Assistant Plus can control the vehicle for 45 seconds at a time, but that timer resets whenever the driver touches the steering wheel. As long as drivers stay alert, the car can effectively drive a whole highway trip on its own.
But if the car is doing the majority of the driving, what's left of the driving experience? BMW's come up with a solution thanks to an innovative gesture control system. Naturally, smartphones can connect to the BMW M760Li via Bluetooth, but phone calls, music, and other aspects of the car's display system can be controlled through intuitive gestures like swiping and pointing. A camera hidden in the roof lining scans the area above the gear-shifter, and its accuracy is impressive: it consistently picks up points and swipes with little to no lag. Drivers can even stream music thanks to the car's built-in WiFi hotspot and wirelessly charge their device with the Qi-certified system underneath the dashboard console.
As autonomous driving continues to make headlines and generate buzz in the auto industry and the public at large, and as automakers work to position themselves as tech companies as well as car companies, the M760Li shows that BMW is on the cusp of that shift.