Town & Country (Philippines) - - CONTENTS / JUNE -

BMW’s sixth gen­er­a­tion 7 Se­ries.

As the mind-blow­ing, nos­tal­gia-in­duc­ing first sea­son of the Net­flix se­ries Stranger

Things ended last year, I found that there was only one thing about it that re­ally both­ered me. As a long­time BMW fa­natic who did grow up in the 1980s, I found it sur­pris­ing that Steve Har­ring­ton, the show’s typ­i­cal ’80s bratty rich kid jerk with pouffy hair, wasn’t driv­ing the highly cov­etable 325, from the yup­pie fa­vorite E30 3 Se­ries line, seen in sev­eral scenes. It was af­ter all, among the cars of choice of that gen­er­a­tion’s stars, in­clud­ing An­drew McCarthy in Pretty in Pink and Char­lie Sheen in Wall

Street. In­stead, Steve drove a 733i from 1983, from the 7 Se­ries’ first gen­er­a­tion. As BMW’s flag­ship, this wasn’t a car that young teens or even ju­nior ex­ec­u­tives drove, it was—and still is—meant for the big shots, the lead­ers of busi­ness and in­dus­try, those who had truly ar­rived. This lit­tle de­tail, triv­ial to most, got to me, but a friend pointed out the ob­vi­ous. Steve was prob­a­bly bor­row­ing his dad’s car, most likely sneak­ing it out. Of course.

As the wave of ’80s nos­tal­gia con­tin­ues to wash over us, the sixth-gen­er­a­tion BMW 7 se­ries is a re­minder of how spe­cial the flag­ship line is, hav­ing be­come a by­word for lux­ury, per­for­mance, and com­fort. With each it­er­a­tion came ground­break­ing in­no­va­tions and top-of-the-line fea­tures. Re­mem­ber the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion, on the road from 1986 to 1994, which had built-in tele­phones and fax ma­chines? It also in­tro­duced the “L” model des­ig­na­tion, cur­rently avail­able in the 740Li and 750Li cars, which stands

for lang, Ger­man for “long,” mark­ing the car as a limou­sine or long-wheel­base model for ex­tra legroom in the rear. The 7-Se­ries’ most rad­i­cal re­design came in 2002. At the time, the mod­ern­ized, ag­gres­sive styling shocked BMW’s more tra­di­tional cus­tomers, but it bravely paved the way for­ward, lead­ing to to­day’s quite hand­some model.

Now making use of a new man­u­fac­tur­ing process, the cur­rent 7 Se­ries shaves up to 130 kilo­grams off from the pre­vi­ous model, lead­ing to im­proved num­bers in fuel econ­omy and ac­cel­er­a­tion. Pow­ered by a straight six-cylin­der en­gine de­liv­er­ing 326hp, the 740Li, the top model of­fered in the Philip­pines (the 750iL is avail­able through spe­cial or­der), goes from 0 to 100 kph in 5.5 sec­onds, im­pres­sive for a car of this size. As this is a BMW, its top speed fig­ures haven’t changed, as for years the Ger­man car­maker has set a self-im­posed speed limit of 250kph on the ve­hi­cles it pro­duces. Just think of it as more time on the road to en­joy the car’s fea­tures, and there are plenty.

For many years, “the Ul­ti­mate Driv­ing Ma­chine” was BMW’s slo­gan. While it might still hold true, the best seats are in the rear, es­pe­cially in the “L” ver­sions with their elec­tron­i­cally con­trolled lounge-style seats. A prime op­tion is get­ting the 20-way seats, which fea­ture power ad­justable head­rests, thigh ex­ten­sions, and lum­bar and shoul­der sup­port for the ul­ti­mate in com­fort. It’s re­ally quiet in­side the cabin, and the air sus­pen­sion and adap­tive dampers fur­ther iso­late you from the world out­side. En­ter­tain­ment op­tions are con­trolled through BMW’s Touch Com­mand, a 7-inch tablet built into the rear cen­ter arm­rest, which al­lows you to play your mu­sic and videos, and to set the cabin am­bi­ent light­ing. If you’re in the driver’s seat, you can also con­trol these with ei­ther the highly im­proved iDrive sys­tem, voice com­mands, or the newly de­vel­oped “Ges­ture Con­trol.” With this, you don’t have to touch any­thing, just wave, swipe, or twist your fin­gers in front of the dash­board panel to con­trol var­i­ous car fea­tures or zoom into nav­i­ga­tional maps. If you liked Mi­nor­ity Re­port, this might be your sort of thing, but the solid knobs and in­creased in­tu­itive­ness of the iDrive seem more prac­ti­cal. Then again, it just might take some get­ting used to. As to the car’s look, we loved it right from the start.

By Pierre A. Calasanz

t&C BoSSInG ARounD From top: In­side the “Ex­ec­u­tive Lounge”; the 6th gen­er­a­tion 7 Se­ries. opposite: the panoramic moon roof; con­trol­ling the touch Com­mand; demon­strat­ing ges­ture con­trol.

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