As with all modern BMWs, the 7 Series has a chassis configuration aimed at balancing ride comfort with a dynamic driving experience. A 50:50 weight distribution and the extensive use of lightweight materials throughout the car provide a good foundation. Building on this are a raft of active chassis and safety systems that further enhance the experience.
Standard on all BMW 7 Series variants is a double wishbone front suspension with an Integral V rear suspension configuration. Long wheelbase cars supplant the Integral V rear axle with an air suspension for greater rear passenger ride comfort. In addition to this every vehicle features Drive Dynamic Control that offers four distinct set-ups of Comfort, Normal, Sport and Sport+. At the touch of a button the driver can alter the gear change, throttle response, degree of power steering assistance, damper settings and the Dynamic Stability Control+ programme.
Building on the standard chassis configuration are a number of optional features. Integral Active Steering allows all four wheels of the car to be steered. This improves the turning circle at slower speeds while offering a more composed ride at higher speeds. In a world first, Speed Limit Display uses a forward-facing camera to scan road signs and display the current speed limit to the driver. The system even recognises variable speed warnings in road works. Lane Departure Warning shares the same camera as Speed Limit Display to monitor road markings and warn the driver if they are in danger of straying out of lane.
Lane Change Warning provides a rearward-facing safety blanket courtesy of two sensors situated in the bumper. The system alerts the driver to any vehicle that may be in a blind spot. The BMW 7 Series can also be specified with the world's first Night Vision system with individual pedestrian recognition. Not only does the latest Night Vision scan the road 300 metres ahead it is now able to warn the driver if a pedestrian is likely to walk into the path of the car. Side View cameras and Head-up Display are two further safety features that are segment firsts.Published 14 November 2008