Category: Tech

Driven: BMW’s new 7 Series

The art of luxury: BMW’s new 7 Series

In the world of art, artists often use their works to reveal what thoughts and feelings are going on in their creative minds. Their art becomes a means of communication between the viewer and themselves and how the artist wants to be perceived. For well acclaimed artists there is often that one work that most people remember them for. This work acts as a flagship for the artist, regarded as their best by the public. If cars were viewed the same way artworks are, the F-luxury segment would surely be regarded as the “pièce de résistance” for all car makers who participate in that segment. For BMW, the 7 Series has occupied that role as the flagship vehicle for the manufacturer.  After seven years, the outgoing 7 Series has been laid to rest and a new model has taken over the reign.

One word comes to mind when looking at the length of the car, the elongated nose and of course, the large chrome kidney grille. That word is presidential. Simplicity was of upmost importance when designing the car and it worked well to create an appealing shape that is both modern and classic.

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The most visually appealing exterior package is what BMW calls Design Pure Excellence. Chrome inserts around the whole vehicle and large shiny wheels make a statement that this is indeed a luxury car. The previous car had an understated look to it that was overshadowed by the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Now with the new 7 Series, you can park the vehicle next to the current S-Class and battle to choose one, because they both have that parliamentary look to them.

One automatically expects to see drivers in black suits standing outside the vehicle, waiting to open doors for you. Interestingly, that is exactly what happened on the last leg of our journey in the car when we were chauffeured to the airport. This allowed us to envision a life as a one of the “one percent” and it helped us draw the conclusion that the back seat of the new BMW 7 Series is one of its most prominent features.

The blend of technology, beauty and comfort come together to create such a good experience you wouldn’t mind being driven in your 7 series all the time. Optional electrically adjustable seats, rear entertainment screens and a detachable centre tablet would undoubtedly keep you very entertained until you reached your destination.

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Should you wish to drive the car yourself, you wouldn’t be sorry. Large vehicles have a tendency to make the driver very aware of the mass that is being controlled by their hands. This is not the case in  the new 7 Series. The loss of 130 kg’s due to BMW’s Carbon Core design has made the new car feel nimble, direct and malleable enough to easily navigate through corners at high speeds. From a dynamic point of view, BMW’s formula has not changed in the new 7 Series. The biggest difference between this car and the one it succeeds are the technological advancements that have been made.

Semi autonomous driving is something BMW have taken very seriously in the new car. The best part is that it actually works. Small steering inputs can be felt at each corner, breaking is applied and acceleration too when Steering and Lane Control assist is activated as well as Adaptive Cruise Control. Having these two assists on whilst on an open road allow you to enjoy your music ever more so through speakers supplied by Bowers and Wilkins or Harman Kardon, the choice is yours.

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Obviously you can’t enjoy your sound system if your ride quality is poor. Hence why BMW have equipped the new 7 Series with various suspension damping settings. The double air suspension in the car allows you to toggle between two Sport Modes, two Comfort Modes and a completely new Adaptive Mode that adjusts itself between a sporty and comfortable driving setting depending on how you’re driving.

Another very exciting feature in the new 7 Series is the Smart Key. The larger than normal key features a small colour screen that informs the driver of some useful information about the car. Don’t you hate it when you enter a car that has been sitting in the sun for a few hours? 7 Series owners won’t have to worry about that since the Smart key allows the driver to activate the fan before you enter into the car. Fuel range and other information can be seen by the driver long before they enter the car. The coolest feature available in the Smart key is Remote Parking. One can reverse their vehicle out of a parking lot without physically being in the car. Unfortunately South African specified vehicles do not have that feature available yet, but be prepared to see it in the near future.

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The next few months will also bring us the most exciting power plant in the range, the 750i/750Li. At the launch we had available the 730d and the 740i, both extremely capable engines that never left us longing for more power or torque. So why would the 750i be necessary you may wonder? For the level of client buying a car like this, it’s often a case of having the best. So even though the 240kW/450Nm in the 740i may be enough power, or the 650Nm/195kW in the 730d may do the job,  having 330kW/650Nm in the 750i make the world of a difference when it comes to driving the best.

BMW as the artist in our illustration want us to see that technology is at the forefront of their new cars. Using technologies from their i-Products and incorporating them in all their cars is something we can expect to see in the future. At the same time BMW wants us to see that they have not lost sight of the dynamic aspects of their cars, even with a large car like the 7 Series. This car or “work” is an opportunity to show-off the brand to customers. It’s to show us where the future of BMW is going whilst keeping elements of the car that made customers fall in love with the brand in the past.

Have they executed their vision through this “artwork” effectively? After spending some time in the front seat, driving the car fast and slow as well as using many of its technologies. And then to change roles and be driven in the rear of the car and imagine what life would be like as a back seat passenger. We can definitely say that the new 7 Series is BMW’s Mona Lisa.

Pricing:

730d:  R 1 356 500

740i:   R 1 339 000

750i:   R 1 755 000

750Li: R 1 893 500

 

 

Five new features in the new Jaguar XF.

What you can expect in the new Jaguar XF.

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The Jaguar XF was the first car in the brand to feature the modern lines we see in many new Jaguars today. Since its initial launch in 2007, the car has undergone some facelifts, making it look sleeker than what it already was. Now 2016 brings us a new XF in South Africa and you can expect to see these interesting new features in the car.

  • Jaguar’s new InControl infotainment touch screen system: This system features Bluetooth, USB and a feature called JaguarVoice.
  • Head-up display: This is a first for the Jaguar XF and it will feature useful information that will be projected to the drivers line of sight via the windscreen.

 

  • LED Bi-Xenon headlights: All XF models will feature this light design. Like it’s younger sibling the XE, the XF will have the beautiful  “J” design LED light strips.

 

  • Lane Keep Assist & Driver Conditioning Monitoring: These safety features are extremely important especially on the long trips that many XF drivers will be doing. The Lane Keep Assist stops the car from veering into another lane and the Driver Conditioning Monitoring will warn drivers and encourage them to take needed rests during a long trip.
  • Pedestrian Contact Sensing: The new Jaguar XF doesn’t only have the driver’s safety in mind, but the pedestrians too. The Pedestrian Contact Sensing feature uses air-bags to lift the bonnet in the unfortunate event of hitting a pedestrian. This will reduce the injury to the pedestrian upon impact.

Besides all these new technologies, the new Jaguar XF features some sharp lines, an aggressive front grille and large interior space. This car comes in at the right time as Mercedes will launch its E-Class soon and BMW will launch its 5 Series later this year too.

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iPad Pro: What is it like to live with?

The new iPad Pro : Hands on review.

A better name for the new iPad would probably be the “iPad Juice”, because Apple have really pumped some steroids into this one. I’ve been using the new iPad for a month now. Do I like it? I love it.

First of all, this new iPad Pro is rather large, so if you only plan on reading books, checking your email and feeding your Jelly Splash addiction, then this is not the iPad for you. On the other hand if you’re a designer, photographer or something along those lines, or if you frequently work on the move then you might want to carry on reading.

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In the case of the iPad Pro, size does matter and the 13inch retina screen makes the world of a difference. Add 4gb ram and faster processer to that and you quickly realize that it’s a dream to work on.

It feels light in the hands and not cumbersome at all, it handles Raw photographic files very well and with virtually no lag, Adobe’s new line of design apps work really well too. I’ve also been typing Word documents on this device using the onscreen keyboard. Now I’ve heard a few people say that it isn’t that great, but interestingly I’ve had no issues and found that it’s a breeze to work on. (Apple Magic Keyboard is also available).

One of the best features on this machine though, is being able to use two apps at the same time. I’ve used this a few times and the screen is definitely big enough to work on both easily. This cuts out the need to change apps when looking for or entering information. As a photographer I didn’t have any use for the new Apple Pencil as that is aimed more at designers and artists, so I have yet to try this nifty  addition out.

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Sadly, as is always the case with Apple, the gear is not cheap. The 128gb Wi-Fi version that I use, set me back around R 16 000. If you want to add the Apple Pencil to your toolbox you will need to budget for another R2000. Yikes. The Apple Magic keyboard designed for the Pro will also set you back another R3500 and the basic Apple covers are not far off that price either. It’s a bit of joke but it’s to be expected. It’s like buying a premium car, you can’t expect budget prices.

Funny enough, the money you will spend on an iPad Pro could also be used to purchase a MacBook. One would seriously need to weigh up your requirements to see what would be the best option. As stated previously, I personally use the iPad Pro to backup and edit Raw files. The transfer speed using the new Apple card reader is also very fast, so for that use it works really well. Apart from that I’ve been writing, reading, emailing, planning and watching a bit of Netflix.

There are also specific apps designed for the iPad Pro and they can make quite a big difference. I still have my iMac in the office for heavy duty work, but for when I’m on the move the iPad Pro is the really the “bee’s knees”(yes I said that).

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