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The BMW 750i 'Gentleman function' -- sexist or civilized?

July 28, 2009 | 12:46 pm


A new control called the “Gentleman function” in BMW’s new 750i model has opened the floodgates for heated arguments of the chivalrous advantages as well as the contrary perspective: that the feature is sexist.

The new 2009 7-Series feature is an option in the iDrive directory (under “Front seats”) that allows the driver to adjust the front passenger seat from his or her door, leaving control of the seats to the driver alone. Previous versions of the 7-Series had this function on the center console.

The “Gentleman function” claims to make it easier for front seat passengers to get in, but since the Bimmer is hardly lacking foot-room, it makes more sense that a chauffeuring driver could move the seat up to make more room for rear-seat passengers.

Comments from an article about the car function are worth reading. One reader wrote that it is a way to politely say, “Let me get the seat for you, my dear,” while someone said that political correctness is dead and “women should not be driving BMWs.” We like what another reader wrote, suggesting that the function could be “a way to keep a long legged passenger quiet,” as if saying: “One more comment out of you and I’m sliding your seat forward another inch.”

BMW reps allegedly told that the term may have been translated from German, alluding to the fact that in Germany only men drive big Bimmers.

While it seems bad sportsmanship for BMW to use a “lost in translation” excuse, I’ll argue that the big fuss about such a tiny function -- when that same car has an 8GB hard drive for music, seat massaging, and night vision with pedestrian detection, among other luxury features -- seems a little frivolous too.

-- Kelsey Ramos

Photo: BMW screen setting