Forget about power, torque, or acceleration figures, the latest arms race between German carmakers is all about screens.

    Audi fired the first shot with the tri-screen setup in its A8 sedan flagship, and Mercedes-Benz escalated the conflict with the MBUX Hyperscreen in the upcoming EQS electric limousine. Now, BMW is taking the fight to its rivals on a new front: the back seats.

    Debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the BMW Theatre Screen is likely to make its debut in the next-generation 7 Series and its electric i7 sibling – although in what form isn’t clear.

    It’s a 31-inch display with what BMW describes as “smart TV functions”, 5G connectivity, and a peak resolution of up to 8K.

    The display folds out of the headliner at the push of a button, at which point roller sun blinds descend and the ambient rear lighting is dimmed for a proper Gold Class experience.

    Its angle is adjustable, and the cinematic screen is backed by a Bowers and Wilkins surround sound system.

    Driving the display is Amazon Fire TV, which will allow passengers to access content online or watch downloaded media from the back seats.

    BMW isn’t alone in turning to Amazon for its in-car entertainment; the Jeep Wagoneer will use Fire TV for streaming, as will cars from Ford and Lincoln.

    Streaming options are being developed for markets such as China, where some media is blocked.

    It’s not just the rear seat of the upcoming 7 Series and i7 we’re expecting to go hard on screens. Following in the footsteps of the electric iX SUV, it’s expected to feature a curved 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 14.9-inch touchscreen infotainment display.

    This eighth-generation 7 Series will offer internal-combustion and plug-in hybrid powertrains, plus an electric version set to wear the i7 nameplate.

    MORE: Everything BMW 7 Series

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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