No feature in BMW's new 7-Series is receiving quite the attention as one allowing you to adjust the passenger seat from the center control stack. Maybe it's because of the possibly chauvinistic name. It's called the "Gentleman Function." Really.
The "Gentleman Function" is an option in the iDrive directory under front seats which allows the driver to take control of the passenger side front seat. Any adjustment you can make on the driver's seat can be done on the passenger seat but with the driver doing the... er, driving. The feature may at first seem overly gimmicky, and the naming convention chauvinistic, but after a call to BMW, the feature makes perfect sense. Well, at least in a German kind of way.
In the previous version of the 7-Series, front seat control was done with a panel of buttons on the center console, so either front seat passenger could push the memory preselects, with the latest 7er, the memory panel is on the drivers door, with access for the driver alone. Gentleman Function lets you first of all make it easier for front seat passengers to get in, should they need assistance, however, since the biggest Bimmer is as much factory limo as luxo-barge, it's not just about catering to the front seat passengers. It's just as likely, if not more, that the Gentleman Function will come in handy for rear seat passenger side entrants. if you're chauffeuring and the passenger needs a touch more leg room (only a problem imaginable in the regular wheelbase 7) it would come in handy for moving the passenger seat forward.
As to the term "Gentleman Function," well, "passenger seat control" wouldn't be precise enough because it's also for helping the rear seat out. So since that doesn't make too much sense, BMW staff tell us it's thought the term came out of a translation from German, where only the men drive big Bimmers.
OK, so it's still totally chauvinistic.