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How BMW soft-close doors work

By FaezClutchless on 10 Sep 2012

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One undesirable thing that many of us car owners hate is the slamming of our car doors. Sometimes, they are slammed so hard that we could almost hear the car cry. This could make people go nuts and at times we just have to tell everyone in the car to gently close the door.

Automotive technologies nowadays have evolved so fast that new and innovative systems see daylight every day to make our lives easier. BMWs soft-close system was first introduced on the 7-Series in the early 2000s. Basically, the technology is aimed at car owners who dont want to see their doors getting slammed, providing a much more gentle way to address the process of door closing.

The idea behind this feature is pretty simple; why close the doors real hard when the car can take that of this for you? Simply close any of the four doors lightly and the system will automatically take it over for you. Let us see how it works.

A sensor is involved in the system. Whenever someone closes the door and if it is not done hard enough, the sensor detects it. The sensor detects your attempt to close the door and once the latch catches the handle, an electric motor is turned on (an electric motor is installed for every single door, plus for the trunk if it's remotely controlled).

The electric motor has the task to pull the door firmly, with a noise that can be barely noticed. Obviously, all door locks are brought to the original position, and you can always open the door at any moment. Manually, that is. If someone pushes the door hard enough to close just like a regular one, the soft-close system still works. But only to check whether the door was properly closed.

As mentioned above, the soft-close system was first installed in the 7-Series; which seems just about right given the fact that this particular model is one of the most expensive model in the entire BMW line-up. It was regarded like a feature more appropriate for luxurious cars.

There are advantages and disadvantages for the system. Let start with the advantages first. The most obvious advantage is that the door automatically closes which means that you don't have to repeatedly open and close the door just to make sure it's properly shut.

Next, imagine if you have young children or elderly folks who aren't strong enough to close the door. All they need to do is to simply push the door gently and the system will take care of the rest.

Lastly, such systems reduce the wear and tear that could appear due to the hard closing of the door. And also, it gives a luxury feel to your car.

Now let us take a look at the disadvantages of such a system.

Not everyone would enjoy such a system and the main reason is the price. BMW offers the soft-close system as part of a larger feature package and it depends on the market.

Additionally, there are cases where the electric motors do not work anymore and they need replacing (more money spending). But we must understand that the motors do a lot of work, especially because they also check if the doors are closed properly even when you push them hard enough to close completely.

There are also some who claimed that the motors are not really silent and they emit an unpleasant noise and there are also reports of the system working even though the doors are completely open.

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Written by FaezClutchless
Some say that his blood is actually RON98 petrol and some say that his right foot weighs over 20kg. But all that we know about Faez is that he loves to drive and is a JDM enthusiast.

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Viceroymenthol Sep 11 2012 08:02 PM
Just to add, soft close doors or power-assisted closing doors were standard equipment on the Mercedes S Class W140 as early as 1990, a good 12 years before the E65/66 7 series had it.
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