The US-spec 2016 BMW 7 Series is gorged with enough technology for it to qualify as a finalist in our Technology of the Year award. But not all of the tricky bits found on the European-spec car are offered Stateside, like the automated Park Assistant Plus that lets a driver remotely move the car into and out of a parking space using the touchscreen keyfob. The reason is Section S5.3 of Standard No. 114 of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, which dictates that “the service brake… be depressed before the transmission can be shifted out of park.'” Since Park Assistant Plus is remote controlled, the brake pedal isn’t pressed when the car shifts from Park into a gear.
Automobile reports that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has conceded the law is too vague, and granted BMW’s request for an exemption to bring the convenience feature to the US. NHTSA said that the point of the law was to have brake actuation during the transition from Park to a forward or reverse gear, not to insist that someone actually presses the brake pedal. BMW said it plans to bring Park Assistant Plus to the US soon, but the carmaker doesn’t yet have a firm timeline for the move.