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BMW 7 Series (E65): Buying guide and review (2002-2008)

BMW 7 Series (E65): Buying guide and review (2002-2008) Classic and Performance Car
BMW 7 Series (E65) BMW 7 Series (E65) BMW 7 Series (E65) BMW 7 Series (E65) BMW 7 Series (E65) BMW 7 Series (E65) BMW 7 Series (E65)
It’s not unfair to say that the droopy headlights and awkward rear end treatment of the 2002-2008 BMW 7 Series tended to elicit a strong reaction. And generally not a complimentary one. When viewed next to the previous generation model, there was no doubt that the new car was a challenging visual phenomenon. Look at the design today however and it’s clear to see that the Chris Bangle design has aged exceptionally well, like many truly cutting-edge designs. 
 
Moving on from its divisive looks, under the skin the new Seven was a technological tour-de-force, debuting a number of BMW’s latest innovations. It offered a number of firsts in its class, from the i-Drive infotainment system to infinitely variable intake manifolds and active anti-roll bars.
 
In a world where the latest is greatest, nothing depreciates quite like a previous generation luxury car. Once the CEO’s and high-end hotels are done with them they tend to free fall in value, offering fantastic value on the used market. This is potentially great news, but big bills can be lurking around the corner if you’re not careful, so to bag that luxury bargain read through our guide to avoid the usual pitfalls.  
 

Which BMW 7 Series to buy?

 
The increase in demand for top level executive cars at the turn of the century meant that there were a lot more variants of the 7 series to choose from than ever before – from the efficient 730d right up to the range-topping V12 760i, a hydrogen powered model and even a supercharged 493bhp Alpina B7. Standard specification was extensive, and the options list included a number of segment firsts, some of the more desirable ones were keyless go, remote heater activation and multi adjustable ventilated seats front and rear. LWB models offered even more space for rear seat passengers.

The 2005 facelift saw a much improved exterior with revised lights and colour options. The interior received higher quality finishes and an updated iDrive controller. High beam assist and night vision were also offered from 2006. That iDrive controller may be ubiquitous today with a number of manufacturers employing similar systems but it was initially heavily criticised for its clunkiness and received a number of updates to improve usability. Post ‘05 versions are best. 

In general, owners have either had no issues or a great number of them. Early cars had the most teething problems so in a used car context it is best to stick with newer more developed cars, mechanically they tend to be strong and the majority of niggles were ironed out over the years.

For our money, we would stick to the face-lifted post-2005 cars. While the diesels are potentially cheaper to run, it’s the silky smooth V8 petrol variants that we would aim for. A nice 740i or 750i in long wheelbase form on sensible rims could be the ultimate budget friendly luxury limo.
 

Performance and specs

 
BMW 745i (E65)
Engine 4398cc 32 valve DOHC V8 
Power 328bhp @ 6100rpm 
Torque 332lb ft @ 3600rpm
Top speed 155 mph (limited)
0-60mph 6.7 seconds 
Fuel consumption 25.9mpg 
Gearbox Six-speed automatic
 

Dimensions and weight

 
Wheelbase 2990mm
Length 5029mm
Width 1902mm
Height 1492mm
Weight 1945kg
 

Common problems

 
• The condition based servicing system that BMW introduced with the new 7 tended to extend oil change intervals way beyond what would normally be recommended. This could cause issues down the line requiring replacement valve guide seals. Sluggish performance and blue exhaust smoke are the early indicators.
 
• The same applies to the gearboxes which are ‘sealed for life’ units, but will have a greatly increased lifespan with regular oil changes carried out every 60,000 miles.
 
• Diesel engines can suffer damage from inlet manifold swirl flap deterioration. An early sign is a lumpy idle, getting a specialist to give your car a once over could save you a lot down the road. 
 
• Parts are widely available but can be pricey, so walk away from cheap cars with running gear issues. There are a number of specialists who can maintain your car for far less than what the dealer will charge.
 
• Cars with large diameter rims suffer from a harsh ride, non-sports models still handle well and are less prone to cracked wheels.
 
• A number of recalls were carried out, mostly in the first few years of production. Check if your car was affected and whether the work was carried out or not.
 
• It is quite likely that some of the extensive electronic motors and relays powering the seats and other systems will not be functioning correctly after all these years, as repairs can be prohibitive it is best to factor these into your offering price and learn to live with minor niggles. 
 

Model history

 
2002: New E65 7-series launched, initially available in 268bhp 735i and 333bhp 745i flavours. 760i, 740d, 730d and 730i phased in shortly afterwards.
2004: 750i and 745d (not for UK market) introduced
2005: Mid-life face-lift carried out on all models. Much improved exterior looks and upgraded iDrive.
2008: Final year of production for E65 7 Series. Over 343 000 units sold globally making it the most successful 7 series to date.
 

Owners clubs, forums and websites

 
• www.bimmerforums.co.uk – BMW forum 
• www.bmwcarclubgb.uk – BMW UK car club
• www.the7seriesregister.co.uk – 7 Series register
 

Summary and prices

 
Last-of-the-line 2008 model year cars are still upwards of £13,000, but real value is to be found much lower down the price range. Early cars start as low as £2500, this gets you a high mileage 2002 745i, which could either be a massive bargain or a money pit. 
Our preferred choice would be a face-lifted 750Li; £7000 is where good ones start, and while huge mileages are common, the thing to look for is a comprehensive service history. For the bargain hunters, there are many more diesels out there to choose from, and at £5000 a 2006 730d could also make for a great long distance cruiser. The ‘Bangle butt’ 7 Series is a car that improved greatly with age, and a good one can offer many years of cosseting luxury for very little outlay.

Words: John Tallodi
BMW 7 Series (E65) BMW 7 Series (E65) BMW 7 Series (E65) BMW 7 Series (E65) BMW 7 Series (E65) BMW 7 Series (E65) BMW 7 Series (E65)
Last updated: 17th Oct 2016
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BMW 7 Series cars for sale

223 Search results
BMW 7 Series
0 67895 GBP
  • BMW 7 Series

    £54,895 £54,895

    Variant name:730LD M SPORT ,Derivative:G12 ,Variant: 3.0TD 730Ld M Sport (258 BHP)

    • Year: 2016
    • Engine size: 3
    For sale
    Chandlers Group-Chandlers Brighton
    01273 830425 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • BMW 7 Series

    £22,995 £22,995

    Colour SatNav, BMW Professional Hi-Fi, Parking Camera, Heated Seats, Memory Seats Incredible Car with Specification to Match, Latest LCD Cockpit, Professional Navigation, Adaptive LED Headlights with High Beam Assistant, Surround View with Reversing Camera To Make Parking a Breeze, BMW Professional Hi-Fi and More. Great Condition Throughout. Will Be Serviced Prior to Sale, Upgrades - Navigation System - BMW Professional Multimedia, Adaptive LED Headlights, Reversing Assist Camera, Heated Front Seats, Loudspeaker System - BMW Professional, Alloy Wheels - 20in M Double-Spoke Style 303 M, Bootlid Operation Powered, Surround-View, High-Beam Assistant, BMW Individual Piano Black Interior Trim w. Inlay, Standard Features - Auto Start - Stop, Cruise Control with Brake Function, DAB Digital Radio, Air Conditioning, Automatic with Four - Zone Control, Park Distance Control (PDC), Front and Rear, Voice Control, Alarm System (Thatcham 1) with Remote Control, Upholstery - Dakota Leather, Anti - Whiplash Front Head Restraints, On - Board Computer (OBC), Tyre Puncture Warning System (TPWS), Electric Windows - Front and Rear, with Open/Close Fingertip Control, Anti - Trap Facility and Comfort Closing Function All Round, Front Seats Adjustment, Electric with Memory, Bluetooth Hands - Free Facility with USB Audio Interface, BMW Professional Radio with Single CD Player (with MP3 Playback Capability), Metallic Paintwork, Rain Sensor, Auto-Hold Function. 5 seats, Black, FINANCE PACKAGES - With a number of lenders on board we are able to offer packages to suit individual circu

    • Mileage: 59000 mi
    • Engine size: 2993
    For sale
  • BMW 7 Series 1997

    £750 £750

    I've owned this vehicle for over 8 years and it is currently used every day. The car has been very reliable and has good service history. There are some superficial bodywork issues which I have more photos of that can be sent if you are interested. Please call for more information.

    • Mileage: 129775 mi
    • Engine size: 2793
    For sale
  • 2012 BMW 7 Series 730ld SE

    POA POA

    1 PREVIOUS OWNER, FULL BMW SERVICE HISTORY, SAT NAV, FULL PREMIUM LEATHER INTERIOR, LIMO MODEL, HEATED SEATS, MEMORY SEATS FRONT, ELECTRIC SEATS, FRONT AND REAR PARKING SENSORS, FOLDING MIRRORS, REAR BLINDS, SOFT CLOSING BOOT, Bi-Xenon Headlights, Rear Privacy Glass, Key-Less Go, Air Conditioning, Quad Zone Digital Climate Control, Cruise Control, Auto Lights With Auto Dimming, Auto Wipers, Auto Tinting Rear View Mirror, Widescreen BMW i-Drive CD/DAB Stereo System, Bluetooth, Voice Control, Audio Remote, Electric Park Brake, Electric Boot Opening, Isofix Anchor Points, Auto Hold, Comfort/ Comfort Plus, Sport/ Sport Plus Driving Dynamic Modes.

    For sale
  • BMW 7 SERIES 760LI 2006

    £12,990 £12,990

    SPORTS LEATHER STEERING WHEEL, LT/ALY WHEELS WITH MIXED TYRES UTOMATIC TAILGATE OPERATION, GLAS ROOF, ELECTRIC, FLOOR MATS, VELOUR, WARNING TRIANGLE, WOOD TRIM ,SMOKERS PACKAGE ,SEAT, HEATING F DRIVER/FRONT PASSENGER ,SEAT HEATING FOR REAR SEATS , AUTOM. HIGH-BEAM HEADLIGHTS CONTROL ,LUGGAGE-COMPARTMENT EMERG. RELEASE , ADAPTIVE HEADLIGHTS , TV FUNCTION , MONITOR IN ,;BMW ASSIST , BMW ONLINE , VOICE INPUT SYSTEM , PREP.MOB. PH. BUSINESS BLUET.INTERF. DAB TUNER , CD CHANGER BMW FOR 6 CDS , DVD CHANGER FOR 6 DISKS ,AREA-CODE 2 , COUNTRY SPEC. RELEASE OF NAVIGATION , COP CONTROL , ENGLAND VERSION , ADD FUEL TANK FILLING FOR EXPORT , EUROPE/DEALER DIRECTORY , DELETION CROSS-OVER OPERATION , ENGLISH / ON-BOARD DOCUMENTATION , EXTERNAL SKIN PROTECTION, SPECIAL CHECK PRESS VEHICLES

    • Mileage: 42000 mi
    • Engine size: 5.972
    For sale
  • Bmw 7 series

    £24,000 £24,000

    Satellite Navigation, Bluetooth, Voice Control, Heated Seats, Cruise Control, Parking Sensors, Rain-Sensing Wipers, DAB Digital Radio, Xenon Headlamps, Headlamp Jetwash, Front Centre Armrest, Full Leather, Multi-function Steering Wheel, M Sport Bodykit, M Sport Alloys, Sports Seats, Climate Control, Air Conditioning, Push Button Start, Metallic Paintwork, I Drive System, Memory Seats, Auto Lighting, USB Interface, Electric Seats, Rear Spoiler, Brake Assist, Auxiliary In, Child Locks, MP3 Player, Isofix, Radio, Alarm, Stereo, ABS, Immobiliser, Traction Control, Central Locking, Remote Central Locking, Power Steering, Trip Computer, Folding Rear Seats, Adjustable Steering Column, Stability Control, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, Colour Coded Body, Anti-Theft System, Remote Alarm, Head Restraints, Height Adjustable Seat, Rear Headrests, Automatic Electric Windows, Electric Front Windows, Air Bag, Alloy wheels Click on this car for full specification. You can find more photos, enhanced specification, Service history, Log book and the HPI certificate on our web site. For a no obligation test drive, finance quote or part-exchange valuation call us today. This car has been inspected by trained technicians and passed a multi-point inspection. For a hassle, haggle free buying experience and drive away the same day visit Big Motoring World today.Award winning Big Motoring World stocks up to 2,000 BMW, Mercedes, Audi and VW cars

    • Mileage: 39864 mi
    • Engine size: 2993
    For sale
  • Bmw 7 series

    £19,400 £19,400

    Satellite Navigation, Full Leather, Heated Seats, Bluetooth, 12 Speakers, Voice Control, Cruise Control, Parking Sensors, Rain-Sensing Wipers, DAB Digital Radio, Xenon Headlamps, Headlamp Jetwash, Lumbar Adjustment, BMW Apps Interface, Front Centre Armrest, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Climate Control, Air Conditioning, Push Button Start, I Drive System, Electric Seats, Metallic Paintwork, Front Fog Lamps, USB Interface, Memory Seats, Auto Lighting, Brake Assist, Auxiliary In, MP3 Player, Child Locks, Alarm, Radio, Stereo, ABS, Isofix, Immobiliser, Adjustable Steering Column, Power Steering, Stability Control, Traction Control, Trip Computer, Electric Mirrors, Electric Windows, Anti-Theft System, Central Locking, Remote Alarm, Remote Central Locking, Head Restraints, Height Adjustable Seat, Rear Headrests, Steering Wheel Audio Controls, CD Player, Electric Handbrake, Electric Front Windows, Alloy wheels Click on this car for full specification. You can find more photos, enhanced specification, Service history, Log book and the HPI certificate on our web site. For a no obligation test drive, finance quote or part-exchange valuation call us today. This car has been inspected by trained technicians and passed a multi-point inspection. For a hassle, haggle free buying experience and drive away the same day visit Big Motoring World today.Award winning Big Motoring World stocks up to 2,000 BMW, Mercedes, Audi and VW cars

    • Mileage: 48016 mi
    • Engine size: 2993
    For sale
  • Bmw 7 series

    £20,500 £20,500

    Satellite Navigation, Bluetooth, Heated Seats, Cruise Control, Parking Sensors, Rain-Sensing Wipers, DAB Digital Radio, Xenon Headlamps, Headlamp Jetwash, Powered Folding Mirrors, Lumbar Adjustment, BMW Apps Interface, Front Centre Armrest, Full Leather, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Push Button Start, Metallic Paintwork, I Drive System, USB Interface, Auto Lighting, Auxiliary In, Child Locks, Isofix, ABS, Radio, Stereo, Alarm, Air Bag, Immobiliser, Electric Seats, Electric Windows, Trip Computer, Electric Mirrors, Rear Headrests, Head Restraints, Anti-Theft System, Central Locking, Remote Alarm, Remote Central Locking, Height Adjustable Seat, Adjustable Steering Column, Power Steering, Stability Control, Traction Control, Colour Coded Body, Alloy wheels Click on this car for full specification. You can find more photos, enhanced specification, Service history, Log book and the HPI certificate on our web site. For a no obligation test drive, finance quote or part-exchange valuation call us today. This car has been inspected by trained technicians and passed a multi-point inspection. For a hassle, haggle free buying experience and drive away the same day visit Big Motoring World today.Award winning Big Motoring World stocks up to 2,000 BMW, Mercedes, Audi and VW cars

    • Mileage: 49256 mi
    • Engine size: 2993
    For sale
  • BMW 7 Series 1998

    £750 £750

    hello i am selling my bmw 728 i 1998 petrol autoaticthe mileage is 189000the car has got mot till october 2017the ball oint needs to be exchanged and I have already bought the parts but have no time to do thisi already asked and the labour is around 100 gbpotherwise the car has got no problems the engine and gearbox work smoothelythe inside is cream leather which in a good condition as the car was well keptprice GBP 750 offers welcomed   07413879808

    • Mileage: 189000 mi
    • Engine size: 2793
    For sale
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