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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

134 Search results
BMW 7 Series
3950 79990 GBP
  • BMW 7 Series

    £30,490 £30,490

    Variant name:ACTIVEHYBRID 7 M SPORT ,Derivative:F01 ,Variant: 3.0 740i M Sport ActiveHybrid 7

    • Year: 2014
    • Mileage: 27102 mi
    • Engine size: 3
    For sale
    John Clark-John Clark BMW Aberdeen
    01224 947 114 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • BMW 7501 fully loaded.

    £14,500 £14,500

    Fully loaded BMW 750i, A very luxury car. full leather interior, Mileage 71611. full service history. 2 owners, mot 3/8/17. Stunning car.Electric windows, Air conditioning, Satellite navigation, Parking aid,auto door close,Live television, DVD, MP3 player, CD player, Bluetooth, Heated seats, Height adjustable driver's seat, Height adjustable penger seat, Folding rear seats, Child seat points (Isofix system), Sports seats, Power steering, auto Steering wheel rake adjustment, Steering wheel reach adjustment, Cruise control, Traction control, Central locking, Alarm, Immobiliser, Driver's airbags, Side airbags, Penger airbags, Electric sunroof etc...

    • Mileage: 71611 mi
    • Engine size: 4395
    For sale
  • BMW 7 SERIES 730I SE 2004

    £3,950 £3,950

    Offered for sale is this very well cared for BMW 730i Auto Saloon, presented in sapphire black with grey leather interior. The car has covered a genuine 102,000 miles from new with service stamps and invoices at the following intervals, 13k, 39k, 50k, 66k, 70k, 76k, 81k, 85k, and 91k miles. The car will come with a brand new mot upon purchase. The car is of course HPI clear including genuine mileage verification certificate. All vehicles receive a thorough 84 point mechanical and safety related check with paperwork to verify. The car is in excellent condition for the year with only a few VERY minor marks to report. The interior is also in good condition with only VERY minor wear. This car has obviously been very well cared for. Overall this car is in super condition for the year. The car is of a good specification, including but not limited to, Leather trim, Sat Nav, Soft close doors and boot, Front and rear parking sensors with visual aid, Cruise control, auto lights and wipers, Climate control, Electric windows, Electric mirrors, Alloy wheels, On board computer, in addition to the usual standard specification on this flag ship 7 series. The car has both keys which are operational. To summarise, this is a very nice genuine car. Both engine and gearbox are smooth, the car drives perfectly and does everything it should. Any inspection welcome and invited. Debit cards accepted, viewing by appointment in Southend on Sea, Essex.

    • Mileage: 102364 mi
    • Engine size: 2.979
    For sale
  • 2016 BMW 7 Series 740Ld xDrive M Sport 4dr Auto, 20 Inch M Sport Alloys, Panoramic Glass Sunroof, Rear Seat Comfort Pack, Rear DVD Entertainment, Premium Pack, Advanced Park, Remote Park, TV, Massage Front & Rear Seats, Head Up, Cost over 93000 Pounds New

    £56,900 £56,900

    Multi award-winning prestige car dealership John Holland is delighted to offer for sale this beautifully presented and rare high spec BMW 740LD X-Drive M Sport Auto. This stunning example comes with a huge specification which is probably the highest specification of any BMW 7 Series on the web today. Finished in Singapore Grey Metallic with complimenting Ivory White and Black Exclusive Nappa Leather Upholstery, Anthracite Alcantara Headlining and finished with High Gloss Fineline Black Wood Interior Inlays with Metal Effect. This stunning one off example comes with a huge specification to include 20" M Sport Double-Spoke Alloy Wheels, Panoramic Glass Sunroof, Rear Seat Comfort Pack- Rear Seat Entertainment, Harman Kardon Loud Speaker System, TV Function, Rear Massage Seats, Premium Pack- Ambient Air Package, Climate Comfort Laminated Glass, Climate Comfort Windscreen, Front and Rear Heat Comfort Pack, Electric Sunblinds for Side and Rear Windows, Advanced Parking Package-Remote Parking, Surround View, Park Assist, Adaptive LED Headlights, Head-Up Display, Professional Satellite Navigation, Internet, Online Entertainment, BMW Gesture Control, DAB Radio, Bluetooth, Hard drive with US

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 14277 mi
    For sale
  • BMW 7 Series

    £16,500 £16,500

    Variant name:730D SE LUXURY EDITION ,Derivative:3.0 740d Luxury 4dr ,Variant: 730D SE LUXURY EDITION Black, AA INSPECTED PLUS AA 3 MONTH WARRANTY, 1 owner, Last serviced at 59,487 miles, 5 seats, Service History, 242 Bhp, The Specification Includes: 19'' Alloy Wheels, Bi-xenon Headlights, Audio / Visual Front and Rear Parking Sensors, Key-less Go, Full Cream Leather Interior, 3 Stage Heated Front and Rear Seats, Front Power Seats with Lumbar Support, 2 Memory Setting Front Seats, Digital Dual Zone Climate Control, Rear Digital Climate Control, Cruise Control, Widescreen Digital Display, Satellite Navigation System, Cd / Dab Stereo System, Bluetooth, Reversing Camera, Electric Power Fold Door Mirrors, Sport / Comfort / Eco pro Vehicle Dynamic Modes, Automatic / Tiptronic Gearbox And Much More. Value Financing Options Available, Great Value, Fixed Prices., £16,500 p/x welcome

    • Year: 2012
    • Mileage: 68090 mi
    • Engine size: 3
    For sale
  • BMW 7 Series

    £25,990 £25,990

    Variant name:730D M SPORT EXCLUSIVE ,Derivative:F01 ,Variant: 2014 14 BMW 7 Series 730D 3.0D M Sport Exclusive Auto 258BHP A fantastic opportunity to own and cherish this stunning example low mileage 14 reg BMW 730D M Sport Exclusive auto 258 BHP Facelift model 4 door saloon which has been fully maintained and cared for to the highest of standards and finished in carbon black metallic with contrasting Ivory white Dakota leather which is the perfect colour combination in this luxury range. Specification includes 20" M Double Spoke Alloy Wheels, elec power tailgate, soft close doors, privacy glass, sat nav, reverse camera, paddle shift, head up display, heated seats, electric memory seats, Bluetooth technology with audio streaming, rear heated seats and full m sport body styling. Viewing is essential as we are confident this is one of the finest examples available on the market so call now for more information and to avoid disappointment as first to see will buy !

    • Year: 2014
    • Mileage: 33623 mi
    • Engine size: 3
    For sale
  • BMW 7 Series

    £40,990 £40,990

    Variant name:730D XDRIVE M SPORT ,Derivative:G11 ,Variant: 2015 65 BMW 7 Series 730D X Drive M Sport Auto 261BHP 4 Door Brand New Model We are extremely proud to be able to offer this brand new model low mileage 2015 65 reg BMW 7 Series 730D 3.0D X Drive M Sport Auto 261 BHP 4 Door Saloon which has been fully maintained and cared for to the highest of standards in Singapore Grey Metallic paint with contrasting ivory white / Black exclusive nappa leather upholstery which is the perfect colour combination in this luxury range.  No expense spared on this optional extra specification which includes 20' M Double Spoke Alloy Wheels, elec glass sunroof, sun protection glass, through loading system, surround view system, BMW Ican Adaptive LED Headlights, BMW Gesture Control, which cost an extra £              Also includes, Sat nav, DAB Radio, Bluetooth with Audio Streaming, paddle shift, parking sensors, elec power tailgate, front & rear heated seats, front & rear elec memory seats, X Drive 4 wheel drive technology and much more. This luxury 4 door saloon not only benefits from the remainder of the manufacturers warranty but also includes the remainder of a manufacturers 5 year service plan.  Viewing is essential as we are confident there is no better value example on the market so call us now for more information and to avoid disappointment !

    • Year: 2015
    • Mileage: 25892 mi
    • Engine size: 3
    For sale
  • BMW 7 Series

    £19,995 £19,995

    *** AA INSPECTED CAR *** ONE OWNER FROM NEW (BMW UK) Stunning 730d Luxury Edition in BMW Individual Colour Azurite Black Pearl with Oyster Exclusive Nappa Leather Interior. Features an additional £5,110 of extra spec over the standard Luxury model including : Instrument panel in leather (£1,020 option), Sunblinds - rear and rear side windows, electric. Oscillating seat base function. Surround-view Camera with Reverse Camera. Blind Spot Assist. Lane Departure Warning System. Sun protection glass. Reversing Assist camera. Steering wheel heating. Mobile application preparation. Internet. Bluetooth telephone audio connection. Windscreen with grey shade band. BMW Individual Door sill finishers. Fine-wood trim Ash grain anthracite. Smoker's package deletion. High Beam Assist. Heated Front & Rear Seats. Sat Nav. DAB Radio. Comfort Seats with Split Backrests & Curved Headrests. Soft Closing Doors. Xenon Headlights. Voice Control. 4-Zone Climate Control. Electric Bootlid Opening/Closure. Plus Lots More. 2 Keys. Full BMW Service History with services recorded at 17k, 29k & 37k. 128 POINT AA INSPECTION INCLUDED WITH FULL REPORT. Call us to discuss delivery anywhere in the UK. Have a look at our testimonials on our website to read more about us and the services we can offer our clients. Video walk around of this car available. This vehicle is HPI Checked and supplied with an AA Inspection & 12 Months AA Roadside Assistance. WarrantyWise Warranties Av

    • Mileage: 48342 mi
    • Engine size: 2993
    For sale
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