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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

124 Search results
BMW 7 Series
7895 69990 GBP
  • BMW 7 Series

    £49,990 £49,990

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

    • Year: 2015
    • Mileage: 9887 mi
    • Engine size: 3
    For sale
    Williams Group-Williams Liverpool BMW
    0151 474 2000 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • BMW 7 SERIES 730D M SPORT 2012

    £17,999 £17,999

    A first class luxury BMW 730d auto with all the M sport goodies.;Spotless paintwork and interior. ;;This car comes with;Navigation System - BMW Professional Multimedia, Park Distance Control (PDC), Front and Rear, Cruise Control with Brake Function, Air Conditioning, Automatic with Four - Zone Control, 19in Light-Alloy Wheels V Spoke Style 302 M, Dakota Leather Upholstery, Alarm System (Thatcham 1) with Remote Control, Seat Adjustment - Front, Electric with Driver Memory, 19in Light Alloy V Spoke Style 302 M Wheels with Run - Flat Tyres and Locking Wheel Bolts, Bluetooth Telephone Preparation with Telematics, Rain Sensor, Tyre Puncture Warning System (TPWS), Electric Windows - Front and Rear, with Open/Close Fingertip Control, Anti - Trap Facility and Comfort Closing Function All Round, On-Board Computer (OBC), BMW Professional Radio with Single CD Player (with MP3 Playback Facility) and Auxiliary Input Point for Auxiliary Playing Devices, Metallic Paintwork;

    • Mileage: 76000 mi
    • Engine size: 2.993
    For sale
  • 2014 (64) BMW 7 SERIES DIESEL Saloon 3.0 730D M SPORT 4DR Automatic

    £29,995 £29,995

    Please note this vehicle is due to arrive into AMARI Stock, listing is yet to be updated prior to arrival and undergoing AMARI Inspection. DESCRIPTION AMARI is delighted to offer you this stunning, 2014 / 64 Registered Example of the BMW 7 Series 730D M Sport Automatic, in Alpine White, with Ivory White / Black Dakota Leather interior, having covered 19,000 Miles by 2 Owners from New. EXTERIOR The exterior of this car is presented to you in the gleaming Alpine White, Trim in High-Gloss Shadowline, with 303 M Alloy Wheels. Which is in an excellent condition. INTERIOR The interior is upholstered in Ivory White / Black Dakota Leather, with Fine-Wood Trim Ash Grain Anthracite, also in an immaculate condition. SPECIFICATION The already huge specification of the BMW 7 Series is enhanced by the following options: 20" Double-Spoke Style 303 M Alloy Wheels Dynamic Drive M Steering wheel M Aerodynamic Bodystyling Exterior Trim, High Gloss Shadowline Steering Wheel Heating M Sport Package Fine-Wood Trim Ash Grain Anthracite Air Conditioning, Automatic with Four-Zone Control Ambient Lighting Front Sports Seats Front and Rear Seat Heating High-Beam Assistant Park Distance Control (PDC) Front and Rear Internet Rear Seat Entertainment - BMW Professional w/ iDrive Control Enhanced Bluetooth Telephone with USB & Voice Control TV Function Navigation System Professional DAB Digital Radio Sun Protection Glass Headlining, Anthracite Tyre Pressure Monitoring Security Wheel Bolts Alarm System (Thatcham 1) Automatic Start / Stop Function Drive Performance Control Floor Mats, Velour Exterior Mirrors, Folding and Auto Dimming Electric Front Seats + Driver Memory Loudspeaker System - BMW Advanced HISTORY The Service History is as follows: 16/02/2017 - 12,286 Miles - BMW Main Dealer (Tayside) Next service (Oil Service) is not yet due until February 2018 or 30,000 Miles as it is every 18,000 to 20,000 Miles or 2 Years for Servicing Schedule. The first MOT is not yet due until 29th August 2017. The car sits on ***** Tyres all around. Front: ***** Rear: ***** Tyre treads are: Front Right: *mm Front Left: *mm Rear Right: *mm Rear Left: *mm We have the original Owner Pack containing the Owner Manual, and other reference material, as well as 2 Keys and 2 Fobs. To arrange a viewing, please contact our team on 01772 663777. Viewing strictly by appointment. Prior to offering for sale, all cars are subject to the AMARI Inspection, a stringent 170 point investigation of the car cosmetically, electrically and mechanically. Our resident master technicians attend to all issues prior to offering the car for sale, using the very latest and best diagnostic equipment, state of the art tools and methods. Our highly qualified master technicians can carry out servicing on all road cars, from the standard family hatch back to the latest Lamborghini, Ferrari, Aston Martin... We are the only independent dealer with full Ferrari SDX Diagnostics and the Lamborghini LARAS Diagnostics systems. Our fully equipped workshop enables us to attend to any electrical, and mechanical issues, from intricate electrical repairs and renewals, to brake disc Skimming and air conditioning recharging. Before collection all cars go through our exhaustive detailing process (can take up to three days) using only the worlds finest Swissvax products, carried out by our professional certified Swissvax trained technicians, covering every aspect of the car inside and out. Collection and delivery throughout the UK can be offered through the most reputable manufacturer championed company who use only the very latest covered car transporters with extensive experience of transporting cars across the world. Vehicles are supplied with a three month warranty *Exclusions Apply. We offer part exchange and finance facility on most cars. AMARI Lifestyle Limited T/As AMARI SuperCars is authorised & Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (663066)

    • Mileage: 19000 mi
    • Engine size: 3
    For sale
  • BMW 7 Series

    £57,900 £57,900

    Variant name:Diesel Saloon M Sport ,Derivative:M Sport ,Variant: 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, 1 Owner 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 USB/Audio interface Connection, Electric Massage Front Seats with Driver & Passenger memory, Soft Close Doors, Keyless, Dual Climate Control, Reversing Camera, Electric Folding Auto dimming Exterior Mirrors, Privacy Glass, Power Boot, High Beam Assist, Through-Loading System, LED Daytime Running Lights Plus Much More. Supplied with 2 keys and all its original owners manuals and wallet. Supplied with 2 keys and all its original owners manuals and wallet. John Holland has been established for over 40 years supplying a premium level of service in the sale of sports, prestige and collectors cars. We have a team of experienced buyers who hand pick our cars from all parts of the uk so you can buy with confidence all vehicles are HPI Clear and prepared to the highest standard, full dealer facilities available call the sales team for further information.

    • Year: 2016
    • Mileage: 14277 mi
    • Engine size: 3
    For sale
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