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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
2095 71995 GBP
  • BMW 7 SERIES 730D SE 2011

    £14,800 £14,800

    FULL BMW SERVICE HISTORY, SAT NAV, 12 MONTHS MOT, FULL LEATHER SEATS, HEATED SEATS, BLUETOOTH, USB, PARKING AID, HPI CLEAR, LOW RATE FINANCE AVAILABLE, WARRANTIES AVAILABLE., Upgrades - Bluetooth Telephone Audio Connection, 12 months MOT, Full dealership history, Excellent bodywork, Black Full leather interior - Excellent Condition, Tyre condition Excellent, Standard Features - Air Conditioning, Automatic with Four - Zone Control, Alarm System (Thatcham 1) with Remote Control, Alloy Wheels 18in Light Star Spoke 234, BMW Online, BMW Professional Radio with Single CD Player (with MP3 Playback Facility) and Auxiliary Input Point for Auxiliary Playing Devices, Bluetooth Telephone Preparation with Telematics, Cruise Control with Brake Function, Dakota Leather Upholstery, Electric Windows - Front and Rear, with Open/Close Fingertip Control, Anti - Trap Facility and Comfort Closing Function All Round, Metallic Paintwork, Navigation System - BMW Professional Multimedia, On-Board Computer (OBC), Park Distance Control (PDC), Front and Rear, Rain Sensor, Seat Adjustment - Front, Electric with Driver Memory, Tyre Puncture Warning System (TPWS), Airbags, 3x3 point rear seat belts, Alarm, Central locking, Cruise control, Child locks and Isofix system, Electric door mirrors, Electric windows, Engine Immobiliser, Floor Mats, Velour, Electro-Mechanical Parking Brake with Auto-Hold Function, Front Fog Lights, Front and Rear Centre Armrest, Fineline Wood Interior Trim/High Gloss, Parking aid, Power steering, Lumbar support, Leather seats, Immobiliser, USB Data Port, Traction control, Remote central locking, Rear - View Mirror, Automatically Dimming. 5 seats, Blue, 2 owners, *WARRANTY AVAILABLE ON ALL VEHICLES, PART EXCHANGE WELCOME, FINANCE AVAILABLE SUBJECT TO STATUS*

    • Mileage: 47900 mi
    • Engine size: 2.993
    For sale
    £14,800 £14,800
    Hyper Cars Ipswich Ltd
    01473 222264 View contact number
  • BMW 7 SERIES 745I 2002

    £5,500 £5,500

    Incredible 2002 52 BMW 745I 4.4 V8. ;Finished in Metallic Grey with full Perforated Black leather and Gloss Walnut inlays, Covered 99000 miles from new with a full BMW service history record. One of the higest spec 7 series we have seen....including BMW Idrive Sat nav, Telephone with front and rear handhelds, Auto Xenon headlights, Heated Electric memory seats, Heated and A/C cooled front and rear seats, Rear Electric memory seats, Soft Close doors, Electric open/close boot lid, 6 CD Changer, Privacy glass, 21” Genuine ALPiNA turbine alloy wheels, ALPINA badges and emblems, Rear electric blinds, Electric Glass sunroof, Induvidual Climate control with A/C, Cruise control, LED lights, Push button start, Electric mirrors, Electric steering collum, Multi function steering wheel with Paddle shuft gear change, BMW over carpets, Genuine BMW spare alloy wheel.; A truly beautiful example that drives and feels impecible, no expence has been spared by its previous owners. 2 keys, 6 months warranty.

    • Mileage: 99000 mi
    • Engine size: 4.398
    For sale
    £5,500 £5,500
  • BMW 7 Series

    £13,253 £13,253

    Variant name:Diesel Saloon ,Variant: 740d 4dr Auto We are proud to present this lovely 2012 BMW 7 Series 740d 4dr Auto presented in Gloss Black with a Cream Interior. This car has a huge specification including Automatic Xenon Headlights, Automatic Rain Sensing Wipers, Multi-functional Leather Steering Wheel with Cruise Control and Volume Controls, Electric Panoramic Sun Roof, Electric Folding Mirrors, Fully Electric Adjustable Heated Seats with Lumbar Support, Wooden Interior Trim, Switchable Driving Modes, Traction Control, Keyless Push Button Start, Dual Climate Control, Front & Rear Heated Windows, DAB Radio, Full Colour Satellite Navigation, USB Phone Connectivity, Auxiliary Input, Front & Rear Parking Sensors, Reversing Camera and Lane Departure Warning System. To discuss this excellent car further please contact a member of the Sales Team on the number listed above.

    • Year: 2012
    • Mileage: 140000 mi
    • Engine size: 3
    For sale
    £13,253 £13,253
  • BMW 7 SERIES 730D SPORT 2005

    £5,195 £5,195

    BMW 730D Sport;;This is 1 of our personal cars;;Full Service History ;;Lots of Receipts;;Recent 2 Brand New Kumho Front Tyres;;2 Keys ;;Body coloured bumpers;;Central locking;;Cruise control;;Sat Nav;;Service indicator;;Sports seats;;Telephone;;Air conditioning;;CD Multichanger;;Climate control;;Full size spare wheel;;Headlight washers;;Heated seats;;Isofix child seat anchor points;;Lumbar support;;Remote locking;;3x3 point rear seat belts;;ABS;;Alarm;;Alloy wheels;;Audio remote;;CD;;Driver`s airbag;;Electric driver`s seat;;Electric mirrors;;Electric passenger`s seat;;Front electric windows;;Front fog lights;;Heated mirrors;;Height adjustable drivers seat;;Leather seat trim;;Metallic Paint;;Parking sensors;;PAS;;Passenger`s airbag;;Rear electric windows;;Side airbags;;Steering wheel rake adjustment;;Steering wheel reach adjustment;;Traction control;;Excellent Condition for year;;;;

    • Mileage: 123000 mi
    • Engine size: 2.993
    For sale
    £5,195 £5,195
  • BMW 7 Series 1998

    £2,095 £2,095

    BMW 728I 6 cylinder M52 Petrol 5 speed tiptronic auto, S registion, metallic silver, MOT Jan 2019 no advisory, always garage kept, car has been very well looked after, condition is superb and drives without fault, all wheel arches in perfect condition, always garaged, elderly owner, owned car for 7 years, reason for selling as have bus p and doesn't use the car much now. extremely reliable and solid build quality the E38 model by far the best 7 series ever made. 190,000 miles, rust free,  very smooth and silent engine, excellent transmission, new tyres, full size alloy spare wheel, good interior, stainless steel exhaust, excellent condition inside and out, 14 BMW service stamps, much money spent over the years to maintain in perfect condition, always well maintained, car drives faultlessly, new brake pads all-round, new handbrake shoes, new camshaft and crankshaft sensor, new thermostat, replacement radiator, engine does not use any oil, clean exhaust and perfect emissions,  Cruise control, electric seats and mirrors, electric windows all-round, full automatic air con, central locking all works perfectly, everything on the car works, no faults whatsoever, Spare key, serviced recently, new oil 5w 30 fully synthetic, new oil filter, new air filter, new fuel filter, auto transmission fluid and filter changed, genuine BMW long-life oil and filter, drives perfectly,    Private Sale   Please no texts, only calls thank you.   £2095 ono 01903 446055 07459065799  

    • Engine size: 2793
    For sale
    £2,095 £2,095

    £64,995 £64,995

    ARRIVAL IMMINENT.;;ANOTHER stunning car IN AS NEW CONDITION with only 1,000 miles. A HUGE spec again with approx GBP 38,000 in options alone. VAT Qualifying, purchase VAT FREE for international export. ;;In Singapore Grey with Cognac Leather.;;CALL FOR MORE DETAILS. ;;FACTORY OPTIONS AS FOLLOWS:;;L812A National version England / Ireland;P337A M Sports package;P7S9A Connected Drive Services Paket;S1CAA Selection of COP relevant vehicles;S1CBA CO2 package;S21HA BMW LA wheel M Double Spoke 648 bicolor;S230A Extra package, EU-specific;S255A Sports leather steering wheel;S258A Tire with run-flat functionality;S2NHA M Sport brakes;S2PAA Wheel bolt retainer;S2TEA Automatic transmission w/ shift paddles;S2VBA Tire pressure display;S2VHA Integral active steering;S302A Alarm system;S319A Integrated universal remote control;S322A Comfort access;S323A Soft-Close-Automatic doors;S356A Climate comfort laminated glass;S358A Climate comfort windscreen;S3AGA Reversing camera;S3DEA Omission of specific design scopes;S3DSA BMW Display key;S407A Panorama glass roof 'Sky Lounge';S416A Roller sun vizor, rear lateral;S420A Sun protection glazing;S428A Warning triangle and first aid kit;S441A Smoker package;S453A Climate-controlled seats, front;S454A Climate-controlled seats, rear;S456A Comfort seat with memory;S460A Comfort seat, rear, electr. adjustable;S4AXA Fine wood ash grain Marone/wood inlay;S4F4A Executive Lounge Seating;S4HCA Warmth Comfort Package;S4NBA Autom. climate control with 4-zone ctrl;S4NDA Instrument panel, leather-covered;S4NEA Blow-by heater;S4NMA Ambient Air Paket;S4T6A Massage function in rear;S4T7A Massage function, driver / fr. passenger;S4U1A Ceramic appliques for controls;S4URA Ambient interior lighting;S502A Headlight cleaning system;S5A1A LED Fog lights;S5ACA High-beam assistant;S5AZA BMW Laserlicht;S5DLA Surround View;S5DPA Park Assistent;S601A TV function;S609A Navigation system Professional;S610A Head-up display;S650A CD player;S654A DAB tuner;S6ACA Intelligent emergency SOS call;S6AEA Teleservices;S6AGA eDrive services;S6AKA Connected Drive Services;S6AMA Real-Time Traffic Information;S6ANA Concierge Services;S6CPA Preparation Apple CarPlay;S6F1A Bowers and Wilkins High End Sound System;S6FRA Fond Entertainment Experience;S6NWA Phoning with wireless charging;S6U8A BMW Gesture Recognition;S6UKA Night Vision with human recognition;S6WBA Multifunctional instrument display;S6WDA WLAN Hotspot;S715A M Aerodynamics package;S760A High gloss shadow line;S775A Headlining anthracite;S850A Dummy-SALAPA;S853A Language version English;S880A On-board vehicle literature English;S8KAA Dummy-SALAPA;S8R9A Refrigerant R1234yf;S8S2A Coding alarm signal;S8S3A Automatic locking when driving off;S8SMA Car ident. number visible from outside;S8TFA Active pedestrian protection;S8TGA Thiefproofing device;;PACKS ADDED:;;Rear Seat Comfort Pack;Premium Pack;M Sports Pack

    • Mileage: 1000 mi
    • Engine size: 1.998
    For sale
    £64,995 £64,995