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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

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BMW 7 Series
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  • BMW 7 SERIES 730d SE Auto, Sunroof, Side & Rear Cameras, 34k miles, Pro Nav

    £14,989 £14,989

    Type: Used Year: 2009 Make: BMW Model: 7 SERIES Trim: 730d SE Auto, Sunroof, Side & Rear Cameras, 34k miles, Pro Nav Body: Sedan Trans: Automatic Mileage: 34000 Engine Size: 2993 Ext Color: GREY

    • Mileage: 34000 mi
    • Engine size: 2993
    For sale
    Yorkshire Vehicle Solutions
    01429411615 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • BMW 7 Series

    £6,495 £6,495

    FOR SALE A luxurious BMW E38 735i with one owner and full BMW history. EQUIPMENT Airbags for front seat occupants, side airbags, headbags, door handles outer illuminated, rain sensitive headlight washer system, Park Distance Control (PDC), heated door locks, washer nozzles, mirrors and screenwiper rest position, thermal insulation of entire underfloor, 6 disc autochanger, interior temperature zone climate control, cruise control, soft close automatic luggage compartment lid. Factory options; Rear axle level control, Xenon headlights, Multi-spoke style alloys, de-chroming, heated steering wheel, active front seats, Comfort memory seats with heat and massage. Dealer options; 24 Hour Tracker, velour fitted mats, mudflaps. EXTERIOR This beautifully elegant E38 735i was factory ordered in Sahara Beige Metallic, (Code 4434) and has been constantly garaged by the original and only owner. The stunning original paintwork is simply magnificent with a brilliant polished shine and uniform finish throughout. With absolutely no stuffs or dings and only a minuscule paint blemish to the boot lip worthy of mention, this example has been preserved to an amazing standard. All trim pieces are perfect, as you would expect from this pampered, one owner, low mileage example. The expensive optional Xenon headlamps have crystal clear lenses, as do all other light fitments. An imposing executive 7 Series, an absolute delight for any BMW enthusiast. INTERIOR Soft luxurious Montana leather in beautiful Pearl Beige/Marine Blue, (Code O7OY) compliments the sophisticated exterior colour scheme immensely. An eye-watering specification will delight seekers of upmost opulence with factory optional Active front seats featuring seat heating, active breathing affect with massage and multi-function memory adjustment. This is in addition to the optional heated steering wheel specified for all-out indulgence! The pristine interior is truly exceptional and beautiful kept, an absolute credit to the fastidious owner to whom only the highest standard was acceptable. The deep pile quality Marine Blue carpeting is perfect having been protected from new with velour fitted mats, also immaculate having been protected themselves with a second set of mats! The matching marine blue dash top and dual tone door cards are as new. The boot lid tool kit is complete and the original first aid kit is still sealed in the factory cellophane wrapper! All comprehensive equipment is in optimum working order, although one small section of the LCD trip display is distorted. Far superior to the usual offerings, this well-appointed cabin space enjoys a wonderful ambience. ENGINE & TRANSMISSION The sublime 8-cylinder V-Design light alloy engine in this example has covered a remarkably low 55,924 miles with no expense spared servicing carried out by the supplying BMW Main Dealer to the exact servicing schedule. The resulting prime performance from the 235bhp is powerful, responsive and exceptionally smooth. The five-speed automatic transmission with Adaptive Gearbox System (AGS) offer near seamless changes and also features Steptronic control to allow increased Driver interaction and command. The ultimate exclusive driving machine. WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES Factory optional and very expensive 18in BMW Multi-Spoke light alloy wheels are shod in premium brand tyres measuring 235/50 ZR18 and 255/45 ZR18 front and rear respectively. The rims are completely free from scuff and curb damage and only light oxidisation to the alloy on the inner spokes can be seen. All tyres have masses of tread remaining and the spare is still shod in the original Dunlop SP Sport 2000 item. The high performance braking system featuring Dynamic Brake Control (DBC) is everything you would expect of this powerful driving machine. HISTORY FILE Supplied new by Fawdington BMW of Newcastle Upon Tyne on 1st March 2000, a new car sales invoice made out to Mr T Oates outlines the purchase price of £46,298.16, including factory options of £6,262.16! Registered in his company name before himself upon retirement, the complete service history from new by the supplying BMW Main Dealer is simply incredible. Mr Oates specified strict servicing and maintenance to be carried out and documented to the manufacturer’s schedule. With an incredible recorded 32 visits, whereby on each occasion Fawdington BMW would collect and return the car, a 90 minute round trip, in recognition of Mr Oates valued custom. The original service booklet is fully stamped with every service, inspection and maintenance procedure carried out, accompanied by supporting invoices, inspection sheets and MOT certificates. There is also a BMW print out confirming the date and mileage of every visit. The A5 leather wallet also contains the dealer supplied book packs, manuals and user guides. Two sets of remote keys, master key and emergency key complete the history file alongside an original sales brochure and option pamphlet. To drive a low mileage E38 BMW 735i serviced to exacting standards using all correct grade oils, fluids and service parts is a true motoring delight, allowing the manufacturer’s claim of creating the Ultimate Driving Machine is clearly justified. MOT March 2018, HPI Clear. To see a video of this car please copy the link below: https://youtu.be/tutLmxBJE0c To see a complete set of photographs of this car please copy the link below: https://flic.kr/s/aHskVTHczD 'Like us' or 'Follow us' for exciting new cars coming soon at KGF Classic Cars: https://www.facebook.com/KGFClassiccars https://twitter.com/KGFClassicCars

    • Year: 2000
    • Mileage: 55924 mi
    • Engine size: 3.5
    For sale
  • BMW 7 Series

    £19,000 £19,000

    Variant name:730LD SE ,Derivative:3.0 730Ld SE 4dr (start/stop) ,Variant: 730LD SE Metallic Black, AA INSPECTED PLUS AA 3 MONTH WARRANTY, 1 owner, 5 seats, 258 BHP, 12 Months Road Tax Is £150, The Specification Includes: 20'' Alloy Wheels, Bi-xenon Headlights, L.E.D Day Time Running Lights, Audio / Visual Front and Rear Parking Sensors, Stop / Start Technology, Key-less Go, Full Cream Leather Interior, 3 Stage Heated Front and Rear Seats, Front Power Seats, 2 Stage Memory Setting Front Seats, Digital Dual Zone Front and Rear Climate Control, Cruise Control, Wide Screen Digital Display, Satellite Navigation System, Cd/Dab Stereo System, Voice Control, Bluetooth, Electric Front Sun Roof with Electric Sunblind, Electric Rear Sun Blinds, Electric Power Fold Door Mirrors, Sport / Comfort Vehicle Dynamic Modes, Automatic/ Tiptronic Gearbox, Value Financing Options Available, Great Value, Fixed Prices, £19,000 p/x welcome

    • Year: 2014
    • Mileage: 88810 mi
    • Engine size: 3
    For sale
  • BMW 7 Series

    £14,995 £14,995

    Variant name:730D M SPORT ,Derivative:F01 ,Variant: 730d Turbo Diesel M Sport 6 Speed Auto Sunroof Sat Nav Bluetooth Full Leather Heated Seats Only 79,000 Miles Full Service History 7 Stamps 10-Reg Metallic Sapphire Black, Electric Glass Sunroof, Privacy Glass, Full Oyster Grey Dakota Leather Interior, 20in BMW M Sport Alloys, Satellite Navigation, Heated Seats, Bluetooth and BT Audio, HDD Music Collection, USB/Audio Interface, PDC Front and Rear Parking Sensors, Keyless Drive, Tracker Fitted, Air Conditioning, 3-zone Climate Control, Cruise Control, Electric Windows/Folding Mirrors/Roof Blind/Steering Column/Tailgate/Twin Memory Seats, Push Button Start, PAS, ABS, Traction Control, Front and Side Airbags, Switchable Passenger Airbag, ISOFIX Child Seat Preparation, Stereo, CD, AUX-in, Multi Function Steering Wheel, Auto Dimming Rear View Mirror, 5x Three Point Seat Belts, 5x Headrests, Centre Armrest, Auto Xenon Headlights, Headlamp Washers, Front Fogs, BMW Alarm, Only 79,000 Miles, Full Service History, 7 Stamps in Service Book, Costs over £60,000 New, Can Achieve over 51 MPG, Only £240 a Year Road Tax. Every Vehicle is Subjected To a Rigorous RAC Approved 82 Point Buysure Inspection and is supplied Fully Serviced With a RAC Platinum Parts and Labour Warranty, 1 Years MOT, 12 Months RAC Roadside Assistance including home start and HPI Checked, 4 Years RAC Platinum Parts and Labour Warranty Available, Over 200 Cars in Stock, Finance Available, No Deposit Required, Part Exchange Available. McCarthy Cars Are RAC Approved and Highly Recommended By Them, Have Complete Peace Of Mind With The McCarthy Cars and RAC Buysure Programme. Available extras include Privacy Glass, Bluetooth, Sat Nav, DAB Radio, Front and Rear PDC Parking Aids, Leather Interiors and Heated Seats. McCarthy Cars are a Multi Award Winning Car Dealership and Most Loved Business in Croydon. Find Us On Facebook, You Tube and Twitter @mccarthycarsuk. McCarthy Cars, A Family Run Business Established Over 40 Years Ago, Open 7 Days a Week. CR0 3RG, 02086888086 / 07966248547 www.mccarthycars.co.uk sales@mccarthycars.co.uk

    • Year: 2010
    • Mileage: 79000 mi
    • Engine size: 3
    For sale
  • BMW 7 Series 2009 FULL Service History

    £12,000 £12,000

    FULL SERVICE HISTORY - IMMACULATE CONDITION. Navigation System - BMW Professional Multimedia, Cruise Control with Brake Function, Park Distance Control (PDC), Front and Rear, Air Conditioning, Automatic with Four - Zone Control, BMW Professional Radio with Single CD Player (with MP3 Playback Facility) and Auxiliary Input Point for Auxiliary Playing Devices, Alarm System (Thatcham 1) with Remote Control, Tyre Puncture Warning System (TPWS), Rain Sensor, Dakota Leather Upholstery, On-Board Computer (OBC), Seat Adjustment - Front, Electric with Driver Memory, Metallic Paintwork, Electric Windows - Front and Rear, with Open/Close Fingertip Control, Anti - Trap Facility and Comfort Closing Function All Round, 20in Light Alloy.

    • Engine size: 2993
    For sale
  • BMW 7 Series

    £16,500 £16,500

    FINANCE PACKAGES AVAILABLE- We offer this BMW 730D SE in Fantastic Condition throughout and with a Full BMW Service history. Best Colour Scheme! Here at Auto-Sportiva we are an AA Approved Garage so Buy with Confidence. Ask about our Extendable AA Warranties. Spec Includes- Full Black Dakota Leather Interior, Satellite Navigation, Alloy Wheels 19in Multi-Spoke Style 235, Reversing Assist Camera, Front and Rear Parking Sensors, Bi-Xenon Headlights, Privacy Glass, DAB Digital Radio, Telephone Bluetooth System, Electric + Heated + Memory Seats, Power Folding Wing Mirrors, Multifunction Steering Wheel, Main Beam Assist, Sun Protection Glass, Cruise Control, Dual Climate Control, AUX + USB, Auto Headlights and Wipers, Auto Dimming Mirrors, 2 Keys, Standard Features - BMW Online, Air Conditioning, Automatic with Four - Zone Control, Metallic Paintwork, Dakota Leather Upholstery, Alarm System (Thatcham 1) with Remote Control, BMW Professional Radio with Single CD Player (with MP3 Playback Facility) and Auxiliary Input Point for Auxiliary Playing Devices, Tyre Puncture Warning System (TPWS), On-Board Computer (OBC), Airbags, Power steering. 5 seats, Metallic Black Sapphire, WE ALWAYS RECOMMEND CALLING OUR SALES TEAM PRIOR TO VIEWING ONE OF OUR VEHICLES TO AVOID ANY DISAPPOINTMENT IF SOLD - FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT - www.auto-sportiva.com. Vehicles Supplied fully inspected, Valeted and with a Comprehensive Warranty and Clear HPI report so Buy with Confidence. Extendable AA Warrantie

    • Mileage: 67581 mi
    • Engine size: 2993
    For sale
  • BMW 7 Series

    £18,500 £18,500

    Bluetooth, Full Leather, Satellite Navigation, Xenon Headlamps, Parking Sensors, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Cruise Control, Adjustable Steering Column, Electric Seats, Heated Seats Boss Motor Company are delighted to present this low mileage, 2012/61 BMW 730d SE.Finished in Titanium Silver Metallic with Full Black Leather Throughout. Complimented by a FULL BMW MAIN DEALER SERVICE HISTORY. NEW 'No Advisory' MOT.BMW Demonstrator + 1 OWNER.Specification Includes:Auto Start / Stop,BMW Professional Widescreen Satellite Navigation, Leather Trim on Dash, Front Heated Seats, Electric Front Seats With Memory Function, BMW IDrive Professional With DAB Digital Radio/CD/DVD Player + AUX/USB Input + Bluetooth Audio Streaming, Bluetooth Phone Connectivity, Keyless Start, Front And Rear Parking Sensors, Auto Xenon Headlights + Rain Sensors, Daytime Running Lights, 20 Inch Alloy Wheels, Cruise Control, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Anti-glare Mirror, Quad Zone Digital Climate Control, 8x Air Bags, ISOFIX, ABS, DTC, DSC - VIEWING STRICTLY BY APPOINTMENT ONLY - PART EXCHANGE WELCOME- FINANCE AVAILABLE THROUGH OUR WEBSITE - 6 MONTH RAC WARRANTY

    • Mileage: 37000 mi
    • Engine size: 2993
    For sale
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