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  •   Daniel 1982 reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    Value Sevens / #BMW-F01 / #BMW-F02 / #BMW / #2008 /

    Now that the all-new G10 7 Series is here, it’s timely to take another look at the outgoing F01 model – you know, the one that still looks like a 2015 car and is very similar at first glance to the new one. Given that you won’t be seeing many G10s (or F01s for that matter) you’d be forgiven for thinking that the general public won’t actually know the difference. And you’re probably right.

    The BMW F01 is a tremendous vehicle and the price for mint condition 2009 cars that are low on miles but high on gadgets is down to basic 114i money or less. Whilst there are F01s down to £12k, we think the real value is slightly higher up the price scale. £16,000 found us a stunning 2009 59 plate (so almost a 2010) #BMW-730d-F01 in silver with black leather, 47,000 miles and all the usual toys such as professional sat nav, Hi-Fi and heated seats – what a car and all from a BMW dealer with a warranty that you can keep extending. On a steady run a 730d will do 45mpg and the silence and ride refinement will amaze you if you’re used to a 320d, as will the sheer size of the thing – the F01 really is a land yacht. Start looking at 2011 cars with around 30,000 on the clock and you’re still under the £20k mark.
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  •   Bob BMW reacted to this post about 4 years ago

    The #BMW-F01 7 Series is not a car many of us would think of modding but this owner clearly thinks differently… or should that be Thunderbirds Are Low? We’ve tracked down Thunderbird 7, and it’s skimming the Romanian asphalt like a VIP stealth missile.

    Readers of a certain chronological advancement will be familiar with Thunderbirds. Not the iffy #2004 movie, but the original #1965 TV series; filmed using Supermarionation (which sounds like a Nintendo game, but is a real thing), it showcased the adventures of International Rescue, a philanthropic sub-superhero outfit run by the Tracy family – dad Jeff, and his five sons Scott, John, Virgil, Gordon and Alan. Their secret identities were presumably anchored in the fact that if you were to meet someone called Alan Tracy in the pub, you probably wouldn’t assume he was planning to take down an international terrorist ring that wanted to extinguish the sun.

    The five sons had access to a fleet of outlandish vehicles – the imaginatively-titled Thunderbird 1, along with 2, 3, 4 and 5. One of them was a rocket plane, another was a space station, yet another was a weaponised submersible… But why are we discussing Thunderbirds in a mag about modified BMWs? Aha, the answer is simple: we’ve found one of the Thunderbirds, and he’s driving something you might be interested in.

    As you may be aware, ITV is bringing back Thunderbirds for #2015 , so it was inevitable that the original cast would gradually seep from the woodwork at some point, and we’ve tracked down Virgil Tracy to the architecturally fabulous city of Oradea in western Romania. For reasons of stealth, he’s been going under the name of Virgil Halacu for the last half-century or so, and presenting himself to the world as a 21-yearold human being rather than some kind of sophisticated marionette. Nevertheless, it is undoubtedly him – and while Virgil’s original craft, Thunderbird 2, was a shiny green supersonic transporter aircraft, today’s vehicle of choice is an F01-generation #BMW 7 Series. Thunderbird 7, if you will.

    The parallels, when you consider the details, are manifold and obvious. Most noticeably, the way they both air themselves out: if you search YouTube for ‘Thunderbird 2 launch sequence’, you’ll see the retro-futurist ship lowering down on to its central body pod; in much the same way, Virgil’s custom suspension sees him planting the #730d on to the Tarmac at the flick of a switch.

    “I’d been thinking about getting a new stance project for a while,” he explains. “I bought this car from a friend in #2012 , and for about a year I just used it as it was while I figured out what I wanted to do. Then, at the end of #2013 , another friend told me about a guy he knew in Budapest who’d be able to build me a custom air-ride system, so that was the decision made there and then.”

    The details and specs of the setup are a closely guarded secret, as you might expect – after all, why would Virgil want to be sharing Brains’ blueprints around? The last thing he’d want to do would be to give any enemies of the state a strategic advantage. The path to ownership of this 7 Series had been a long and convoluted one as well, with Virgil flitting from one project to another and seemingly wanting to try a little of everything from the global motoring buffet, like some greedy magpie. Since swapping from fictional 5000mph aircraft to real-world motors, he’s seen and done a lot of things that most of us could only dream of. He does have an eye for the high-end fare, you see. “My first car was a #Hummer H3,” he explains, “and I’ve had various projects including an #Audi A6, a #VW #Touareg V8, and a #Mercedes-Benz S550. But I love the shape of the #F01 7 Series, and I really wanted one as it’s got a full-on mafia look.” Hold up. Did he just say…? Has one of the original Thunderbirds abandoned the core principles of International Rescue in order to follow the shady path of Sicilian organised crime? Crikey. That new TV series is going to be pretty dark.

    You can see where he’s coming from though, there’s a tangible ooze of mafioso chic from the chunky, solid lines of the 730d, gleaming menacingly in evil black like Hotblack Desiato’s spaceship (to throw another obscure sci-fi reference into the mix). Virgil saw fit to beef up this luxurious outline with a sprinkling of upgrades from the #760i ’s M Performance package – check out the chunkier bumpers and the rakishly angled quad exhausts – while much of the chrome trim has been blacked out for reasons of menace. The headlights have been darkened too, with the simmering devilishness of red angel eyes offering a ‘get out of my way’ motorway presence.

    And if you’re going to the effort of plumbing air-ride into your jam jar, you’ve got to give some thought to the wheels. Virgil’s channelling the cunning brainpower of the Thunderbirds workshop here by choosing a special set of rims for his imposing ride – namely 20” Vossen CVTs. “I might think about another brand one day, but right now I love the Vossen life!” he grins (his current Audi project, for reference, rolls on a set of CV3s). The CVT is a pretty sci-fi design, in that it’s a directional wheel; whereas most sets of wheels require one mould, or perhaps two, these rollers require a different mould for each unique wheel, given that the spokes point different ways on either side. They’re angled to create an illusion of motion even when stationary, which is a classier technique than bolting a load of spinners on.

    “I’m proud of how the car’s come out,” Virgil says, and he’s right to be. “It ended up being in Budapest for quite a while, as parts had to be ordered specially from the US, and then there was lots of trial-and-error with mounting, notching, modifying, remounting, all to get the car sitting as low as it could physically go. The chassis genuinely does sit on the floor when it’s aired out. But most of all, I’m proud because this is a proper Romanian build (with a little help from Hungary) – I wanted to show the worldwide stance scene that we can do it too!” Admirable sentiments indeed. But isn’t all of this civic pride distracting Virgil from his duties – what if someone tries to nuke Antarctica, or steal all of the copper ore from the bowels of the Earth in order to build a massive, hideous interstellar weapon? Fear not, he’s got more than enough power on his side to get the job done with quiet panache. The running gear may be stock, but the phrase ‘stock running gear’ belies an element of surprise when you’re talking about an F01 – even a 730d. That 3.0-litre straight-six eagerly harnesses the swirling might of forced induction to unleash a galloping 242hp, which is more than enough to spirit him into the heart of a terror’s way if so required. He gets to travel in swish leather-lined luxury, too – go on, check out the big-screened splendour of the cabin and tell us you don’t think it’s better than the bridge of Thunderbird 2.

    So, does all of this rumbling Romanian menace suggest a new direction for International Rescue? A fleet of modified BMWs, ready to take on the evils of the world with a can-do attitude and a ready disdain for miscreant lawbreakers? Well, we can only hope. But if this is what Virgil’s been up to, imagine what other tweaked Bavarian fare we’re likely to see emerging from Tracy Island in the near future. If it’s anywhere near as badass as this low-slung 730d, we can all be thoroughly grateful for his mischievous streak. Look out, bad guys – Thunderbirds are go!

    DATA FILE #BMW #F01 #730d

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 3.0-litre straight-six turbodiesel #N57 D3000 , eightspeed automatic gearbox.

    CHASSIS: 9x20” (front) and 10.5x20” (rear) monoblock directional #Vossen CVTs with 235/30 (front) and 295/30 (rear) Pirelli P Zero tyres, custom air-ride setup.

    EXTERIOR: #760i -spec M Sport all-black additions, carbon fibre bootlid spoiler, tinted headlights with multi-coloured LED angel eyes.

    INTERIOR: Stock cream leather interior.
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  •   Bob BMW reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    10 Minute Guide. Why you should buy an #BMW-F01 / #BMW-F02 730d 7 Series. The big Seven was given a full revamp in 2008 and the 730d version proved to be the best seller in the line-up. They still make the great buys now… Words: Simon Holmes /// Photography: #BMW #2008


    The new 7 Series came along in 2008 to replace the E65. It was a little longer than the previous model but retained the same width. Despite its bigger size, BMW concentrated its efforts on making the new flagship model lighter, so the doors, side panels, the roof and bonnet were all made out of aluminium. The end result was a car that weighed 35kg less than the older version.

    The 730d variant was in the original line-up upon release and was immediately the most successful with buyers. It was powered by the new 3.0-litre N57 single-turbo diesel, which had more power and torque than before, peaking at 245hp and 398lb ft, gains of 16hp and 15lb ft over the E65. Coupled to the sixspeed automatic the result was 0-62mph in a respectable 7.2 seconds and had a top speed of 152mph.

    As tradition dictates with the 7 Series, the new model also proved to be a showcase for newly developed technology and luxury. The standard kit included Dakota leather, heated front seats, a 10.2-inch iDrive screen, Professional sat nav, Bluetooth, a USB interface, four-zone auto air-con, metallic paint, PDC, variable dampers, servotronic steering, Active Aerodynamics and xenon headlights to name but a few. Options included active cruise control, a reversing camera, Head-Up Display, speed limit warning, lane change warning and a night vision camera.

    Design-wise, it was much prettier on the outside than before and on the inside BMW reverted back to more familiar positioning for items such as the gear lever, which had previously been fitted on the steering column on the E65. The electronic handbrake switch was also moved back alongside the gear lever and the cruise control buttons were fitted to the steering wheel once again.

    Further improvements were made to the 7 Series along the way; in 2009 a long wheelbase version was introduced for the diesel and by 2011 DAB radio was standard fit. The big change was in 2012 when the Seven received a minor exterior face-lift but a major engine upgrade. Power was upped to 258hp and 412lb ft this time and it was now fitted with an eight-speed automatic that featured better-suited ratios. This combination massively improved performance; 62mph now came in just 6.2 seconds and top speed was 155mph. The shape continues to the present day although a replacement is expected.

    How much to pay

    The 730d was the most popular selling model and there are actually more around for sale than you might think. It’s worth checking for service history and if possible, as a bit of a safeguard, try and buy a car with some warranty, especially if the mileage is a concern. They take miles well and serious problems are rare but at the same time buying a high-mileage car can be a gamble as repairs are expensive.

    If you’re looking for cars that are particularly wellspec’d you will have to pay more but don’t feel like you need to as the standard spec is so high you will hardly feel like you’re missing out on much unless you have your heart set on a particular option. Prices start as low as £13,000 but that’s for cars with mileages approaching the 200,000 mark.

    Whether you wish to take a chance on a car like that is up to you but it’s worth knowing that for £15,000 you can bag yourself a BMW-730d-F01 with far less miles. We found a couple of cars for sale at this kind of price with around 110,000 miles on them, which seem like the better buy. Mileages then drop again rapidly as the price goes up and there are plenty to choose from at around the £18,000 mark with well below 100,000 miles. Keep an eye out as there are even a few with very low miles or generously-spec’d options for this kind of money if you look around. If you’re holding out for a later 2012-onward car with the more powerful engine and better ZF8HP eight-speed gearbox then be prepared to pay for it as prices start at £27,000 or so.

    What goes wrong?

    Being both a newer BMW and a diesel, these cars aren’t really old enough to be plagued with issues. With high mileage cars it’s worth being careful, though. Check the basics to make sure everything works and that there are no unusual noises, knocks or rattles when driving.

    The engines are pretty bulletproof although watch out for the usual minor diesel issues such as clogged breather pipes, MAF sensors, actuators and very occasionally turbo trouble. The six-speed automatic is also strong but the odd clunky downchange when pulling to a stop can occur. This is usually resolved with a simple software update or self-learn reset.

    As always, big, heavy BMWs with lots of power are hard on the brakes so find out when they were last replaced. Replacement pads from a budget make can be had for as little as £45. Tyres, too, are an expense to be aware of so check when it last had a set and that they are wearing evenly. All Sevens came with run-flat tyres and 18-inch wheels as standard, but plenty have 19- or 20-inch wheels fitted. They ride on these better than other models manage but the bigger you go the harsher is it is. Aside from the odd stone chip or blemish the bodywork should be in good condition, so signs of rust, odd panel gaps and different coloured paint should be avoided.

    On the inside, whilst driving listen out for any annoying rattles, particularly from the sunroof and headlining, B-pillar trim and top section of the dashboard. Importantly, try and check everything electrical works as it should although you may be there a while! Also check for any warning lights or messages, as battery drain is quite common on these cars and it triggers all sorts of dash lights.
    Why should you buy one?

    Although it’s nice to dream about buying the twinturbo V12-powered 760Li, in the real world the #BMW-730d is the practical choice that you can actually live with, especially if you plan on doing a few miles in it, which it happens to be very good at. Whereas the previous 7 Series models felt and drove like very big cars, the F01 was better. It was still a big car physically but with reduced weight and new doublewishbone suspension up front it could feel like a much more agile car on the road. On top of that there’s the luxury and sense of occasion you get from driving a car that cost over £55,000 back in 2008 and £58,000 in 2012.

    Running costs

    Despite their young age, don’t expect bills to be as cheap as a 1 Series. General servicing costs are more expensive than most other models but on the plus side the diesels rarely require little more than regular check-ups. They are cheaper to run than you might think, too. The earlier cars were listed as returning 41.5mpg and in the real world an average of just below 40mpg was feasible. Be careful with your right foot on a run and you could return above 40mpg.

    Tax brackets vary depending on what year the car is and models up until August 2009 cost £260 for a year. From then, until the facelift came along in 2012, the price reduced to a reasonable £220 a year. The better performing and more efficient 2012 engine came coupled to the eight-speed gearbox which reduced emissions massively, and tax went down to a bargain £140 a year. It was also better on fuel, with a claimed 50.5mpg on paper it was possible to see above that on a carefully controlled run, although the average levelled out nearer 45mpg. That’s still exceptional given its size, weight and performance.


    If you’ve got the best part of £20,000 to invest in your next car and fancy something a little different, it’s hard to ignore the 730d. Ride quality, build quality and comfort levels are unrivalled by any other BMW and the diesel engines offer good performance with practical running costs that make ownership a serious option. If you can stretch to the later 2012 model then that practicality aspect is multiplied with even better economy and performance coupled with much lower tax, too. For the price of a new 1 Series it’s hard to justify why you wouldn’t treat yourself to a Seven.

    Tech data #BMW-730d-F01 / #BMW-730d-F02
    ENGINE: Straight-six, 24-valve, turbo-diesel #N57
    CAPACITY: 2993cc
    MAX POWER: 245hp (258)
    MAX TORQUE: 369lb ft (412)
    0-62MPH: 7.2 seconds (6.2)
    TOP SPEED: 152mph (155)
    ECONOMY: 41.5mpg (51.5)
    PRICE NEW: £54,160 (58,115) () for 2012 face-lift
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    BMW F01 drivers and fun Club

    BMW F01 drivers and fun Club
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