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    Chris Graham

    Buying Guide BMW E65/E66 7 Series

    Posted in Cars on Saturday, 07 July 2018

    Buying an E65/E66 7 Series. High-tech bargain or unreliable, expensive nightmare? We tell all. A step too far? If you enjoy your creature comforts as well as driving pleasure, and are feeling daring, then something from the E65 7 Series range could be just the ticket, as Chris Graham explains.

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    BMW-760Li-E66 / CLASSIC ON THE CUSP / CHASING CARS Quentin Willson’s hot tips

    / #BMW-760Li-E66 / #BMW-E66 / #BMW-E65 / #BMW-760Li / #BMW / #BMW-V12 / #V12 / #BMW-7-Series / #BMW-7-Series-E66 / #BMW-7-Series-E65 / #BMW-7-Series-LWB / #BMW-760Li-Yachtline-Concept-E66 / #2002 / #BMW-760Li-Yachtline-Concept / #2002-BMW-760Li-Yachtline-Concept-E66

    COST NEW £90k
    VALUE NOW £10k

    BMW’s long-wheelbase #V12-7-Series was born in a pre-recession world. Back then excess was a badge of rank and the superlatives piled up – plush, fast, huge, silent, smooth, rare and, above all, selfish. The 21st century equivalent of a long-wheelbase Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud (ironically it shares engine architecture with the current RR Ghost), the lengthened 760 was the ultimate luxo-limo for CEOs of PLCs.

    Like almost all limousines early depreciation had the downward momentum of a falling Steinway. Back in 2003 you could spec up a 760Li and shell out nearly £100k. That same car with a modest mileage 15 years later is now worth ten grand. Craignairn Cars in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, has a mint #Orient-Blue #2003 with 64,000 miles and £12,800 of factory extras for just £9995. And it comes with a full BMW dealer history plus a titled owner in the V5. What’s not to love?

    Don’t get me wrong, a ten-grand 760 won’t be an investment, but as something utterly wonderful for discreet weekend wafting it’s worth losing £5k for a couple of years of feeling like Bill Gates. It might not even cost you that much because there are only 117 examples registered on the DVLA database so they’re rare enough to develop desirability.

    As well as the extra length, you also get soft-close doors, heated, cooled and massaging front and rear power seats, rear-window blinds and side curtains, TV, dynamic damping and your very own iDrive control in the rear compartment to override the chauffeur’s one up front.

    A private seller in Solihull has a 2007 in Burgundy with 57k, full history and a nice private reg for £13,000. And if you really want a keeper how about this one? Advertised in Manchester is a 2003 in silver with just 7000 miles from new and described as ‘totally perfect’ for £19,300. And yes, I hear you say that any big bills could easily contain four figures, but apart from high-pressure fuel pumps and the need for a gearbox service at 50,000 miles, the trade says 760s aren’t that bad. But this is one used super-saloon that categorically needs a full BMW dealer history complete with a sheaf of receipts.

    Therefore, shop with great care and only go for sensible-mileage cars and you should be OK. The 760Li was a neo-classic from the day it was born, but having withered down to as little as £10,000 they’ve become a compelling opportunity.
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    Seven eleven? #BMW-760Li-E66 / #BMW-760Li / #BMW-760i-E65 / #BMW-E65 / #BMW-E66 / #BMW-7-Series / #BMW-7-Series-E65 / #2011 / #2008 / #BMW /

    On the streets of Dublin, I have several times noted an interesting curiosity. It’s a blue E65 7 Series long wheelbase, registration plate starting with an 11. The significance of this is that the 11 means it was manufactured in 2011. As everybody knows, E65 went off production lines sometime in mid-2008. There were 100,000 cars, vans and trucks registered in Ireland in 2011, so from the rest of the plate (which we’ve not written in full here ~ Ed) it’s likely to mean it was Q1/Q2 2011. I checked motor tax records at www.motortax.ie, and weirdly there is no record of it (even though I checked in the past tens of other cars and always found out how much tax was due for a given regplate).

    However, www.cartell.ie says it’s a 2011 #BMW-760Li (5975cc capacity). Needless to say, I know it was an E65. I owned one and I can distinguish it from afar from the more modern F02 model that should have been produced in 2011. My question is: do you have any idea where such vehicle could have come from? Have you ever heard of a BMW that has been mysteriously manufactured three years after production ceased?

    Perhaps it’s some diplomatic stuff or an armoured vehicle finished in 2011 (i.e the armouring modifications being so pervasive that it took so long to be registered vehicle)? Or fake plates (I was considering reporting it to the police, but I’ve seen this E65 a few times driving always around the same spot so I doubt it’s fake plates, rather somebody commuting to work). It’s been puzzling me for the last few months, so if you have any ideas how an E65 can have a 2011 registration plate I’d be delighted to hear it. Which brings me to the other thing I wanted to ask. I’ve been searching for an E23, the first 7 Series and nearly bought one (thanks BMW Car for pointing me to the issue with the E23 Buying Guide). However, my family will be expanding soon, and I will need some more modern technology for commuting, so it leaves me with an E65 (in addition to my current E60 5 Series petrol wheels, which at 25mpg for my daily 30-mile drive leaves much to be desired in terms of economy). Can you let me know which BMW-Car featured a Buying Guide to the E65 7 Series?

    And one more thing: I was just reading the latest January 2017 issue of the mag and loved the feature about the new 5 Series. Fantastic car. However, it think there might have been a little gremlin: you quoted economy for the 540i as over 60mpg and CO² emissions of only 128g/km (same as for 530d) – if it’s not a gremlin then, wow, nice economy and emissions. As usual, looking forward to the next issue.
    • We’re afraid this one has got us stumped Michal and we can’t offer you a definitive answer. Could it be that the car was ordered in 2008 and then cancWe’re afraid this one has got us stumped Michal and we can’t offer you a definitive answer. Could it be that the car was ordered in 2008 and then cancelled at the last minute as the global recession hit hard? It’s just possible it sat unsold for the ensuing two-and-a-half years as we can’t imagine there were too many folk willing to drop €100,000 on a gas guzzler that had just been superceded, especially given the economic conditions. We’re also not sure how the Irish registration system works… could it have been imported from another country in 2011 and mistakenly given a 2011 plate rather than an age related one? Perhaps you can attract the driver’s attention one day and get to the bottom of the mystery?

      As far as a Buying Guide for the E65 Seven is concerned, the last in-depth guide we did was in November 2015, which covered the V8 petrol models, while for an overview of the 730d the last piece we did was a Ten Minute Guide in September 2012. And, yes, well spotted on the 5 Series gremlin – see Five Gremlins opposite.
        More ...
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    Fancy an Alpina B7 but don’t have the £115,000 required for a new one? Then how about a used E65? It’s a great car for a very reasonable amount of money… Words: Matt Robinson. Photography: Chris Wallbank.

    Old School Rules

    We look back at one of Alpina’s ultimate executive expresses, the stunning E65 B7.

    Chris Bangle – a genius ahead of his time or the man who wreaked the most stylistic havoc on the BMW canon in the marque’s storied history? It’s a debate that continues to rage to this day, seven years after the controversial, bearded American left Munich for design pastures new. It’s an argument in which we’re not going to try and convince you one way or the other if your mind is already made up but we will at least pin our colours to the mast and say we think he was definitely onto something good with his work. His era of flame-surfaced BMWs remain classy and elegant today, with the subsequent models that followed not exuding quite the same crisp lines or distinctive appearance. For instance, the original Z4, with the pre-facelift round rear light clusters, could be argued to be the prettiest #BMW roadster of the lot.

    The E60/61 5 Series, in M Sport guise and on big wheels, can even to this day still elicit a ‘phwoar’ from us when it drifts past on a motorway. And the E63/64 6 Series? That’s surely Bangle’s finest hour… Perhaps his most controversial design, though, was the fourth-generation 7 Series, known as the E65 in short-wheelbase form and E66 as the stretched variant. It really was a shock to the system when it launched in 2001 with its ‘eyebrow’ front lights and a very, very American rear. However, it was dramatically face-lifted in 2005 into a model that was perhaps more widely acceptable, if a little less idiosyncratic. And it’s that post-facelift E65 that we’re looking at here, in its ultimate guise as the storming Alpina B7.

    Developed in the era when Buchloe went from a confusing mishmash of letters and numbers for its cars (C2? A1? B12?) to simply designating the letter ‘B’ and then the series number of the BMW it was based on, the mighty B7 took the then-biggest Munich V8 in the form of the 4.4-litre M62 and slapped a mechanically-driven radial supercharger onto the side of it to liberate massive numbers of 500hp and 516lb ft of torque.

    That compares well to the recently launched current B7, based on the sixth-gen G11 7 Series, which also has a forced induction 4.4-litre V8 – albeit a twin-turbo unit – rated at 608hp and 590lb ft, all for £115,000. It’ll do 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds and a top speed of 205mph, numbers that aren’t a huge step above the old 2006 model’s 4.9-second time and 187mph. And you can bag this particular example, in trademark Alpina ‘Dunkelsaphirblaumetallic’ paint, resplendent in side stripes and sitting on a 21-inch set of 20-spoke ‘cotton reels’, for less than half the price of the new car. It’s on sale at Kahn Design in Bradford, a specialist in rare exotica including Alpinas; it was here where we recently sampled the ultra-limited V8 Roadster based on the Z8. At the time of writing, Kahn actually has two B7s on the stock sheets: this 2006 car that began life in Japan that’s on sale for £49,995; and a left-hand drive pre-facelift model with a black interior up at £39,975. So, if you can stomach the challenging looks and sitting on the wrong side of the car, you could save even more cash on the older Alpina.

    However, it’s car No.111 out of a global build run of just 141 units that we think represents all that is good about the Bovensiepen family’s concern. There’s a lack of ostentatiousness (big lip spoiler on the bootlid notwithstanding) about this executive express that truly appeals. No quad exhausts, no overtly loud soundtrack on start-up – it’s just a cultured saloon car that happens to have a really, really potent engine.

    It’s also as close to a new one as you’ll get if you want an E65 B7. It has covered just 36,000km, or around 22,500 miles, and the bodywork looks pristine, free from rust and dings and generally in what you could accurately call showroom condition. The same goes for the interior, which is finished in cream and is free from rips, tears, squeaks and rattles. Everything works as it should, and there’s a lot of technology on the E65 that could go wrong, while the Alpina logo is present and correct on the dashboard trim, with Buchloe’s rhoms and roundels on the seats and the armrests on the doors. It’s a classic look for an Alpina.

    There’s nothing classic about the driving experience, though, because this is a modern enough performance car that still feels epically quick on the road. When the E65 B7 first appeared in 2004, the story went that while it was testing on the Nürburgring, it was going at such pace along the main straight that the E46 M3 CSLs, also undergoing factory shakedown, were receiving aerodynamic tows from the big barge to cut their lap times. Astonishing.

    And this example feels every bit as strong as that claim. The B7 burbles out of Bradford in an exquisite display of luxury limo comfort, the ride supple, the throttle beautifully judged and the V8 motor quiet and hushed. Bizarrely, the sat nav hasn’t been updated for European spec as yet, so the car thinks we’re in a prefecture of Japan, just outside Tokyo; such a cutting-edge place is a world away from the faded woollen mills and Victorian industrial buildings of this particular area of West Yorkshire.

    But then, as we emerge onto winding moorland roads, the chance to open the Alpina up presents itself and suddenly the absent-minded sheep ambling along the Tarmac are in very grave danger of becoming mutton, courtesy of a two-ton Bavarian missile. Wow, the 4.4 has absolutely monster pick-up. It’s connected to the six-speed Alpina Switchtronic transmission, which – during the city driving phase – is predicated to setting off in second gear, making the gearbox seem like a lazy, smooth five-speeder. But out here, with the throttle pushed to the bulkhead, the Switchtronic awakens, offering crisp downshifts out of bends and firing in the next ratio going up the transmission when accelerating rapidly along the straights.

    The B7’s rich, baritone voice is more pronounced, too, once the tacho gets past the 2500rpm point, but as this is an old school, torque-rich V8, there aren’t loads of revs to play with. No matter; make the best use of that 516lb ft midrange and the Alpina simply hurtles along. It’s incredible to think, when experiencing its military-grade firepower, that the B7 couldn’t usurp the iconic E34 B10 Biturbo (188mph) as the fastest Alpina of all time; it had to allow the E60-based B5 of 2005 that signal honour, the 195mph Five, of course, using precisely the same drivetrain as the B7.

    Also fitted to the Kahn Alpina is the optional Dynamic Drive active anti-roll system, which genuinely does allow the B7 to change direction with an alacrity that speaks more of the 3 Series, rather than a gigantic Seven. Shame, then, that the steering is rather too US-spec – light and lacking feel. It’s direct enough and the Alpina turns in keenly but if you’ve driven a lot of performance BMWs over the years this will feel like a woolly setup. You probably also won’t be using the Switchtronic plus and minus buttons, mounted on the back of the steering wheel, to change gear, because they’re not as intuitive as a good paddle-shift is nowadays and the six-speed autobox is fine left to its own devices in D.

    The rest of the Alpina B7’s dynamic make-up is excellent. Large 374mm front, 370mm rear discs lifted from the contemporary 7 Series do a fine job of hauling the saloon down from high speeds with little drama, while Buchloe also felt the standard suspension of the E65 was more than capable of dealing with the grunt of the supercharged engine. And for all those occasions when you can’t utilise the 4.4-litre’s massive reserves, then the doubleglazed windows and impressive aerodynamics make the B7 a near-silent cruiser. The only fly in the ointment is the early version of iDrive still fitted to the car, which does have the menu shortcut button, but which features the eight-way options click override. It’s nothing like as nice and simple to operate as BMW’s current software, but that’s the price you pay for a 500hp rarity like this.

    At almost £50,000, this is not a cheap example of the E65 7 Series; you could probably get yourself in a V12 760Li for less than half as much again. But, given Alpina sold just 11 of these E65 B7s in the UK during a three-year period, it is almost certainly an appreciating classic and the chance of getting behind the wheel of such a collector’s piece, that looks so stunning in this particular colour combination and which has clearly been very well looked after in its previous life, seems like too good an opportunity to miss. An utterly brilliant, super-scarce, 187mph super saloon for less than the price of a fully specified modern day hyper hatch? Seems like a no-brainer to us.

    CONTACT: Kahn Design / Tel: 01274 749999 / Web: www.kahndesign.com

    Suddenly the sheep ambling along the Tarmac are in very grave danger of becoming mutton, courtesy of a two-ton Bavarian missile.

    TECHNICAL DATA #2006 / #BMW-Alpina-B7-E65 / #Alpina-B7-E65 / #Alpina-B7 / #Alpina-E65 / #BMW-E65 / #BMW / #Alpina / #BMW-E65-Alpina / #BMW-7-Series / #BMW-7-Series-E65 / #BMW-7-Series-SWB / #BMW-7-Series-Alpina /

    ENGINE: #V8 , 32-valve, #supercharged
    CAPACITY: 4398cc
    TRANSMISSION: Six-speed #Alpina-Switch-Tronic / #ZF6HP
    MAX POWER: 500hp @ 5500rpm
    MAX TORQUE: 516lb ft @ 4250rpm
    0-62MPH: 4.9 seconds
    STANDING KM: 22.9 seconds
    TOP SPEED: 187mph
    ECONOMY: 22.1mpg
    CO2 EMISSIONS: 306g/km
    WEIGHT: 1960kg
    PRICE (new): £78,950 (2005)
    PRICE (today): For car 111 of 141: £49,995

    The B7 features a wonderfully opulent cabin with swathes of leather and alcantara along with Alpina’s trademark wood trim.
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    Antonio Ghini
    Antonio Ghini created a new discussion
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      Posted on Saturday, 29 October 2016

    By and large, the six-speed ZF automatic box as introduced in the 2001 E65 7 Series models has been a very good unit capable of putting up with high mileages. However, it does have faults and we’ve mentioned sticking valves in the Mechatronics valve ...

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