- Post is under moderationBMW-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.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationSeven 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.
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- 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 ...
- Post is under moderationFancy 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
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
CO2 EMISSIONS: 306g/km
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.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderation/ #BMW / That #V8 coolant tube again! / #BMW-N62 / #N62 / V8 / #BMW /
There seems to be some confusion over the dreaded coolant tube on the N62 3.6- and 4.4-litre V8 engines, as fitted to the #BMW-E60 / #BMW-E63 / #BMW-E65 and others. The seal at the front of the tube fails with age and the first you know of this is that coolant is dripping from the small hole in the front timing case next to the water pump. On removing the inlet manifold and valley pan top cover, you’ll see that it’s full of coolant. Don’t worry, it’s supposed to be! This is how the inner sides of the cylinders are cooled. The leak actually occurs between the block and the front timing cover. If the seal just drips a bit, you could perhaps try and block the hole with a bolt but there will come a time when the seal really does let go and pressurised coolant will breach a gasket and allow coolant into the oil.
As well as the well-known expanding tubes from URO, All German Autos and the like, there is another less labour intensive repair for approximately $200 dollars that involves removing the water pump and sleeving the existing tube with an alloy tube sleeve and some sealer. What this does is bridge the joint between the pipe and front cover using the alloy tube and some serious sealer. The kit comes with various sanding bits and brushes to apply the sealer with – although taking that approach, if you could find out the internal diameter of the BMW pipe, what’s to stop you getting a short section of alloy tube and some high temp sealer?
As we alluded to earlier on, as cars get older and things go wrong, there’s always someone with a clever solution. Overall, the expanding tube idea is the best solution and the URO one is around $200 – available from online retailer Amazon.Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
- Post is under moderationPhil Waqairoba #BMW-E66 / #BMW-750Li / #BMW-750Li-E66 / #BMW-7-Series / #BMW-7-Series-E66 / #BMW-7-Series-E65 / #BMW-E65 / #2006 / #BMW
Phil’s 2006 750Li is the ultimate luxury machine, which he’s enhanced with a few choice mods. When he bought the car a year ago it was on 22” X5 wheels but these have been replaced with a set of tasty staggered #Rohana-RC10 s, also 22s. They’re nice on their own, but look better still with the big Seven sitting 30mm lower, while the head and tail-lights as well as the windows have all been tinted, adding hint of menace. Finally, there’s a custom rear box with 90mm pipes, courtesy of MStyle, which gives this 750 a proper #V8 soundtrack.
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- Post is under moderationBuying Guide Why not treat yourself to a little bit of luxury in the form of the bargainous E65 7 Series? BMW E65 V8 7 series. The E65 was a shock when it arrived but it’s actually aged rather well and the V8 versions in particular offer staggering value for money as a used buy. Words: Andy Everett and Bob Harper. Photography: #BMW . #2006 / #2001 / #2007 / #BMW-E65 / #BMW-750i-E65 / #BMW-750i / #BMW-750Li / #BMW-745i-E65 / #BMW-735i-E65 / #BMW-740i-E65 / #BMW-E66 / #BMW-750Li-E66 / #BMW-745Li-E66 / #BMW-E66
There’s no doubt that when the E65/E66 #BMW-7-Series arrived on the scene back in 2001 it was a big shock. Huge, in fact. The three generations of car that had preceded it had possessed a certain understated style – they might have been the all-singing, all-dancing range-toppers packing the latest up-to-date technology but they didn’t shout about it with the way they looked. So it was understandable when jaws dropped and tongues wagged with the arrival of the E65 7 Series.
Whereas the previous machines had managed to hide their size with delicate styling it almost seemed that with the E65, Adrian van Hooydonk (the car’s chief designer) had gone out of his way to make it seem as big and as imposing as possible. And dare we say it, a little ugly, too. The kidney grilles were huge, the headlights gave it the look of a lugubrious drunk waking up after a particularly heavy session and the slab sides led to the famous bootlid treatment that was soon dubbed the ‘Bangle Butt’. Pretty? No. Imposing? Yes.
But it wasn’t just the exterior that shocked the BMW world as inside there were so many new things to get used to. The handbrake was BMW’s first electronic effort – a push button to the right of the steering wheel on the dash and the gear lever had moved to the steering column… which made space on the centre console for the new, all-singing, all-dancing iDrive system. We’ve become accustomed to this over the ensuing 14 years or so but back in 2001 it took a little getting used to, especially as in its first incarnation the iDrive was far from intuitive and clunky in some respects – changing radio stations was a very awkward process for those of us brought up on push button presets.
So far we haven’t really painted very positive picture of the Seven, but while there was much to confuse and confuddle new owners there was also plenty to like. Performance and economy were both pretty decent from the new Valvetronic V8s and there was so much gadgetry packed into the car that it could more or less do anything. And the best bit is that today you could be running around in one from as little as around £4000. There are cheaper ones out there but we reckon you’d probably be best avoiding the lowest end of the E65 market as you could end up buying a whole heap of trouble. The best news is that large petrol V8 engined limos aren’t in huge demand right now so you should be able to bag a bargain – you’ll struggle to spend more than £10k on one of these and that would be for a low mileage later face-lifted example with full history and all the bells and whistles.
We’re concentrating on the V8 models here – diesels are more expensive – and there’s something about the E65 that really suits the urgency of the V8’s performance. If you do a high mileage it probably won’t be your cup of tea, but if you tend to cover a lower than average distance in your car then you do get a huge amount of bang for your buck with an E65.
The 7 Series was initially launched with a 272hp 3.5-litre V8 and a 333hp 4.5-litre V8 and while both engines were more than capable of punting the Seven along at a considerable pace thanks to the inclusion of double #Vanos and Valvetronic, it was the 4.5-litre version that would prove to be the best option. The extra 61hp and 66lb ft of torque meant a 0-62mph time of 6.3 seconds compared to the 735i’s 7.6 seconds and the difference in fuel economy between the 735i and 745i was so small that the latter was the obvious choice for those with the extra £4000 to spend.
Both cars were very well spec’d as standard and all V8s came with DSC, PDC, leather upholstery, 18-inch alloys, sat nav, BMW Professional radio and Hi-Fi speaker system, CD changer, dual-zone auto air-con, Dynamic Drive, electric front seats and cruise control. The long wheelbase Li models added selflevelling rear suspension and a sun-blind for the rear windscreen. There was also a Sport option, and while it lacked a body kit, it did include 19-inch wheels, Sports suspension, High-gloss Shadowline trim, Sports seats, a three-spoke wheel and matt Vavona wood.
Naturally enough the options list was extensive and you could have spent the price of a 3 Series on upgrades, if you so wanted. Electronic damper control (£760), bi-xenon lights (£470), Logic7 speaker system (£500), Comfort seats (£1160 for the front and £1960 at the back), Club leather (£2860) and a rear entertainment package (£2250) gives you some idea of what was on offer. You could also have heated, cooling and massage seats, soft close doors, double glazing and a TV, too.
In 2005, the E65 received a face-lift, which softened its hard-edged features and, to our eyes, gave it a much more pleasant visage, even if it did lose some of its outright aggression. The styling changes were subtle but made a big difference, resulting in a far more cohesive design, with slightly larger kidney grilles, reshaped headlights with floating angel eyes, a larger front valence and restyled foglights, while at the back the rear bumper was mildly tweaked, the light clusters now wrapped around the bootlid and a thin chrome strip ran from edge to edge just above the numberplate. On the inside there was nicer wood trim and revised iDrive with a reshaped, leather topped controller. The V8s were upgraded, too, with the arrival of a 306hp 740i to replace the 735i and the 750i with its 367hp 4.8- litre engine replacing the 745i.
Over the year there were some minor spec changes but broadly speaking the V8 machines remained unchanged, although a sunroof became standard and Dynamic Drive was demoted to being an option during the car’s life. Eventually the E65 bowed out in 2008 to be replaced by the first of the F Generation machines, the F01 7 Series.
Wheels, tyres and brakes
The E65 came on a variety of 18- and 19-inch wheels; 17s were available on the six-cylinder cars only. 18- and 19-inch tyres are relatively inexpensive these days. You can get a set of four 245/50x18 Hankooks fitted for around £400 or a pair of front Pirellis for £250. 19-inch wheels? A pair of 245/45x19 Dunlop SP Sports are just over £260 and a pair of 275/40x19 Vredesteins about the same. Chinese tyre companies like Maxxis, Landsail and Davanti are on the ball these days – pay around £80- 90 each for these sizes and all three have decent wear, noise and wet grip ratings.
Regarding the brakes, discs and pads can be bought from the aftermarket, with quality brake discs like Pagid being around £110 a pair and front pads under £40 for the set. Brake hydraulics are good, and even the ABS block doesn’t seem to give much trouble. If it does, forget buying new as it’s pricey but reckon on £250 for a good used one. Valvetronic engines use a diesel type brake vacuum pump.
These can fail (very hard brake pedal) and a new pump is £373. The E65 was the first BMW with an electronic handbrake. They use conventional calipers and the usual rear discs with the handbrake shoes inside. A big electric motor in the transmission tunnel area pulls on the handbrake cables and this system is generally okay… as long as the battery doesn’t go flat, that is!
The E65 completely eradicated the E38’s tendency to suffer from scabby rust – it really is a superbly built car. Double glazed glass can sometimes suffer ‘milking’ in the corners and edges. Make sure the spare wheel well is bone dry. If not it could be down to tired lamp gaskets or the boot seal; both these can be rejuvenated by Vaseline, if they’re not damaged. The vertical felt window channels need a shot of spray grease so the windows power up and down smoothly, taking the strain off the regulators. The window regulators are quite robust. Door handles also need a shot of spray grease occasionally, too. Ensure the sunroof drains are clear as a blocked one will soak the front carpet, damaging any modules underneath, such as the DSC system’s yaw sensor (passenger front). Bonnet release levers can break if the release latches haven’t been lubricated.
The first thing you need to do is to make sure that an E65 is for you. It’s a pretty large machine so make sure it’ll fit in your garage/parking space and that it’s not going to be too big for your needs. If you’re looking at a pre-face-lift car you’ll also need to make sure you can get along with the iDrive system – it’s much harder to grapple with than the revised version in the later cars. With the familiarity that ownership brings, though, we reckon everyone should be able to get to grips with it.
Once you’re satisfied you still want one you’ll need to decide as to which engine suits you best – the 745i and 750i do seem more common than the two smaller-engined machines so you’ll have more choice with the bigger power units. But if the right car comes up in the right spec we wouldn’t discount any of the engine options. All are capable of covering ground pretty rapidly and servicing and economy costs hardly vary between the four cars. Try and hunt down an original brochure for the E65 and decide which options you really want – air conditioned massage seats might be enjoyable but you’ll severely restrict your choice of cars if you limit yourself to having certain options. And while soft close doors and auto opening bootlids are nice to have, they do add complexity – and potentially cost – when they go wrong. If your air conditioned seat stops working you can live with it, but if your door or the boot won’t shut, you can’t! In terms of cost to repair, the big ticket items to avoid would be electronic damper control, Dynamic Drive and self-levelling rear suspension. Otherwise the normal rules apply; look at as many as you can and get a feel for how they drive. Look for full history and evidence of recent expenditure and buy the best you can afford.
The original N62 was used in the 735i and 745 and it’s a good reliable unit. It uses VVT #Valvetronic technology yet is far less prone to the issues that afflict the four-cylinder N42 (VVT motors, timing chains, eccentric shafts and so on). However, it does have problems in old age. The first one is oil consumption due to worn rings/bores and anything that’s a bit smoky is best avoided. Cars that have had regular oil and filter changes as well as long trips won’t suffer from this, and we’d recommend an oil and filter change every year or 10,000 miles using a fully synthetic oil. The other problem is the coolant cross tube in the block. On the previous M62 V8 (E39, E38 etc), the tube was removable without a massive amount of dismounting but for the N62, BMW engineers designed it so the tube is sandwiched between the block and the front timing case. The official repair is engine out, heads and sump off, which is around 30 hours of labour. Companies in the US sell an expanding tube that requires around six hours of labour but the part is still a few hundred dollars to buy. I’ve managed to repair one of these using a modified version of a standard BMW pipe and it cost around £600 – far more cost-effective on a £3500 car.
N62s also like to leak oil. The plastic cam cover gaskets are the main culprit but if they aren’t badly cracked or distorted then a new rubber gasket, some proper quality sealer and careful fitting can reduce or eliminate this.
The later units on the 740i and 750i from 2005 (N62N units) are reckoned to be a better engine in terms of the bore wear and cam cover leaks but that’s just because they’re newer. The cam covers were improved in late 2006 but any N62 variant that’s been properly maintained will be fine. Head gasket problems are very rare. Vanos units can fail but they’re more reliable than on the four-cylinder cars; sadly though, the vanos units and VVT motors are not the same as the four-cylinder units and used parts are rare. The DIVA variable intake manifold system seems to be reliable, too, but most of these cars will now need to have the crankcase ventilation system replaced – the oil separator valve and its rubber pipes.
No matter what year or engine it has, the car must run perfectly smoothly. A new MoT is a fair indicator that the engine is running fine, as any problems with over-fuelling, misfires or the VVT system not working correctly will result in a fail on emissions. A new VVT motor is £230.
Cooling system prices? From BMW a radiator is £461 and a water pump £256 – pay £175 for a Hella radiator and £67 for a Circoli water pump.
Steering and suspension
Here is where money can be consumed. The E65 is a heavy car and at over ten years and 100,000 miles, you may well need to replace parts.
The E65 comes with three separate suspension types: standard cars; EDC; and Dynamic Drive. The standard Boge Sachs dampers have a good long life and even at 100,000 miles they’re generally still okay. They’re £311 each from BMW and about half that from Boge via ECP. On to the EDC; many E65s come with it and front struts cost over £800 each. Dynamic Drive, though, is another can of worms. If its anti-roll bar motors start leaking it needs to be replaced, costing £1527. In other words, then, it’s probably worth avoiding. The original 735i and 745i brochures claimed that it was standard equipment but it was a common option on these cars. By the time the E65 was face-lifted in ’05, it was standard only on the V12 cars. If the car you’re looking at does have it, inspect the roll bars carefully for leaks and pray.
The rest of it is down to wishbones, balljoints and bushes. After a slow start, the aftermarket has caught up with the E65 and you can now buy standard type front dampers as well as suspension arms, drop links and bushes from the likes of Euro Car Parts. You will struggle to find a servotronic steering rack though (£2000 new) and this is where breakers come in useful. Be aware, though, that E65s are not being scrapped at anything like the rate that the E38 is. E65s are still in demand and breakers are having to buy complete running cars to service the demand for used parts.
This is the area where most of the E65’s ills will be found. Early cars were a bit of a disaster with a multitude of problems such as all the windows opening at once randomly and plenty of other glitches. However, BMW got on the case and worked hard to rectify this and these early cars should all have been modified by the dealers at each service as software upgrades came along plus, of course, warranty repairs. By 2004 the car was pretty much debugged but that’s not to say they’re perfect because no car of this age and complexity can ever be. The battery really is the life source of the E65. It has to be both the right amperage, correctly coded to the car’s battery control module, and it must also be in perfect condition. Anything less and the car will misbehave – even new cars in BMW showrooms that had been sat overnight with the interior light left on would be a pain until the battery had been trickle charged and any fault codes erased.
There are many options on the E65 to add to the complexity – electronic damper control, tyre pressure control, automatic bootlid actuation, comfort access, soft closing doors, heated comfort seats, active cruise control, TV function and so on. The iDrive system was in its infancy in 2001 and it does take some getting used to, both if you’re coming from a pre-iDrive era car or regressing from a newer one. The CD player in the glovebox can fail and the sat nav is at the age now where a TomTom stuck to the screen can do a better job as it can often crash, as can the iDrive system, while the radio is known for just stopping dead. If you buy an E65, you may as well put your voltmeter on eBay because to fix one of these you need a laptop with both INPA and a clever 12-year-old to tell you how to use it. Do not underestimate the E65’s capacity for generating odd electronic problems.
Much of what goes wrong here is covered in electrics but there are a few titbits. Steering wheels can look a bit ropey at this age, particularly the earlier ones with the light coloured leather. Unless the leather is damaged it’s best to do any reconditioning with the wheel on the car as removing it will require the use of diagnostics to recode it, particularly the airbag warning light. The E65 was the first BMW to use the current type key and starter button and, as it wears, the key and steering lock can become recalcitrant. Whilst it’s possible to take it apart and just remove the steering lock peg, this is now an MoT fail as it needs to work. They can be reprogrammed with wider parameters to cure this, and Grosvenor Garage in Reading is adept at this.
Finally, radio reception problems can often be caused by a failed diversity amplifier, and a new one is often a better plan that trying a used one – they are not as failure prone as those used on the 5 Series Touring, for example.
Transmission and drivetrain
The E65 broke new ground in 2001, having a sixspeed automatic gearbox with mechatronics. Mechatronics means that the gearbox ECU is combined with the valve body in the gearbox itself but despite the ECU being immersed in hot oil, it actually very rarely fails. The actual valve body unit can, however. On the previous five-speeder, the two halves of the valve block had a paper gasket in between but due to higher line pressure, the sixspeed valve block uses a special black sealer that is applied at the factory. In old age it’s quite possible that a bit of sealer can get blown out, leading to a pressure drop in that circuit. This will show up as a harsh shift as the ECU tries to compensate.
A harsh first to second (and vice versa) shift is common so you need to see if a software update resolves this. Early cars did have a number of software updates to improve the unit but if the car has this problem then either another gearbox is needed or a new Mechatronics unit from BMW, at £3000. Other problems include the finned plastic sump/filter unit leaking and the only answer is a new sump – they aren’t silly expensive at £165. As for oil and filter changes, these units are sealed for life but a new sump/filter and topping up with the correct unit will do it no harm at all. The gearbox can also leak oil from the rubber gasket around the electrical plug in the side of the box and, as there is no dipstick, any oil leaks must be rectified immediately.
Apart from these issues, the six-speed ’box is a good tough unit that doesn’t suffer from split brake drums like there previous five-speed ’box did. There can be problems with the electronic selector switch on the column but, overall, the transmission is surprisingly reliable. The propshaft and differential almost never give any trouble.
Should you buy an E65? If you’re brave and like gadgets then go for it. 14 years ago, the E65 really was a tremendous thing and even now a good one is an incredible blend of dynamic ability, intriguing gadgets and sheer go. The 745i and 750i really do shift and the smaller-engined versions are not shy either. We think in time, the E65 (particularly the preface- lift) will become a cult car because it really did move the game along. As ever, avoid the cheaper cars that don’t come with invoices and a well-stamped service book – they are not worth having unless they’re cheap and you’re useful with spanners; if all else fails, you can make a decent profit breaking it! Good ones with 100,000 miles or less start at £4000 and if you’re less than confident about checking it out then getting a BMW dealer or specialist to put it on a ramp for an hour to check everything, including the emissions, will definitely be money well spent.
BMW DEALER SPECIALIST
OIL SERVICE £165 £175
OIL SERVICE PLUS MICRO FILTER £285 £227
BRAKE FLUID £81 £64
VEHICLE CHECK £79 £79
FRONT BRAKE PADS £207 £160
REAR BRAKE PADS £212 £158
Service prices courtesy of Sytner BMW Sheffield (0114 275 5077) and Grosvenor Motor Company, Reading (0118 958 3481). Prices are inclusive of parts and VAT.
E65 7 Series – V8 models 735i / 740i / 745i / 750i
ENGINE: V8, 32-valve V8, 32-valve V8, 32-valve V8, 32-valve #N62 / #N62B36 / #N62B40 / #N62B44 / #N62B48
CAPACITY: 3600cc 4000cc 4398cc 4799cc
MAX POWER: 272hp @ 6200rpm 306hp @ 6300rpm 333hp @ 6100rpm 367hp @ 6300rpm
MAX TORQUE: 266lb ft @ 3700rpm 288lb ft @ 3500rpm 332lb ft @ 3600rpm 361lb ft @ 3400rpm
0-62MPH: 7.5 seconds 6.8 seconds 6.3 seconds 5.9 seconds
TOP SPEED: 155mph 155mph 155mph 155mph
ECONOMY: 26.4mpg 25.2mpg 25.9mpg 24.8mpg
EMISSIONS CO2: 259g/km 267g/km 263g/km 271g/km
PRICE (NEW): £52,750 (2003) £56,550 (2006) £56,950 (2003) £61,000 (2006)Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.