BMW 7 Series (E23)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
BMW 7-Series (E23)
Bmw e23 Park.jpg
Manufacturer BMW
Production 1977–1987
285,029 built[1]
Designer Paul Bracq
Manfred Rennen (1974)
Body and chassis
Class Full-size luxury car (F)
Body style 4-door sedan/saloon
Layout FR layout
Related Chevrolet Caprice
Engine 2.5 L M30 6-cyl
2.8 L M30 6-cyl
3.0 L M30 6-cyl
3.2 L M30 6-cyl
3.5 L M90 6-cyl
3.5 L M88/3 6-cyl
3.2 L M102 6-cyl turbo
3.4 L M106 6-cyl turbo
Transmission 4-speed manual
5-speed manual
3-speed automatic
4-speed automatic
Wheelbase 2,795 mm (110.0 in)[2]
Length 4,860 mm (191.3 in)[2]
5,014 mm (197 in) (US bumpers)
Width 1,800 mm (70.9 in)[2]
Height 1,430 mm (56.3 in)[2]
Curb weight 728i: 1,470 kg (3,241 lb)
728i: 1,490 kg (3,285 lb) (auto)
732i: 1,500 kg (3,307 lb)
732i: 1,520 kg (3,351 lb) (auto)
733i: 1,560 kg (3,439 lb)
733i: 1,580 kg (3,483 lb) (auto)
735i: 1,540 kg (3,395 lb)
735i: 1,560 kg (3,439 lb) (auto)
735i: 1,609 kg (3,547 lb) (US)
745i: 1,590 kg (3,505 lb)
L7: 1,626 kg (3,585 lb)
Predecessor BMW E3
Successor BMW E32

The BMW E23 is the first BMW 7 Series luxury car, produced by the German automaker BMW. Replacing the BMW E3 large sedan, the E23 was produced for ten years from 1977 to 1987 and was replaced by the BMW E32 7 Series in 1986. The L7 continued to be offered in the United States for another year even though the last E23 built in Germany was produced in August 1986, eventually getting fully replaced by the long wheelbase versions of the E32.

Design and features[edit]

1983–1986 BMW 735i (Australia). Note the wider and more angular twin-port grille compared to the 1977–1983 cars.

All E23 7 Series models (with the exception of the 745i) were built with the 12-valve M30 six-cylinder engine as used in the older E3 and E9 cars. Although most E23 engines were fuel-injected, two models (the 728 and 730) were available with a Solex four-barrel carburetor until 1979, when they were replaced by the fuel-injected 728i. Early fuel-injected models used the Bosch L-jetronic system while later models used the more advanced digital Bosch Motronic system.

The E23 7 series cars were very upscale and sophisticated for their time. They were the first BMWs fitted with service interval indicators, a 'check control' that alerted the driver to various system faults, and complex climate control systems. On-board computers and anti-lock braking system (ABS) were optional on early models but later became standard features. Also, later models (1985–1986) offered an optional driver's airbag. A variety of options included leather upholstery, several types of wood trim, power seats, seat heaters, and power windows and mirrors. Four-speed and five-speed manual gearboxes were available (depending on the year) and an automatic transmission was also available.

A minor styling update in 1983 affected the 'nose' of the car (the front 'kidney' grilles, valance/spoiler, bumpers etc.) as well as the dashboard and instrument panels which received updates plus (in the UK) the 735i received the Motronic 3430 cc engine (replacing the 3453 cc) and rear suspension modifications as well as numerous other minor changes. In the US, 1984 saw the arrival of the optional 4-speed automatic transmission (replacing the 3-speed unit previously offered), upgraded wood trim above the glove compartment and on the ashtray (previously plastic in all US models), electrically adjustable power seats and larger Michelin TRX radials with special TRX wheels (later standard on all 1985–1987 735i/L7 models) on the 5-speed manual models.

Notable versions[edit]

Turbocharged 745i[edit]

See also: BMW M102
See also: BMW M106

The 745i was a special high-performance model offered in left-hand-drive European markets between 1979 and 1986. It was originally fitted with a specially prepared 3.2 L (3205cc) variant of the M30 six-cylinder gas engine and a KKK K27 turbocharger producing 252 hp at 0.6 bar of boost. This engine was designated with the BMW engine code M102. In 1982 the engine grew to 3.4 litres, changed over from Jetronic engine management to Motronic, and was known as the M106. Due to higher displacement and better engine management, the M106 developed the same power as the M102 at only 0.4 bar boost.

These cars were all built with automatic transmissions (although there is documentation supporting how the ECU was modified at the factory to work with Getrag 5 speeds) and could be ordered with exotic options such as heated front and rear power reclining seats, auto-on aux interior gasoline fired heaters, leather covered cellular telephones, rear-armrest radio control, water buffalo hide upholstery, and burl wood trim. The water buffalo interior model was the Executive trim option, while the High Line trim package offered ivory leather interior trim including a leather dash board, sun visors, headliner, and other leather bits not offered on the Executive.

BMW designated this particular model as 745i instead of 732i Turbo due to the theoretical assumption that the turbocharged motors have about 1.4 times more power than naturally aspirated motors. Thus, 3.2-litre (3205cc) turbocharged motor has "power equivalent" of 4.5-litre (4487cc) motor without forced induction.

South African 745i SA[edit]

A 745i without turbocharger was built specifically for the South African market. The right-hand-drive version was not possible with the turbocharged motor due to the proximity of turbocharger in the right-hand side of engine bay. Instead, it was fitted with the upgraded version of 290 hp (220 kW) dual-camshaft 24-valve M88/3 M1 Motorsport engine with a Bosch ML-Jetronic fuel injection system. This particular motor was also fitted to the first-generation M5 and M635CSi. A production run of 209 South African 745i was built from 1983 to 1987: 192 were built with automatic gearbox and 17 with 5-speed manual gearbox.[3]

BMW South Africa ran one of these 745i models in Class A of the South African Modified Saloon Car Championship, the only BMW-Sanctioned motor sport application in the history of BMW 7-series cars.

North America and Japan[edit]

1984 BMW 733i with federal bumpers

Only the 733i, 735i, and L7 were offered by the factory in these markets. As usual, BMW sold only upscale versions in these markets, usually including leather upholstery, cruise control, wood trim, power windows, power sunroof, and other options as standard. North American versions were fitted with larger bumpers (to comply with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standards), smaller sealed beam headlights, and various forms of emissions equipment that were not found on European-market cars. The engines used in these markets had lower-compression pistons and thus were less powerful than European-market versions. Some features such as ABS were available in markets outside North America before they were fitted on American models. Many turbocharged 745i models made their way into America during the height of the grey market in the mid-1980s.

The L7 was a more luxurious version of the 735i for the American market only. It featured special leather upholstery with leather dashboard and door padding (rather than wood trim), a power glass Moonroof. and a variety of optional features as standard. All L7 models were built with automatic transmissions and a standard driver's air bag.

Americans were able to obtain the more powerful 745i via the grey market.

Special uses[edit]

In 1982, the American Robert Cumberford built the Cumberford Martinique, an open two-seater with engine and transmission from a BMW 733i, and steering and suspension from the Citroën CX.[4] Pricing was 60% higher than its closest competitor, from Clénet Coachworks, and only two cars were built.[5] Both still exist, one in France and one in San Diego.[6]


BMW E23 (728i)

The following models were produced in this series: [1][7][8]

Model Engine code Power Torque Years
PS kW hp at rpm N·m ft·lbf at rpm
725i‡ M30B25 150 110 148 5,800 208 153 4,000 1979–1986
728 M30B28 170 125 168 5,800 233 172 4,000 1977–1979
728i M30B28 184 135 181 5,800 235 173 4,200 1979−1986
730 M30B30 184 135 181 5,800 255 188 3,500 1977–1979
732i M30B32 196 144 193 5,500 279 206 4,500 1979–1986
733i M30B32 197 145 194 5,500 279 206 4,300 1977–1982
735i M90 218 160 215 5,200 304 224 4,000 1979–1982
735i M30B34 218 160 215 5,200 304 224 4,000 1982–1986
745i M102 252 185 249 5,200 374 276 2,600 1980–1982
745i M106 252 185 249 4,900 374 276 2,200 1983–1986
North America and Japan
733i M30B32 179 132 177 5,500 266 196 4,000 1978–1979
733i M30B32 176 129 174 5,200 255 188 4,200 1980–1981
733i M30B32 184 135 181 6,000 264 195 4,000 1982–1984
735i/L7 M30B34 185 136 182 5,400 290 210 4,000 1985–1987
1986–1987 (L7)
South Africa
745i M88/3 286 210 282 6,500 340 250 4,500 1984–1986

Note: ‡ For government agencies and on special order only[1]


  1. ^ a b c Oswald, Werner (2001). Deutsche Autos 1945–1990, Band 4 (1. ed.). Stuttgart: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 3-613-02131-5. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Fahrbericht: BMW 728 / 730 / 733 i". Auto, Motor und Sport. Heft. 11 1977: Seite 34–42. date 25 Mai 1977.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ "FAQ E23 745i SA (M88)". BMW M Registry. Archived from the original on 19 November 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-02. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Mike Covello: Standard Catalog of Imported Cars 1946–2002. Krause Publications, Iola 2002, ISBN 0-87341-605-8, p. 149-155.
  8. ^ Automobil Revue, catalogue edition 1987, p. 196.

External links[edit]