BMW 7 Series (E32)

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BMW 7-Series (E32)
BMW E32 Front.jpg
Manufacturer BMW
Production 1986–1994
311,068 built[1][2]
Assembly Dingolfing, Germany[3]
Designer Ercole Spada; Hans Kerschbaum (1983)[4]
Body and chassis
Class Full-size luxury car (F)
Body style 4-door sedan/saloon
4-door extended sedan/saloon
Layout FR layout
Related BMW E34
Engine Petrol:
3.0-3.4 L six-cylinder BMW M30
3.0-4.0 L V8 BMW M60
5.0 L V12 BMW M70
6.7 L V16 Goldfish
Transmission Automatic
Wheelbase SWB: 2,833 mm (111.5 in)[5]
LWB: 2,947 mm (116.0 in)
Length SWB: 4,910 mm (193.3 in)
LWB: 5,029 mm (198.0 in)
Width 1,845 mm (72.6 in)
Height SWB: 1,400 mm (55.1 in)
LWB: 1,435 mm (56.5 in)
Curb weight 735i: 1,720 kg (3,790 lb)
740i: 1,790 kg (3,950 lb)
750i: 1,800 kg (4,000 lb)
735il: 1,792 kg (3,951 lb)
740il: 1,830 kg (4,030 lb)
750il: 1,930 kg (4,250 lb)[6]
Predecessor BMW E23
Successor BMW E38

The E32 is a BMW 7 Series luxury car. After almost 7 years in development since September 1979, in July 1986,[citation needed] BMW introduced the car as a replacement for the E23. Aimed at the high end of the luxury market, the car offered some of the latest innovations in automotive technology, and (beginning in 1987) a new, top-of-the-line V12 engine. First BMW featuring EDC III Electronic Damper Control. Some luxury options featured on the E32 included integrated telephone and fax machines, a wine cooler, double glazing, Automatic Stability Control + Traction (ASC+T) traction control system, and a system that automatically increased spring pressure on the windscreen wipers to keep them firmly pressed on the glass at Motorway speeds. The E32 (750i) was the first car adhering to BMW's self-imposed speed limit of 250 km/h (160 mph) because it could reach 300 km/h (190 mph) very easily (according to the product brochure for the American market in 1986).

In 1991, world first series production low beam Xenon high-intensity discharge headlamps (Litronic, only low beam) were introduced on the 750iL.[7][8]

The car was also available in a stretched version (indicated by an 'L' from German Lang, after the model number), in which case an extra 11.4 centimetres (4.5 in) of leg room was available to the rear passengers by stretching the rear doors, and the body at this point.

The styling is credited to then-chief stylist Ercole Spada and Hans Kerschbaum working under the guidance of then-chief designer Claus Luthe.[9][10] Design work began in late 1979, in which by 1983 1:1 scale models were presented and frozen in 1984 for 1986 production.[11]

Production of the BMW E32 series concluded in 1994 with a total of 311,068 units built.

Notable versions[edit]

BMW 750i (Spain)

750iL Highline[edit]

The BMW 750iL Highline was the top-of-the-line model of the E32, with lots of added luxury for the rear passengers like full leather, dual radio controls, dual climate control with coolbox mounted in the center console, electrically heated and adjustable rear seats, walnut veneer folding tables, two crystal glasses neatly placed in the coolbox, legrests, and sun shade all around the rear/side windows. Complete with independent heating and ventilation, it also added a second battery in the trunk and a second alternator to provide power for all these luxuries. The 'Highline' option package cost more than 20,000 DEM (€10,000 equivalent), and was only available on the 750iL, bringing the total price to well over twice that of a 'basic' 730i ('basic' to be taken in context).[12]

767iL Goldfish prototype[edit]

Main article: BMW Goldfish V16

The 767iL Goldfish was a single prototype of E32 car powered with V16 engine. It was conceived in 1987 and built by the end of 1988. Because of the length of the engine, the cooling system (radiator) was moved to the trunk and additional vents were added at the rear.[13]


The E32 7-series cars were offered with 5 gasoline engines.

At the car's introduction, the 730 and 735 used the straight-6 M30 engine, while the 750 featured the all-new M70 V12 engine which produced 300 bhp (224 kW; 304 PS).

In 1992, a new 32-valve V8 engine was introduced, the M60. The 730i got this engine in a 3-liter version, while the new 740i got the 4-liter version. Both versions were coupled to a new, 5-speed automatic transmission made by ZF.

In some countries (notably in the USA and UK), there were problems with the M60 engine because of excessive sulfur amount in gasoline, causing corrosion problems in its Nikasil cylinder block. The cylinder lining would quickly wear, causing the engine to lose compression, which caused rough idling and eventually the engine would fail to start. Engines were replaced under warranty; the problem was corrected by using a different material, Alusil.[14] In the USA and UK sulfur rich fuel is being phased out.[15][16] Nikasil engines are unlikely to be a problem today, as cars with affected engines are off the road or have received replacement engines.[17]

Externally, the BMW 'kidney' grille indicated which engine was present under the hood: all 6-cylinder models had a narrow grille, and all 8- and 12-cylinder models had the wider version. This feature was not seen on later models (the E38 used a wide grille for all models). The narrow grille was available as an option on the 8- and 12-cylinder E32 models.

BMW E32 735i (note narrow grille)
BMW E32 740i (note wide grille)

The 740i speed was electronically limited at 240 km/h (149 mph) to distinguish it from the flagship vehicle 750i. The 740i E38 which used the same engine as 740i E32 had speed limited to 250 km/h (155 mph).

Engines specifications and performance[edit]

Model Engine Code Power Torque 0–100 km/h (s) Top Speed (km/h) Years made
730i[5] M30B30 I6 188 PS (138 kW; 185 hp) @5800 260 N·m (190 lb·ft) @4000 10.6 (AT)
9.3 (MT)
223 (MT) 1986–1994
735i[18] M30B35 I6 211 PS (155 kW; 208 hp) @5700 305 N·m (225 lb·ft) @4000 9.1 (AT)
8.3 (MT)
228 (AT)
231 (MT)
730i V8[19] M60B30 V8 218 PS (160 kW; 215 hp) @5800 290 N·m (210 lb·ft) @4500 9.3 (AT)
233 1992–1994
740i[20] M60B40 V8 286 PS (210 kW; 282 hp) @5800 400 N·m (300 lb·ft) @4500 7.4 240* 1992–1994
750i[6] M70B50 V12 300 PS (220 kW; 300 hp) @5200 450 N·m (330 lb·ft) @4100 7.4 250* 1987–1994 (USA)
1986–1994 (Europe)
767i Goldfish V16 408 PS (300 kW; 402 hp) @5200 637 N·m (470 lb·ft) @3900 6 282 1987
  • = electronically limited         Performance figures may differ for long models and gearing

Design and Legacy[edit]

The E32 was the first BMW that brought the L-Shape tail-lights into the company's design line-up.[21] This was intended for safety and security from the rear view of the car. The next generation 7-Series the E38 slightly drifted away from this in terms of design aspect with its more blocky tail-lights, although the amber indicator light in connection with the red brake lights clearly did form a smaller L-shape as well. It wasn't until the introduction of the F01 7-Series that this design aspect was truly revived.

Related cars[edit]

The E34 5 series, introduced in 1988, has design cues similar to the E32, and some engines and other parts are shared between the two cars.

The E31 8 series features some of the same engines as the E32: M60 V8 and M70 V12.


  1. ^ Oswald, Werner (2001). Deutsche Autos 1945–1990, Band 4 (1. ed.). Stuttgart: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 3-613-02131-5. 
  2. ^ Kittler, Eberhard (2001). Deutsche Autos seit 1990, Band 5 (1. ed.). Stuttgart: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 3-613-02128-5. 
  3. ^ "Vehicle manufacturer profiles". Automotive World. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b "BMW E32 730 @ carfolio". 2008-04-03. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  6. ^ a b "BMW E32 750 @ carfolio". 2008-04-03. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  7. ^ Behrend, Jürgen. Hella 1899-1999. p. 97. 
  8. ^ Neumann, Rainer; Woerner, B. (1993). "Litronic – New Automotive Headlamp Technology with Gas Discharge Lamp". Automotive Design Engineering: 152–156. 
  9. ^ "BMW Car Designers". Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  10. ^ Ercole Spada
  11. ^
  12. ^ "BMW 7er, Modell E32, Sonder-Ausstattungsdetails inkl. Preisen". 2006-06-03. Retrieved 2009-09-26. 
  13. ^ "BMWCar - V16 E32" (PDF). BMWCar. March 2009. 
  14. ^ "BMW World - Nikasil". Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  15. ^ "Tier 2 Vehicle & Gasoline Sulfur Program | US EPA". Archived from the original on 26 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  16. ^ Published: 12:00AM GMT 11 Nov 2000 Comments (2000-11-11). "No fuel like a low-sulphur fuel". Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  17. ^ "THE BMW V8 NIKASIL MYTH". Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  18. ^ "BMW E32 735 @ carfolio". 2008-04-03. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  19. ^ "BMW E32 730 V8 @ carfolio". 2008-04-03. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  20. ^ "BMW E32 740 @ carfolio". 2008-04-03. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  21. ^ "BMW 7 Series. The second generation E32.". BMW YouTube Channel. 2013-08-30. Retrieved 2013-08-30. 

External links[edit]