BMW 7 Series (E65)

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BMW 7 Series E65/E66/E67/E68
2006 BMW 730d (E65) sedan (2015-07-09) 01.jpg
Manufacturer BMW
Production 2001–2008
Model years 2002–2008
Assembly Dingolfing, Germany
Rayong, Thailand
Toluca, Mexico
Kaliningrad, Russia
Designer Adrian van Hooydonk (1998)
Chris Bangle
Body and chassis
Class Full-size luxury car (F)
Body style 4-door sedan/saloon
4-door extended sedan/saloon
Layout Front engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine Petrol
3.0 I6
3.6 V8
4.0 V8
4.4 V8
4.8 V8
6.0 V12
3.0 I6
3.9 V8
4.4 V8
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase E65: 2,990 mm (117.7 in)
E66: 3,130 mm (123.2 in)
Length E65: 5,029 mm (198.0 in) (Pre-LCI)
E66: 5,169 mm (203.5 in) (Pre-LCI)
E65: 5,039 mm (198.4 in) (LCI)
E66: 5,179 mm (203.9 in) (LCI)
Width 1,902 mm (74.9 in)
Height E65: 1,492 mm (58.7 in) (Pre-LCI)
E66: 1,492 mm (58.7 in) (Pre-LCI)
E65: 1,491 mm (58.7 in) (LCI)
E66: 1,484 mm (58.4 in) (LCI)
Curb weight 730i: 1,805 kg (3,979 lb)
735i: 1,860 kg (4,100 lb)
740i: 1,895 kg (4,178 lb)
745i: 1,860 kg (4,100 lb)
745i: 1,985 kg (4,376 lb) (US)
750i: 1,910 kg (4,210 lb)
750i: 2,035 kg (4,486 lb) (US)
760i: 2,105 kg (4,641 lb)
730d: 1,900 kg (4,200 lb)
740d: 2,015 kg (4,442 lb)
745d: 2,040 kg (4,500 lb)
730Ld: 1,940 kg (4,280 lb)
730Li: 1,835 kg (4,045 lb)
735Li: 1,900 kg (4,200 lb)
740Li: 1,935 kg (4,266 lb)
745Li: 1,910 kg (4,210 lb)
745Li: 2,025 kg (4,464 lb) (US)
750Li: 1,950 kg (4,300 lb)
750Li: 2,065 kg (4,553 lb) (US)
760Li: 2,180 kg (4,810 lb)
760Li: 2,225 kg (4,905 lb) (US)
E68: 2,385 kg (5,258 lb)
Predecessor BMW 7 Series (E38)
Successor BMW 7 Series (F01)

The BMW E65 is the chassis designation for the fourth generation 7 Series full-size luxury sedan produced by BMW. The E65 was the first BMW chassis series to use different chassis numbers for its several different variants such as the E66/E67/E68, which formed the Long-Wheelbase, BMW High Security and the BMW Hydrogen 7 models respectively.

Introduced at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2001 alongside the BMW E53 X5 4.6is, the BMW E65 7 Series replaced the BMW 7 Series (E38) after production of that model ended in July 2001. In order to produce the E65 7 Series and other future models the BMW plant at Dingolfing was retooled at a cost of approximately €500,000,000.

Upon release the new 7 Series was met with sharp criticism for its controversial looks as well as the steep learning curve presented by the new iDrive system. So unimpressed was the market with the new car that sales of remaining E38 stock increased markedly after the launch. Despite the initial quality problems and customer gripes the E65 7 Series became the best-selling generation of this full-size luxury sedan, further enhanced by a facelift in 2005.

After a 7-year production run the BMW E65 was replaced by the BMW 7 Series (F01) in late 2008.

Initial release[edit]

Development for the BMW E65 7 Series began in early 1996, and production specifications were frozen in January 1999. The design of the BMW E65 7 Series was patented 16 November 2000;[1] development ended in mid-2001. The car was first launched in Europe 17 November 2001 and then appeared in US and other markets in the (northern) spring of 2002. Early BMW E65 7 Series models had many problems mainly due to the functionality of the iDrive system and the associated electronics systems. Thus, BMW repurchased a substantial amount of 2002–03 7 Series cars in the U.S., and BMW of North America also extended the factory warranty on 2002–03 BMW E65 7 Series models from the 4-Year/50,000-Mile (80,000 km) coverage to the 6-Year/100,000-Mile (160,000 km) factory warranty. However, UK models were still protected by their original 3-Year/Unlimited-Miles warranty.

Exterior design[edit]

Under the direction of Chris Bangle, BMW's Design Chief at the time, the arrival of the BMW E65 7 Series heralded a new styling era for BMW. The design of the new car contrasted dramatically with the styling on the BMW E38 7 Series. The BMW E65 7 Series' two-level rear end styling with separate rear fenders for a "bustle-back" boot lid was derisively known as the "Bangle Butt" by critics. In fact, van Hooydonk's original sketch in 1998 for the BMW E65 was much more of a radical sleek fastback, but the final E65 profile was toned down considerably to a more conventional three-box sedan. Bangle was widely criticised for the radical departure of the styling from the BMW E38 7 Series. He was however supported by the BMW board of directors, who wanted to move BMW's image into the future. Dan Neil of The Los Angeles Times named the new 7-series one of the '50 Worst Cars of All Time', but Bangle argued that BMW’s established design language was exhausted. Despite the initially poor public reception of the two-level rear end, the design was later incorporated by Mercedes-Benz into the design of the W221 generation S-Class in 2006 and also by Hyundai in the fourth-generation Azera.

Dimensionally the E65 7 Series is 45mm longer, 38mm wider and 60mm taller than the E38. The wheelbase was increased by 60mm over the outgoing model. Despite these increased dimensions the E65 7 Series is only 15 kg heavier than the E38.

Interior design[edit]

Centre stack on an E65 LCI 7 Series. Phone pad, radio, AC panel and storage trays visible.

The interior of the BMW E65 7 Series features a generous amount of genuine wood trim & was redesigned to address both the driver and passenger, unlike the traditional driver-focussed instrument panel in the BMW E38 7 Series. BMW removed the traditional console mounted gear selector replacing it with a steering-column mounted stalk, in favour of two cup holders. The seats adjustment controls were moved from their traditional place on the side of the seat base to the inside of the raised central console, which several reviewers complained about the unnecessarily complicated nature of the controls. Peeling paint and textured materials are a well documented problem, so BMW addressed this issue by using still higher quality paint in the LCI model.

Compared to the outgoing E38 model, the E65 7 Series has more shoulder room in the front and the rear, while headroom in the rear has been increased for greater comfort.


The BMW E65 7 Series was the most technically advanced production vehicle BMW had ever produced at the time. As the flagship model, it introduced a large number of new technologies that were eventually carried over to the next generation of BMW's. The E65 7 Series introduced a number of new technologies such as:

The rectangular key-fob replaced the traditional blade key
  • Valvetronic engine control (Variable valve lift replaced throttle butterflies for normal running conditions for added response, efficiency and power).
  • World introduction of Active Roll Stabilization (ARS) active Anti-roll bars on a sedan (alternative designations: Dynamic Drive, Adaptive Drive). ARS is a revolutionary system that almost completely eliminates body roll when cornering. It employs active anti-roll bars which use a hydraulic servo in the middle to actively counteract body roll. This results in increased comfort for passengers, and when coupled with Electronic Damper Control-Continuous (EDC-C) it raises comfort levels to new heights.
  • Self levelling air suspension on rear axle for increased comfort (optional)
  • Electronic Damper Control-Continuous (EDC-C)
  • Introduction of two fibre optic bus systems, MOST Bus (Media Orientated System Transport) and "Byteflight" (safety systems bus). These busses operate at 22.5Mbit/s and 10Mbit/s respectively.
  • The first introduction of the dedicated 'Body-Controller Area Network' K-CAN bus system operating at 100kbit/s, This replaced the slower (9.6kbit/s) I,K and P-Busses used on previous vehicles.
  • The first introduction of BMW's revolutionary iDrive system, the first fully integrated series production vehicle systems controller.
  • World’s first infinitely variable intake manifold.
  • World introduction of electronic adaptive headlight technology, giving automatic horizontal (during turns) and vertical (based on rear axle load) adjustment of the low beam.
  • World’s first 6-speed automatic transmission in a sedan.
  • Optional Automatic Soft Close system minimized the force required to close the doors, and would completely close them if improperly closed. This system also extended to the trunk lid, but unlike the door system was standard on all models.
  • Electromechanical parking brake. Not only could this system apply the parking brake in stop-and-go traffic situations to reduce tedium, but it could also automatically apply the parking brake after the ignition was switched off.
  • First BMW with DVD-based GPS Automotive navigation system.
  • First BMW to feature Bi-Xenon (HID) headlights.
  • First BMW to feature 'Push-Button-Start'. The rectangular key-fob was inserted into a slot next to the steering wheel and the driver would push a button to start the engine. This method of starting the car would be the precursor for all future BMW models.
  • Radar based Active Cruise Control (ACC), though this was available in some markets on the previous 7-series (E38).


The BMW E65 7 Series introduced the iDrive control concept. The system was built on hardware similar to the MKIV system used by BMW in the late 90's but featured a brand new interface and central control knob. Many of the functions such as climate, navigation, seat heating, telephony and car settings were incorporated into a single system allowing centralised control of those functions. iDrive was nicknamed "I Don't Know Drive" because of the steep learning curve and complicated menu structures, with some sources claiming that it would take several hours to become familiar with the system. Complaints ranged from the number of steps required to complete simple tasks such as selecting a radio frequency to getting "lost" in the deep menu system. iDrive saw several updates during the production run to address complaints raised by owners. The first generation of the system relied on CD media for map data. In 2003 BMW updated the hardware to read DVD media, added a substantially faster processor and the ability to display maps in birds-eye view. Also added in 2003 were a 'Menu' and 'Customisable' button below the control knob. This was done to address the complaints of 'getting lost' in the menus. The last major update to the system came with the LCI model in 2005 which added buttons to the radio (ASK unit) that enabled skipping tracks or radio stations as well as a mode button to change operating modes. A larger, brighter display was added and faster, more advanced navigation hardware was introduced. The system also gained the capability to control a MP3 capable CD Changer. The interface was streamlined to resemble the iDrive CCC system. Although it may appear similar in function to the CCC iDrive (introduced in the BMW E60 5 Series and BMW E63/64 6 Series), the iDrive system in the E65/66 is unique to only that model. The system started a trend and today most car manufacturers offer in-car systems built around a central control knob (Audi Multi Media Interface, Mercedes-Benz Comand APS etc.), an idea first brought to consumers by BMW in the E65 7 Series.


Depending on the country of sale the E65 7 Series came with a variety of Standard Equipment. All markets had iDrive as standard, although Navigation was optional in certain markets. Climate control was standard, although dual zone climate control was offered as an option. Seating options ranged between basic, sport and comfort seats. The basic seats include 14-way electric adjustment (12-way for passenger) and 4-way lumbar adjustment. Comfort seats include 20-way electric adjustment, 4-way lumbar adjustment, two piece articulated back-rests, adjustable neck support, electric headrests and memory options available on both driver and passenger sides. The different seat variations together with options for heating, cooling and massaging made for a bewildering number of configurable options.

Other optional equipment included TV reception (digital TV in facelift models), Dynamic Xenon headlamps, Vertical side and rear electric sun blinds, Front and rear heated or ventilated seats, Comfort electric rear seats with memory (featuring 18-way adjustment as apposed to 20-way at the front), Rear telephone, Refrigerated cool box, Separate rear air conditioning, Rear seat entertainment with separate LCD and iDrive controller, this gave rear passengers the control of the following entertainment features: 6 disc DVD multi-changer, 6 disc CD multi-changer (or iPod in facelift models), TV, DAB Tuner, Bluetooth Telephony and Satellite Navigation. Other options included, Electric front and rear soft-close doors, Automatic tailgate, Keyless access and go (Comfort Access), Adaptive damper control (EDC), Dynamic anti-roll bars (ARS), Glass sunroof, Premium LOGIC 7 sound system, and for the North American market Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service (SDARS) and HD Radio.

Some European models in colder climates had the option of a Webasto parking heater, which allows the vehicle to be warmed up and pre-heated by means of the remote control before the vehicle is started, this has the advantage of de-icing the vehicle and making the interior more bearable in cold weather. Likewise in hotter climates it is possible to remotely start the engine for the purpose of activating the air conditioning to cool the interior of the vehicle before the vehicle is entered.

Production data[edit]

The following is a list showing the number of BMW E65 7 Series models sold in its various incarnations.

Year Available Engines Production Figures Notes
2001 735i, 745i 2,979
2002 730i, 735i, 745i, 760i, 730d, 740d 53,904 50,961 E65 7 Series and 2,543 E38 7 Series.
2003 730i, 735i, 745i, 760i, 730d, 740d 57,899 The 760Li was introduced in 2003.
2004 730i, 735i, 740i, 745i, 750i, 760i, 740d, 745d 47,689
2005 730i, 740i, 750i, 760i, 730d, 745d 50,062 2005 was the year the facelift came out for the BMW E65 7 Series.
2006 730i, 740i, 750i, 760i, 730d, 745d 50,227 No more model changes were made after 2005.
2007 730i, 740i, 750i, 760i, 730d, 745d 44,421
2008 730i, 740i, 750i, 760i, 730d, 745d 38,835 2008 was the last year of production for the BMW E65 7 Series.
Total 9 Different Engines 343,073 A total of 343,073 BMW E65's were produced.


Model Engine Year(s) Displacement Configuration Power Torque 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) Top speed
730d M57D30TU 2001–04 2,993 cc (182.6 cu in) Turbodiesel I6, 24v 218 PS (215 hp; 160 kW) 500 N·m (369 lb·ft) 7.7 s 146 mph (235 km/h)
730d M57D30TU2 2002–08 2,993 cc (182.6 cu in) Turbodiesel I6, 24v 231 PS (228 hp; 170 kW) 520 N·m (384 lb·ft) 7.5 s 146 mph (235 km/h)
730i M54B30 2002–04 2,979 cc (181.8 cu in) I6, 24v 228 PS (225 hp; 168 kW) 300 N·m (221 lb·ft) 8.0 s 150 mph (241 km/h)
730i N52B30 2004–08 2,996 cc (182.8 cu in) I6, 24v 258 PS (254 hp; 190 kW) 300 N·m (221 lb·ft) 7.5 s 147 mph (237 km/h)
735i N62B36 2001–04 3,600 cc (219.7 cu in) V8, 32v 272 PS (268 hp; 200 kW) 360 N·m (266 lb·ft) 7.5 s 155 mph (249 km/h)
740d M67D40TU 2002–04 3,901 cc (238.1 cu in) Turbodiesel V8, 32v 258 PS (254 hp; 190 kW) 600 N·m (443 lb·ft) 7.1 s 155 mph (249 km/h)
740i N62B40 2004–08 4,000 cc (244.1 cu in) V8, 32v 306 PS (302 hp; 225 kW) 390 N·m (288 lb·ft) 6.5 s 155 mph (249 km/h)
745d M67D44 2005–06 4,423 cc (269.9 cu in) Turbodiesel V8, 32v 299 PS (295 hp; 220 kW) 700 N·m (516 lb·ft) 6.5 s 155 mph (249 km/h)
745d M67TUD44 2006–08 4,423 cc (269.9 cu in) Turbodiesel V8, 32v 329 PS (324 hp; 242 kW) 750 N·m (553 lb·ft) 6.5 s 155 mph (249 km/h)
745i N62B44 2001–04 4,398 cc (268.4 cu in) V8, 32v 333 PS (328 hp; 245 kW) 450 N·m (332 lb·ft) 6.0 s 155 mph (249 km/h)
750i N62B48 2004–08 4,799 cc (292.9 cu in) V8, 32v 367 PS (362 hp; 270 kW) 490 N·m (361 lb·ft) 5.7 s 155 mph (249 km/h)
760i N73B60 2002–08 5,972 cc (364.4 cu in) V12, 48v 445 PS (439 hp; 327 kW) 600 N·m (443 lb·ft) 5.3 s 155 mph (249 km/h)
Alpina B7 N62B44 2006-08 4,398 cc (268.4 cu in) Supercharged V8, 32v 500 PS (493 hp; 368 kW) 700 N·m (516 lb·ft) 4.9 s 186 mph (299 km/h)

Related Models[edit]

Alpina B7[edit]

Facelifted Alpina B7.
Facelifted Alpina B7.

There was no M version of the BMW E65 7 Series, but Alpina was permitted to build the Alpina B7. The Alpina B7 was based on the 745i (with a long-wheelbase model of the Alpina B7 available a few years after), and is built in the same plant alongside the normal BMW E65 7 Series.[2] The Alpina B7 prototype was introduced to the public in the 2003 Geneva Motor Show in March, and in February 2006 at the Canadian Auto Show, BMW announced the launch of the B7 in North America. The Alpina B7 uses a supercharged version of the 4.4-litre V8 found in the 745i/Li, and was the first Alpina model to feature a supercharged engine. Aside from the BMW Alpina Z8, the Alpina B7 was the only car offered in the USA and in North America at the time. Exterior changes for the B7 include fitted front and rear spoiler lips (which allows the car to be more stable at speed while maintain a low CW-Value), different wheel rims and Alpina badges. Interior changes include Sport Seats, an Instrument Cluster with a Blue Background and Red Needles, a luxury wood called 'Myrtle', a hand-stitched leather steering wheel, Alpina floor mats, Alpina door sills and a silver plated production plaque. Alpina claimed the B7 had a top speed of 300 km/h and could accelerate from 0 to 100 k/h in 4.9 s.[3] However, during a test by Auto Motor und Sport, the B7 reached 100 km/h in 4.8 s and reached 311 km/h.[4]

803 units were produced from November 2006 to January 2008 for North America. These cars were built completely at the BMW plant meaning that there was no custom Alpina interior available, so BMW offered BMW Nasca leather as standard. Individual exterior colours were not offered (except for a few cars in the Canadian market). These cars have BMW chassis numbers and no Alpina chassis number. 311 more units were produced by Alpina, with an Alpina chassis number, from February 2004 to September 2008. These units were sold in other countries.

Long-Wheelbase 7 Series (E66)[edit]

Pre-facelift 730 Li (E66).

Long-Wheelbase versions of the BMW E65 7 Series were introduced in June 2000, easily identified by a chrome strip which runs along the side of the windscreen, over the roof and down the side of the rear window. Long-Wheelbase models only featured a longer body which meant extra legroom in the rear seats. The height, width and bootspace of the car is the same. In 2000, early Long-Wheelbase models included the 730Li, 735Li, 745Li, while the 760Li, 740Li and 730Ld were later introduced in 2003, 2004 and 2005 respectively. Long-Wheelbase models were 140mm (5.5 in) longer compared to the normal E65 7 Series models.

BMW High Security 7 Series (E67)[edit]


The BMW High Security 7 Series was the high security version of the BMW E65 7 Series. The BMW High Security 7 Series met the requirements of the B6/B7 weapons standard, and are able to withstand explosions or bullets. The underbody protection prevents grenade fragments from entering the passenger cell, and has been tested with hand grenades detonated below the driver and rear seats. Fibre-Reinforced material and special steel elements are used against armour piercing munitions, and the material prevents fragment and secondary projectiles from entering the passenger compartment and also keeps the angle of dispersion as small as possible. The BMW High Security 7 Series also features a multi-layer laminated triple glazing with an internal polycarbonate layer to protect passengers from glass fragments. Other exclusive features for the BMW High Security 7 Series also includes an 'Emergency Exit via the Front Windscreen', an Intercom system with an additional 'Attack Alarm' function, a Remote Starting System, a Fire-Extinguishing system with temperature sensors, an Emergency Fresh Air System, partially lowered windows and an Automatic Central Locking when Moving off.

Owners and chauffeurs of the BMW High Security 7 Series are offered exclusive special training programmes to practice the requirements of car control in case of a critical driving condition. BMW also offers a special 'buy back' service of Security Cars which are up to seven years old to prevent High Security models from going to the wrong people. The models are thoroughly inspected in BMW's Dingolfing plant, and then sold or go into BMW's 'car pool'. Cars from the 'Security Car Pool' are then made available for potential customers throughout the world at short notice.

BMW Hydrogen 7 (E68)[edit]

Facelifted BMW Hydrogen 7 E68.
Main article: BMW Hydrogen 7

Development for the BMW Hydrogen 7 model began in 2002, and testing began in the end of 2005. The BMW Hydrogen 7 was then introduced to the public in November 2006. The BMW Hydrogen 7 can go from 0-60 in 9.5s and has a top speed of 143 mph. The BMW Hydrogen 7 can switch from using Hydrogen power to Gasoline power via the press of a button. Only 100 BMW Hydrogen 7 models were made, and were sold solely to celebrities in order to spread awareness so that more car manufacturer's would start manufacturing Hydrogen-powered cars.

2005 Facelift (Life-Cycle-Impulse)[edit]

BMW started work on a facelift for the E65 7 Series in 2003, and was introduced on all BMW E65 7 Series models in early 2005. Going on sale in March of that year (as a model year 2006 in North America), the facelift included several new engines, new exterior styling and interior upholstery colours as well as some new optional extras. The majority of changes to the car were technical in nature. The climate control panel was revised slightly, with 2 buttons swapping locations, the audio controller gained dedicated AM/FM and Mode buttons, and now the CD changer could read MP3 audio files. Exterior styling changes included a restyled front and rear bumper and a slightly larger and a more curved grill which was in line with the new BMW design language. The headlights were also completely restyled, while the rear lights featured changes to the boot-lid-mounted section which was redesigned to create the appearance of a single light unit as (opposed to the outgoing two part light design). Overall the restyled front end served to give the car a more sporty appearance. In the rear, the trunk lid styling was subtly enhanced with the trunk release button being moved out of sight and a thinner, more elegant looking chrome strip flowing into the re-designed lights. Interior changes included improved material and paint quality as well as a restyled 4-spoke steering wheel. Overall the changes to the interior were minor and served mostly to address quality concerns.

BMW 745i 2 -- 04-22-2010.jpg 2002–2005 BMW 735i (E65) sedan (2016-08-27).jpg Krakow BMW 735i Zandarmeria (cropped).jpg
The headlights of a Pre-LCI 7 Series have a shape by which the number 7 has been subtly incorporated into the corners, this design element was highlighted in E65 marketing material. In the original design, the rear light strip was meant to be at the bottom of the trunk and not the top. The indicators on a Pre-LCI E65 7 Series are yellow in order to meet the safety requirements in certain countries.
BMW 730d (E65) Facelift front 20100718.jpg BMW 730d (E65) Facelift rear 20100718.jpg BMW 740i 2006 (13299209614).jpg
The new headlights now speak with the current BMW design language and looks similar to the new 7 Series headlights. The facelift BMW E65 7 Series gets rid of the centre light strip. There are no visible exhaust pipes in any non-Alpina BMW E65 7 Series.

In fall 2005, BMW introduced BMW Night Vision on its E65 7 Series. This system uses passive infrared (not active infrared emitters like Mercedes-Benz and Toyota/Lexus systems) and processes far infrared radiation, which minimises non-essential information placing a greater emphasis on pedestrians and animals, allows for a range of 300 m (980 ft), and avoids "dazzle" from headlights, road lights and similar intense light sources.[5]

A second system introduced in fall 2005 was the High-Beam Assistant, which automatically switches between low and high beams.[5]


  1. ^ "Registerauskunft zum Design Designnummer: 40010998-0001". Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt. Retrieved 12 April 2017. 
  2. ^ "Alpina-Archive | B7-North America". Retrieved 9 August 2016. 
  3. ^ "BMW 7er E65/66: ALPINA Automobiles". Retrieved 9 August 2016. 
  4. ^ Auto Motor und Sport 24/2004
  5. ^ a b "BMW announces Night Vision and High-Beam Assistant". BMW Group. 21 July 2005. Retrieved 1 July 2015. 

External links[edit]