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
Layout FR layout
Engine 3.0-3.4 L M30 I6
3.0-4.0 L M60 V8
5.0 L M70 V12
Transmission 4-speed automatic
5-speed automatic
5-speed manual
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 1,720–1,930 kg (3,792–4,255 lb)[6]
Predecessor BMW 7 Series (E23)
Successor BMW 7 Series (E38)

The BMW E32 is the second generation of the BMW 7 Series luxury cars and was produced from 1986 to 1994. It replaced the E23 and was initially available with a straight-six or V12 engine. In 1992, V8 engines became available. In 1994, the E32 was replaced by the E38.

The E32 introduced the following features for the first time in a BMW: Electronic Damper Control,[7] V12 and V8 engines, double glazing, the CAN bus electronic protocol,[8] Xenon headlamps,[9] traction control[10] and dual-zone climate control.[11] The E32 750i was the first car adhering to BMW's self-imposed speed limit of 250 km/h (155 mph).[12] The 'iL' models were the first time that a long-wheelbase option was offered by BMW.

Development and production[edit]

The styling is credited to then-chief stylist Ercole Spada and Hans Kerschbaum working under the guidance of then-chief designer Claus Luthe.[13] Design work began in late 1979, in which by 1983 1:1 scale models were presented and frozen in 1984 for 1986 production.[14]

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



Some luxury options featured on the E32 include integrated telephone and fax machines, a wine cooler, electronically adjustable rear seats and radio controls for rear passengers.[9]

In 1991, world first series production low beam Xenon high-intensity discharge headlamps (Litronic, only low beam) were introduced on the 750iL.[15][16] Other safety features include a system that automatically increased spring pressure on the windscreen wipers to keep them firmly pressed on the glass at Motorway speeds.

The car was also available in a long-wheelbase version (indicated by an 'L' from German Lang, after the model number). These models have an extra 11.4 cm (4.5 in) of leg room for the rear passengers, by stretching the rear doors and body at this point.


M60 V8 engine
M70 V12 engine

Over its lifespan, the E32 7 Series was produced with straight-six, V8 and V12 gasoline engines.

The launch models consisted of the 730i/iL and 735i/iL, which were powered by the M30 straight-6 engine. Also available at the E32 launch was the 750i/iL, which was the first BMW ever sold with a V12 engine. Before its introduction, this M70 engine was said to produce ″more than 200 kW″,[17] the final power output though was 220 kW.[18]

In 1991, BMW began production of its first V8 engine in 17 years.[19] This M60 V8 was introduced in the E32, along with the E34 5 Series. The 4.0 litre version powered the new 740i/iL models, and the 3.0 litre version replaced the M30 straight-six in the 730i/iL models. The top speed of the 740i was electronically limited to 240 km/h (149 mph).[20] Both V8 engines were coupled to a new, 5-speed automatic transmission made by ZF. The Nikasil bore lining used in the M60 engine was prone to damage when used with high-sulfur fuels.


L-shaped tail-lights

The E32 was the first BMW to use L-shaped tail-lights, which were intended to add safety and security from the rear view of the car.[21] Other styling features include BMW's traditional Hoffmeister kink in the rear window line and circular headlights (the E32 was the last 7 Series to use circular headlights).[7]

Externally, the BMW 'kidney' grille indicated which engine was present under the hood: all 6-cylinder models have a narrow grille, and a wider grille was standard for the V8 and V12 models. The narrow grille was available as an option on the 8- and 12-cylinder E32 models.

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


Model Engine Power Torque Acceleration (0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in seconds) Top Speed (km/h) Years
730i[5][20] M30 I6 135 kW (181 hp) (1986)
138 kW (185 hp) (1987–1994)
at 5800 min−1[17]
260 N·m (192 lb·ft)
at 4000 min−1
10.6 (AT)
9.3 (MT)
222 (AT)
222 (MT)
735i[22] M30 I6 155 kW (208 hp)
at 5700 min−1
305 N·m (225 lb·ft)
at 4000 min−1
9.1 (AT)
8.3 (MT)
228 (AT)
231 (MT)
730i V8[20][23] M60 V8 160 kW (215 hp)
at 5800 min−1
290 N·m (214 lb·ft)
at 4500 min−1
9.3 (AT)
8.5 (MT)
230 (AT)
233 (MT)
740i[20][24] M60 V8 210 kW (282 hp)
at 5800 min−1
400 N·m (295 lb·ft)
at 4500 min−1
7.4 240* 1992–1994
750i[20][6] M70 V12 220 kW (295 hp)
at 5200 min−1
450 N·m (332 lb·ft)
at 4100 min−1
7.4 250* 1987–1994 USA
1986–1994 Europe

* = electronically limited         Performance figures may differ for long models and gearing

Special models[edit]

750iL Highline[edit]

BMW 750i (Spain)

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 DM, 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).[25]

Goldfisch prototype[edit]

The Goldfisch was a single prototype of an E32 735iL powered with a 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.[26] The V16 engine has the same bore and stroke (84 mm × 75 mm) as the V12 BMW M70. It displaces 6650 cm3, 1162 cm3 more than the M70. The rated power is 300 kW (408 PS), it gives 613 N·m (62,5 kp·m) of maximum torque.[27] To prevent an ″arms race″ with other engine manufacturers, the V16 was never put into mass production. Also, the M70 had a lot of potential, its high performance version produced 280 kW and gave 550 N·m of torque, almost reaching the power output of the V16.[28]

Related cars[edit]

The E34 5 Series, introduced in 1988, has design cues similar to the E32. It also uses the same M30 straight-6 and M60 V8 engines, and several other parts.

The E31 8 Series, introduced in 1989, uses the same M60 V8 and M70 V12 engines as the E32.


  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". Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  4. ^ "Homage to Claus Luthe". (in German). Retrieved 10 March 2017. 
  5. ^ a b "1986 BMW 730i Automatic E32". 2008-04-03. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
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  8. ^ "Bus System Troubleshooting" (PDF). Retrieved 6 March 2017. 
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  12. ^ "BMW 7 Series (E32)". Retrieved 8 March 2017. 
  13. ^ "BMW Car Designers". Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  14. ^ "BMW Remembers the Second-Generation 7-Series E32". Retrieved 31 March 2017. 
  15. ^ Behrend, Jürgen. Hella 1899-1999. p. 97. 
  16. ^ Neumann, Rainer; Woerner, B. (1993). "Litronic – New Automotive Headlamp Technology with Gas Discharge Lamp". Automotive Design Engineering: 152–156. 
  17. ^ a b Die zweite Genertaion der BMW 7er-Reihe. P. 5. 1987
  18. ^ BMW V-12 Light Alloy Engine M70. P. 5. June 1987
  19. ^ BMW M60B40 Automobilmotor
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  27. ^ BMW Goldfisch
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