BMW 7 Series (E65)

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BMW 7 Series
2006 BMW 730d (E65) sedan (2015-07-09) 01.jpg
Manufacturer BMW
Production 2001–2008
Assembly Dingolfing, Germany
Rayong, Thailand
Toluca, Mexico
Kaliningrad, Russia
Designer Adrian van Hooydonk (1998)
Chris Bangle (1998, 1999)
Body and chassis
Class Full-size luxury car (F)
Body style 4-door sedan
Layout F4 layout
Engine Petrol:
3.0 L M54 I6
3.0 L N52 I6
3.6 - 4.8 L N62 V8
6.0 L N73 V12
3.0 L M57 I6
3.9 - 4.4 L M67 V8
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase E65: 2,990 mm (117.7 in)
E66: 3,130 mm (123.2 in)
Length E65 pre-LCI: 5,029 mm (198.0 in)
E65 LCI: 5,039 mm (198.4 in)
E66 pre-LCI: 5,169 mm (203.5 in)
E66 LCI: 5,179 mm (203.9 in)
Width 1,902 mm (74.9 in)
Height 1,484–1,492 mm (58.4–58.7 in)
Curb weight 1,805–2,225 kg (3,979–4,905 lb)
Predecessor BMW 7 Series (E38)
Successor BMW 7 Series (F01)

The BMW E65 is the fourth generation of the BMW 7 Series range of full-size luxury sedans, and was produced from 2001 to 2008. The variants of the range are:

The E65 was the first BMW to include iDrive, "flame-surfacing" exterior styling, active anti-roll bars, a 6-speed automatic transmission, an electronic Smart Key (dispensing with the traditional metallic key) and night vision. The 760i model was the world's first production V12 engine to use direct injection.[1][2]

In late 2008, the F01 7 Series replaced the E65 7 Series.

Development and launch[edit]

Development for the BMW E65 7 Series began in early 1996. In early 1997, Chris Bangle delivered a brief to BMW's Munich and DesignworksUSA studios, after competition between 20 designers Adrian van Hooydonk's design was approved in the spring of 1998.[3] Production specifications were frozen in January 1999.[4][5][6][7] The design of the BMW E65 7 Series was patented 16 November 2000[8] and development ended in early 2001. It was introduced at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September 2001.[9][10][11]

The E65 was first launched in Europe in November 2001.[12] The launch model in the USA was the 745i, which was released in January 2002, followed by the long-wheelbase 745Li in March.[13][14]

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.[15]

Exterior styling[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.[16]

BMW's board of directors were keen to move the company's image into the future, and the initial styling sketches from 1998 by Adrian van Hooydonk were of a fastback body style - even more radical than the eventual production model.[17] The controversial "flame surfacing" design theme[18][19] greatly contrasted the conservative lines of its E38 predecessor. The rear end styling was nicknamed the "Bangle Butt", due to the elongated rear bootlid.[20][21]

Dimensionally the E65 7 Series is 45mm longer, 38mm wider and 60mm taller than the E38.[22] The wheelbase is 5,029 mm (198 in),[23] an increase of 60mm over the outgoing model. Despite these increased dimensions, the E65 7 Series is only 15 kg (33 lb) heavier than the E38.


The E65 was the first BMW to use the iDrive infotainment system.[24] The system was built on hardware similar to previous models,[citation needed] but featured a new interface primarily based on a 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. Early versions of iDrive were criticised for a steep learning curve and complicated menu structures.[25][22]

The first generation of the system relied on CD media for map data. In March 2003, the maps switched to DVD format,[26] a faster processor was used and 'Menu' and 'Customisable' button were added below the control knob. In 2005, dedicated buttons were added to change radio stations or skip tracks[27] and a brighter screen was used for the 8.8" widescreen option.


The interior was praised for the quality of its leather and wood finishes.[22][25]

The E65 contained many departures from automotive interior design conventions. BMW removed the traditional console mounted gear selector replacing it with a steering-column mounted stalk,[19][28] in favour of two cup holders. The e-brake is controlled using a button on the dashboard.[29] 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 drew some criticisms.[22] Unlike most BMWs since 1975 (including the E65's predecessor and successor), the centre instrument panel is not angled towards the driver.[30]

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


Rectangular key-fob

The E65 was the flagship model[31] and the most technologically advanced car produced by BMW at the time.

The following features were first introduced on the E65:

  • V8 models were the first to use BMW's new N62 V8 engine. This was the world's first engines to use a continuously variable-length intake manifold.[32][33] It was also the first V8 engine to use variable valve lift (Valvetronic).[citation needed] The variable valve lift replaces throttle butterflies (during normal running conditions) for added response, efficiency and power.[34]
  • Active anti-roll bars (Active Roll Stabilisation) to reduce body roll when cornering. Similar the system pioneered on the Citroen Xantia Activa introduced in 1994, it uses a hydraulic servo in the middle of the anti-roll bar to actively counteract body roll, to reduce body roll without the traditional trade-off in ride comfort.
  • Directional headlights (Adaptive Headlights) which could electronically adjust the low beam lights horizontally (during turns) and vertically (based on rear axle load) adjustment of the low beam. Also, the E65 was the first BMW available with Bi-Xenon (HID) headlights.
  • World’s first 6-speed automatic transmission in a sedan.[citation needed]
  • Electronic key-fob replaced the traditional blade key.[28]
  • World's first car with an Electric park brake. This could automatically activate in stop-and-go traffic situations and when the ignition was switched off.
  • First BMW with DVD-based GPS Automotive navigation system.
  • 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.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), however this was available in some markets on the previous generation 7 Series (E38).
  • The optional Automatic Soft Close system minimized the force required to close the doors and boot lid, and would completely close them if improperly closed.
  • Two fibre optic electronic networks: MOST Bus (Media Orientated System Transport)[citation needed] and "Byteflight" (safety systems bus). These busses operate at 22.5Mbit/s and 10Mbit/s respectively. Also, the I-bus, K-bus and P-bus were replaced by the K-CAN (Body-Controller Area Network). This increased the system speed from 9.6kbit/s to 100kbit/s.


Petrol engines[edit]

Model Engine Years Power Torque Accel.[35] Top speed
730i M54B30
2002–2004 170 kW (228 bhp) 300 N·m (221 lb·ft) 8.0 s 241 km/h (150 mph)
2004–2008 190 kW (255 bhp) 300 N·m (221 lb·ft) 7.5 s 237 km/h (147 mph)
735i N62B36
2001–2004 200 kW (268 bhp) 360 N·m (266 lb·ft) 7.5 s 250 km/h (155 mph)
740i N62B40
2004–2008 225 kW (302 bhp) 390 N·m (288 lb·ft) 6.5 s 250 km/h (155 mph)
745i N62B44
2001–2004 245 kW (329 bhp) 450 N·m (332 lb·ft) 6.0 s 250 km/h (155 mph)
750i N62B48
2004–2008 270 kW (362 bhp) 490 N·m (361 lb·ft) 5.7 s 250 km/h (155 mph)
760i N73B60
2002–2008 327 kW (439 bhp) 600 N·m (443 lb·ft) 5.3 s 250 km/h (155 mph)
Alpina B7 N62B44
V8 S/C
2006-2008 368 kW (493 bhp) 700 N·m (516 lb·ft) 4.9 s 299 km/h (186 mph)

Diesel engines[edit]

Model Engine Years Power Torque Accel.[35] Top speed
730d M57D30TU
2001–2004 160 kW (215 bhp) 500 N·m (369 lb·ft) 7.7 s 234 km/h (145 mph)
2005–2008 170 kW (228 bhp) 520 N·m (384 lb·ft) 7.5 s 234 km/h (145 mph)
740d M67D40TU
2002–2004 193 kW (259 bhp) 600 N·m (443 lb·ft) 7.1 s 250 km/h (155 mph)
745d M67D44
2005–2006 220 kW (295 bhp) 700 N·m (516 lb·ft) 6.5 s 250 km/h (155 mph)
2006–2008 240 kW (322 bhp) 750 N·m (553 lb·ft) 6.5 s 250 km/h (155 mph)

Special models[edit]

Alpina B7[edit]

Alpina B7 (post-facelift)
Alpina B7 (post-facelift)

The first-generation of Alpina B7 models is based on the E65 745i. The Alpina B7 prototype was introduced to the public in the 2003 Geneva Motor Show in March, the production version was unveiled at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show[36] and production began in February 2004.[37] A long-wheelbase model, based on the E66 platform, started production a few years later.[when?]

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.[38] The official performance figures are a top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph) and 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) of 4.9 seconds.[39]

Exterior changes for the B7 include a more prominent front spoiler, a rear spoiler (to increase stability at high speeds),[36] 21 inch wheels in the traditional Alpina multi-spoke style and Alpina badges. Interior changes include sports seats, a blue background and red needles for the instrument cluster, different wood trim, a three spoke steering wheel with shift paddles, revised door sill trims and a silver plated production plaque.

The B7 was built in the Dingolfing BMW plant alongside the regular E65 models.[40] 803 units were produced for North America, from November 2006 to January 2008. 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.[citation needed] The chassis number for the E65 B7 is a BMW code, rather than Alpina. An additional 311 cars were produced February 2004 to September 2008 for other countries[where?]. The chassis number for these additional cars is by Alpina, not BMW.

Long-Wheelbase 7 Series (E66)[edit]

The E66 long-wheelbase models were introduced in June 2002. There models, badged "Li", are 140 mm (6 in) longer compared to the normal E65 7 Series models, which is reflected in the extra rear legroom.[41]

The initial long wheelbase models were the 730Li, 735Li and 745Li. In 2003, the 760Li model was added.[42][43]

BMW High Security 7 Series (E67)[edit]

High Security model

The 760Li High Security was introduced at the 2003 Geneva Motor Show, and is an armoured variant of the BMW 7 Series. The 745Li High Security was released later in September 2003.[44]

E65 High Security models are designed to withstand attacks, and meet the requirements of the B7 weapons standard.[45] Security features include a detachable multi-layer laminated windscreen, a remote starting system, a fire extinguishing system, a fresh air system, and under-body protection.[46] High Security models also feature run flat tyres, with Michelin’s PAX system; which allows continuous driving of 80km/h for approximately 50km, with a puncture.[46]

BMW offers a buyback service for High Security models up to 7 years old, which are inspected then resold to potential customers worldwide. A training course is also available for owners and chauffeurs, and teaches car control in case of emergency situations.[44]

BMW Hydrogen 7 (E68)[edit]

BMW Hydrogen 7

The BMW Hydrogen 7 is a limited production model based on the 760Li that uses a hydrogen-powered engine. It uses a modified version of the 760Li's N73 V12 engine that produces 191 kW (256 bhp). Claimed fuel economy is 50 L/100 km (4.7 mpg‑US) and the hydrogen is stored as a liquid in an insulated 170 L (45 US gal) tank.

Only 100 cars were made, which were leased to high-profile customers, in order to promote the use of hydrogen vehicles.

Model year changes[edit]


  • iDrive updates: Addition of 'Menu' and 'Customisable' buttons, maps switched to DVD format and a faster processor was used.
  • Exterior styling revised to soften appearance.[19]

2005 facelift (LCI)[edit]

In March 2005, the E65 facelift (also known as LCI) was released.[47] In the United States, it was sold as the 2006 model year. The facelift features significant exterior styling revisions, to soften the appearance.[48][19]

The major changes are:

  • Revised styling for front and rear bodywork, headlights and tail-lights (including removal of the centre light bar running across the boot lid).[49] BMW offered "conversion kits" which could be purchased by existing owners to apply these exterior changes to pre-facelift cars.[47]
  • Automatic gear shifter became a stalk on the steering column[19]
  • iDrive updates including a simplified interface, clearer graphics and the iDrive controller now having a leather top surface.[50]
  • 745i replaced by 750i, with an extra 25 kW (34 bhp).[51][52] of power.
  • 735i replaced by 740i, with an extra 25 kW (34 bhp) of power.[47]
  • 740d replaced by 745d, with an extra 20 kW (27 bhp) of power.
  • 730i engine upgraded from M54 to N52, for a 20 kW (27 bhp) increase in power.
  • 730d power increased by 10 kW (13 bhp).
  • Rear track width increased by 14 mm (0.55 in).[53]
  • Adaptive cruise control upgraded to ACC II.

Late 2005[edit]

In late 2005, BMW introduced BMW Night Vision on its E65 7 Series.[54] This system uses passive infrared and processes far infrared radiation,[55] 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.[56]

At the same time, automatic beam switching (High-Beam Assistant) was introduced. This system detects oncoming light sources to automatically engage the high beam lights in dark areas and then dip the high beam lights to avoid dazzling oncoming traffic.[56]

Production volumes[edit]

The following is a list showing the number of BMW E65 7 Series models produced.

Year Available Engines Production volume
2001 735i, 745i 2,979
2002* 730i, 735i, 745i, 760i, 730d, 740d 53,904
2003 730i, 735i, 745i, 760i, 730d, 740d 57,899
2004 730i, 735i, 740i, 745i, 750i, 760i, 740d, 745d 47,689
2005 730i, 740i, 750i, 760i, 730d, 745d 50,062
2006 730i, 740i, 750i, 760i, 730d, 745d 50,227
2007 730i, 740i, 750i, 760i, 730d, 745d 44,421
2008 730i, 740i, 750i, 760i, 730d, 745d 38,835
Total 343,073

* 50,961 E65 7 Series and 2,543 E38 7 Series.[citation needed]


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