Engineering:BMW 7 Series (E65)

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BMW 7 Series
2006 BMW 730d (E65) sedan (2015-07-09) 01.jpg
ProductionJuly 2001 – 2008
  • Adrian van Hooydonk (1998)
  • Chris Bangle (1998, 1999)
Body and chassis
ClassFull-size luxury car (F)
Body style4-door sedan
LayoutFront-engine, rear-wheel drive
RelatedAlpina B7 (E65)
  • 3.0 L M54 I6 (petrol)
  • 3.0 L N52 I6 (petrol)
  • 3.0 L M57 I6 turbo (diesel)
  • 3.6 – 4.8 L N62 V8 (petrol)
  • 3.9 – 4.4 L M67 V8 twin-turbo (diesel)
  • 6.0 L N73 V12 (petrol)
Transmission6-speed automatic
  • 2,990 mm (117.7 in) (E65)
  • 3,130 mm (123.2 in) (E66)
  • 5,029 mm (198.0 in) (E65)
  • 5,169 mm (203.5 in) (E66)
Width1,902 mm (74.9 in)
Height1,484–1,492 mm (58.4–58.7 in)
uk|uk|Kerb|Curb}} weight1,710–2,040 kg (3,770–4,497 lb)
PredecessorBMW 7 Series (E38)
SuccessorBMW 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:

  • sedan (E65 model code)
  • long-wheelbase sedan (E66 model code)
  • armoured car sedan (E67 model code, marketed as High Security 7 Series)
  • hydrogen-powered sedan (E68 model code, marketed as Hydrogen 7)

The E65 was the first BMW vehicle to include the iDrive infotainment system, the new brand design language, 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 also utilised the world's first production V12 engine to use direct injection.[2][3]

In late 2008, the E65 7 Series was replaced by the 7 Series (F01).

Development and launch

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 a competition between 20 designers, Adrian van Hooydonk's design was approved in the spring of 1998.[4] Production specifications were frozen in January 1999 and took 34 months from freeze to market launch.[5][6][7][8] The design was patented on 16 November 2000[9] and development ended in early 2001.

The E65 was introduced at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September 2001,[10][11][12] and launched in Europe on November 2001.[13] The launch model in the U.S. was the 745i model, which was released in January 2002, followed by the long-wheelbase 745Li in March.[14][15]

In order to produce the E65 7 Series and other future models, the BMW Dingolfing plant was retooled at a cost of approximately €500,000,000.[16]


Exterior styling

Under the direction of Chris Bangle, BMW's Design Chief at the time, the BMW E65 7 Series heralded a new styling era for BMW.[17]

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.[18] The controversial "flame surfacing" design[19][20] greatly contrasted the conservative lines of its E38 predecessor. The rear end styling was nicknamed "Bangle Butt" by critics, due to the elongated rear bootlid.[21][22]

Dimensionally the E65 7 Series is 45 mm (1.8 in) longer, 38 mm (1.5 in) wider and 60 mm (2.4 in) taller than the E38.[23] The wheelbase is 2,990 mm (117.7 in),[24] an increase of 60 mm (2.4 in) over the outgoing model. Despite these increased dimensions, the E65 7 Series is only 15 kg (33 lb) heavier than the E38.

Interior styling

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[20][25] in favour of two cup holders. The e-brake is controlled using a button on the dashboard.[26] The seat 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.[23] Unlike most BMWs since 1975 (including the E65's predecessor and successor), the centre instrument panel is not angled towards the driver.[27]

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


The E65 was the first BMW to use the iDrive infotainment system.[28] The system was built on the Windows CE for Automotive platform,[29] and featured an interface primarily based around 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 for centralised control. Early versions of iDrive were criticised for complicated menu structures and a steep learning curve.[30][23]

The first generation of the system relied on CD media for map data. In March 2003, the maps switched to DVD format,[31] a faster processor was used and a 'Menu' and 'Customisable' button were added below the control knob. In 2005, dedicated buttons were added to change radio stations or skip tracks[32] and a brighter screen was used for the 8.8" widescreen option.


Rectangular key-fob

The E65 was the flagship model[33] 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, which was the world's first engine to use a continuously variable-length intake manifold.[34] It was also BMW's first V8 engine to use variable valve lift (Valvetronic),[35][36] replacing throttle butterflies (during normal running conditions) for added response, efficiency and power.[37]
  • Active anti-roll bars (Active Roll Stabilisation) to reduce body roll when cornering. It uses a hydraulic servo in the middle of the anti-roll bar to actively counteract body roll and to reduce body roll without the traditional trade-off in ride comfort.
  • Directional headlights (Adaptive Headlights) which 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.[38][39]
  • 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.
  • 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)[40][41] 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.



The available transmissions are:[42]

  • 6-speed ZF 6HP26 automatic (730d / 735i / 740d / 740i / 745i / 750i / 760i)
  • 6-speed ZF 6HP19 automatic (730i)
  • 6-speed ZF 6HP32 automatic (745d)


Petrol engines

Model Engine Years Power Torque 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph)
730i M54B30
3.0 L I6
2004–2005 170 kW (228 bhp; 231 PS)
at 5,900 rpm
300 N⋅m (221 lb⋅ft)
at 3,500 rpm
8.1 s
3.0 L I6
2005–2008 190 kW (255 bhp; 258 PS)
at 6,600 rpm
300 N⋅m (221 lb⋅ft)
at 2,500–4,000 rpm
7.8 s
735i N62B36
3.6 L V8
2001–2004 200 kW (268 bhp; 272 PS)
at 6,200 rpm
360 N⋅m (266 lb⋅ft)
at 3,700 rpm
7.5 s
740i N62B40
4.0 L V8
2004–2008 225 kW (302 bhp; 306 PS)
at 6,300 rpm
390 N⋅m (288 lb⋅ft)
at 3,500 rpm
6.8 s
745i N62B44
4.4 L V8
2001–2004 245 kW (329 bhp; 333 PS)
at 6,100 rpm
450 N⋅m (332 lb⋅ft)
at 3,600 rpm
6.3 s
750i N62B48
4.8 L V8
2004–2008 270 kW (362 bhp; 367 PS)
at 6,300 rpm
490 N⋅m (361 lb⋅ft)
at 3,400 rpm
5.9 s
760i N73B60
6.0 L V12
2002–2008 327 kW (439 bhp; 445 PS)
at 6,000 rpm
600 N⋅m (443 lb⋅ft)
at 3,950 rpm
5.5 s
Alpina B7 N62B44
V8 S/C
2003–2008 368 kW (493 bhp; 500 PS)
at 5,500 rpm
700 N⋅m (516 lb⋅ft)
at 4,250 rpm
4.9 s

Diesel engines

Model Engine Years Power Torque 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph)
730d M57D30TU
3.0 L I6 turbo
2002–2005 160 kW (215 bhp; 218 PS)
at 4,000 rpm
500 N⋅m (369 lb⋅ft)
at 2,000 rpm
8.0 s
3.0 L I6 turbo
2005–2008 170 kW (228 bhp; 231 PS)
at 4,000 rpm
520 N⋅m (384 lb⋅ft)
at 2,000–2,750 rpm
7.8 s
740d M67TUD40
3.9 L V8 twin-turbo
2002–2004 190 kW (255 bhp; 258 PS)
at 4,000 rpm
600 N⋅m (443 lb⋅ft)
at 1,900–2,500 rpm
7.4 s
745d M67D44
4.4 L V8 twin-turbo
2005 220 kW (295 bhp; 299 PS)
at 4,000 rpm
700 N⋅m (516 lb⋅ft)
at 1,750–2,500 rpm
6.8 s
4.4 L V8 twin-turbo
2005–2008 242 kW (325 bhp; 329 PS)
at 3,800 rpm
750 N⋅m (553 lb⋅ft)
at 1,900–2,500 rpm
6.6 s

Special models

Alpina B7

Main page: Engineering:Alpina B7 (E65)
Alpina B7 (post-facelift)

The Alpina B7 prototype was introduced to the public at the 2003 Geneva Motor Show in March, and the production version was later unveiled at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show.[43] Production began in February 2004,[44] and was built in the Dingolfing BMW plant alongside the regular E65 models.

The Alpina B7 uses a supercharged version of the 4.4-litre V8 found in the 745i, and was the first Alpina model to feature a supercharged engine.[45]

Exterior changes include a rear spoiler[43] and 21-inch traditional Alpina multi-spoke style wheels. Interior changes include sports seats, an Alpina instrument cluster, a three spoke steering wheel with shift buttons, and a silver plated production plaque.

803 units were produced for North America, and 311 cars were produced for other countries.

Long-Wheelbase 7 Series (E66)

The E66 long-wheelbase models, badged "Li" were introduced in June 2002. Long-wheelbase models are 140 mm (5.5 in) longer, allowing for extra rear legroom.[46] The initial long wheelbase models were the 735Li, 745Li and 760Li In 2003, 730Li, 730Ld, 740Li and 750Li model was added to the lineup in 2005. [47][48]

BMW High Security 7 Series (E67)

The E67 High Security 7 Series is an armoured variant of the BMW 7 Series. The 760Li High Security was introduced at the 2003 Geneva Motor Show, with the 745Li High Security model released later in September 2003.[49]

E65 High Security models are designed to withstand attacks, and meet the requirements of the B7 weapons standard.[50] 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.[51] High Security models also feature run flat tyres, with Michelin’s PAX system; which allows continuous driving of 80 km/h (50 mph) for approximately 50 km (31 mi), with a puncture.[51]

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 offered to owners and chauffeurs, and teaches car control in case of emergency situations.[49]

BMW Hydrogen 7 (E68)

BMW Hydrogen 7

The BMW Hydrogen 7 is a limited production hydrogen-fueled model. It uses a modified version of the 760Li's N73 V12 engine, producing 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


  • iDrive updates: Addition of 'Menu' and 'Customisable' buttons, maps switched to DVD format, and a faster processor was used.
  • 760i & 760Li V12 model was introduced.

2005 facelift

In March 2005, the E65 facelift was introduced.[52] In the United States, it was sold as the 2006 model year.

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).[53] BMW offered "conversion kits" that could be purchased by existing owners to apply these exterior changes to pre-facelift cars.[52]
  • iDrive updates including a simplified interface, clearer graphics, and the iDrive controller now having a leather top surface.[54]
  • 740i, 750i, and 745d engines introduced as replacements.[52]
  • 730i and 730d engines received minor performance and efficiency upgrades.
  • Rear track width increased by 14 mm (0.55 in).[55]
  • Adaptive cruise control upgraded to ACC II.

Pre-facelift styling

Post-facelift styling

Late 2005

In late 2005, BMW introduced BMW Night Vision[56] which uses passive infrared and processes far infrared radiation,[57] to minimise non-essential information, placing a greater emphasis on pedestrians and animals. It allows for a range of 300 m (980 ft), and avoids "dazzle" from headlights, road lights and similar intense light sources.[58]

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.[58]

Production volumes

The following are production figures for E65 7 Series models:

Year Total
2001 2,979
2002 50,961
2003 57,899
2004 47,689
2005 50,062
2006 50,227
2007 44,421
2008 38,835
Total: 343,073


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