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BMW moves decisively to conquest the luxury and performance market in it's new line of E65 and E66 7 series autos...

the BMW 7


The introduction of the E65/66 seven series has freed upon the consuming public an interesting mix of ambitious design, performance and style. BMW retains its position as the quintessential luxury car maker with this prudent addition to a highly successful family of luxuriously spirited predecessors. However, in this wholly new creation, little remains reminiscent of the 1977 forebears, sure the name and the badge remain constant, but the feel and look of this 21st century saloon has entirely rewritten the book for BMW's future and for other carmakers seeking a slice of the same pie.


BMW introduced the E65, the new 7 series class, in 2001 with the release of the 8-cylinder 735i and 745i, both sporting new V8 Bi-Vanos Valvetronic engines. These new engines provide for a great deal of power, producing 200kW (272hp) and 245kW (333hp) respectively, both to reach an intentionally limited maximum speed of 250km/h. The new 7s didn't remain lonely for long, BMW subsequently introduced stretched and extended versions of the E65/66 in the 735Li and 745Li. The E66, fashioned as a new class again, was modeled in the later releases of the 760i and the 760Li, both powered by a generous Bi-Vanos Valvetronic engine of 12 cylinders, neatly packaged as a V12 capable of 327kW or 445hp.

the E65 7 Series BMW Sedan 2002


iDrive is a revolutionary new automobile management and driver orientation system. Most car functions are integrated into the new unit which resides conveniently in the steering wheel, from the control display one may manipulate the intricacies of the multi-zone air conditioning system, retract the sunroof or pop the boot. Essential and basic functions are also available upon the instruments panel should one prefer.


BMW's Bi-Vanos Valvetronic V8 (in the 735i and 745i) and V12 engines (760 models) allows for variation in valve-timing (Bi-Vanos technology), valve lift (Valvetronic technology) and the intake pipes to ensure engine adaptability and efficiency in all operating conditions. Essentially, the new technology makes the engine more dynamic, resistant to stress and committed to efficiency despite changes in the driving environment (e.g.. a gravel road as a opposed to a perfectly sealed and level road). Efficiency can be best found in the claim that fuel consumption for the new 7 series remains 14% down while increases in engine output and performance have risen by the same amount. As evident from the table, while fuel consumption is good for a car of this size, no miracles have been achieved, if you buy a 7 series, you are going to have to pay for fuel in ratio to the amount your car weighs and the size of its large (albeit comparatively efficient) engine.

Model Engine Type Power/Output Fuel Consumption Top Speed (km/h)*
735i V8 Bi-Vanos, Valvetronic 200kW (272hp) 10.7 litres / 100km 250/155mph
745i V8 Bi-Vanos, Valvetronic 245kW (333hp) 10.9 litres / 100km 250/155mph
735Li V8 Bi-Vanos, Valvetronic 200kW (272hp) 10.9 litres / 100km 250/155mph
745Li V8 Bi-Vanos, Valvetronic 245kW (333hp) 11.2 litres / 100km 250/155mph
760i V12 Bi-Vanos, Valvetronic 327kW (445hp) 13.4 litres / 100km 250/155mph
760Li V12 Bi-Vanos, Valvetronic 327kW (445hp) 13.4 litres / 100km 250/155mph

*A speed limiter on all E65/66's prevents the car from accelerating in excess of 250km/h or 155mph

Fuel consumption 735i 745i
ltr/100 km
15.0 15.5
ltr/100 km
8.2 8.3
Mixed Conditions
ltr/100 km
10.7 10.9
259 263
(Source: BMW Nation, see REF)

Engine 735i 745i
Engine Type
V8, 4 valves/cyl. V8, 4 valves/cyl
Engine management
3,600 4,398
84.0/81.2 92.0/82.7
Compression ratio
10.5 10.5
Fuel grade (3)
91–983 91–983
Max output
200/272 245/333

at engine speed

6200 6000
Max torque
360/265 450/332

at engine speed

3,700 3,600
(Source: BMW Nation, see REF)


Transmission is directed through a compact and efficient six-speed automatic unit (as standard on all new 7s), one may overide and control the gear transitions using "shift-by-wire" technology, which is fancy rhetoric for a selector lever, activated as desired to move up and down through the gears. Alternatively the "Steptronic" buttons of the integrated iDrive system located on the steering also perform the same function well and comfortably at convenience to the driver. While to disappoint some, no true manual edition of the 7 exists, though the intervention the hybrid auto transmission offers serves to pacify any serious complaints: the design works well to allow the driver a satisfying degree of control should one want it. Of course, one may just sit back and let the highly capable automatic simply drive the car for you, filling the luxury niche in the first place excellently.


Suspension is where the new 7 comes into its own. A new driving standard for comfort has clearly been set here. The aluminum suspension system is wired to the "Dynamic Drive Control" unit, which automatically adjusts the suspension according to driving conditions, in addition, Electronic Damper Control (EDC) features a continuous map controlled management system which downloads relevant terrain information from the GPS Satellite Unit and modifies the suspension to suit. Pneumatic suspension with automatic self-leveling on the rear axle is also available as an option.


Safety is also a topnotch aspect of the new 7, a decentralised integrated safety response system is embedded throughout the vehicle to ensure the timely response of airbags precisely and selectively given any crash situation. Side and regular airbags exist for the driver and all passengers.

The Extended 'Li' Luxury Difference

"Li" models offer an extended wheelbase to provide additional comfort and space to rear passengers. The extra 14cm provides more legroom, coordinated with other technologies including rear axle automated suspension and multi-climate air conditioning which operates to the benefit of a rear passenger, making available one setting to an individual while allowing other passengers or the driver to enjoy their preferred climate conditions. For some there is purely the aesthetic value to a longer body which brings out the curves and the prestigious style of the 7 series form.

the E66 7 Series, 745Li with long wheelbase

The 7 Body

The 7 series body encompasses a weight efficient but robust, silent and strong philosophy. Aluminum forms the bonnet and side panels, while 82% steel strengthens the general body sheeting for fuel economy, crash protection and general structural integrity. A resilient bodyshell progressively contributes to a silent and enjoyable driving experience, engineering utilising exhaustive computational processes to maximise efficiency in weight with strength and robustness have resulted in a truly excellent body suited to car of this size.

Self-Diagnosis and Troubleshooting

BMW has committed to a new service standard, both convenient and effective in saving time and money for the 7 series owner. A sensory system continually monitors core components of the engine and other critical parts of the vehicle for any change, malfunction or risk to operational capacity. The car will alert the driver should any incident arise and indicate when the car requires a service to remain in optimal condition. "Condition Based Service" as it is called assists greatly in the management of the expensive investment that is a new 7 series, able to report recommendations to change the oil or replace the coolant.

The BMW V12 N73 Engine, as found in the 760i & 760Li, capable of 327kW of power, or  445hp

V12 Engine Close-up

The 760i and 760Li and powered by the new V12 Bi-Vanos Valvetronic engine, sporting an impressive 6.0 litres of displacement with dual overhead camshafts per cylinder and boasting four valves for every cylinder. The engine is similar to the V8 N62 engines of the 735i and 745i but is distinguished by further technological innovation for the higher-end series of the 760s. The N73 engine of 12 cylinders (V12) mirrors the commonly recognised archetypal propulsion standard of ultra luxury high performance saloons. In choosing a V12 for the higher end of the 7s, BMW in effect did nothing new, the V12 is by the laws of physics suited to unit of this type, the symmetrical "V" shape formed by the six cylinders on each side balances thrust for stable acceleration and a smooth cruising capacity at any speed (within reason).

Like its V8 N62 cousins, the V12 N73s also flaunt the new technology of the Bi-Vanos system which varies valve-timing "by rotating the intake and exhaust camshafts steplessly between “earliest” and “latest” settings for further optimization of engine power, emissions and fuel efficiency." (BMW Nation, see REF) VANOS is a handy acronym for VAriable NOckenwellen Steuerung, which from German may be translated to read "variable camshaft control", while not a completely new innovation for the 7s, (it is present in some other recent BMW lines) the matching of Valvetronic with Bi-Vanos is a world first claimed by the BMW propulsion units of the new 7s. In addition, BMW has refined yet another feature of the standard engine you or I might find in a traditional contemporary car, the Bavarian manufacturer has taken the orthodox air cooled alternator and cooled it through a liquid system. This results in a tidy, compact and quieter unit (fully sealed and enclosed against noise) that at the end of the day produces a greater electrical charge.

Weighing in at 280 kilograms, one could not call the modestly-sized engine a light one. Yet, considering its power, all 327kW of it for the V12 N73, one could not be asking much more in terms of weight reduction. For longevity and durability, the inner construction of the engine (namely the cylinder block) is constituted of silicon embedded aluminum, termed "Alusil". Silicon crystals, after manufacture, are hardened to protect the engine surface against wear. BMW here retains a standard for high-quality, long-lasting components to match its established reputation for mechanical innovation and excellence.

The V12 is certainly a streamlined engine, its reserved approach to power evident in the "long-legged" gearing system which has the 760i powering along in sixth gear, at a speed of 160km/h at an rpm of only 2,500! Clearly this engine has room to expand in speed terms, easily capable of the limited 250km/h or beyond (should the limiter not have existed). While speed is certainly a forte of the 760s, the real pleasure that comes from this state-of-the-art engine is a relaxed and satisfying driving experience. The healthy roar of the V12, evident just perhaps above the extensive noise reducing elements of the 7 emitts a clear and authoritive stigma of driving class and reserved power.


Specifications - the 760i / Li

Engine V12, 48 valve, Valvetronic Weight 2090kg (Li, 2150kg)
Capacity 5972cc 0-100km/h 5.5 secs (Li, 5.6)
Max Power 445bhp (327kW) @ 6000rpm Max Speed 250mkm/h
Max Torque 443lb ft (600Nm) @ 3950 rpm Economy 13.4ltr/100km
Transmission Six Speed Automatic UK Price £76,350 (Li, £78,450)


Vehicle Features 735i E65, 2001
  • 18in Alloy Wheels
  • 8 Speaker Stereo
  • Adjustable Steering Column - Power
  • Air Cond. - Climate Control Multi-Zone
  • Airbags - Driver & Passenger (Dual)
  • Airbags - Head For Front
  • Airbags - Head For Rear Occupants
  • Airbags - Side For Front Occupants
  • Airbags - Side For Rear Occupants
  • Armrest - Rear Occupants
  • Armrests - Front (Driver & Passenger)
  • Abs (Antilock Brakes)
  • Alarm
  • Body Coloured Bumpers
  • Brake Assist
  • Cd Stacker - 6 Disc In Dash/Cabin
  • Central Locking - Remote/Keyless
  • Control - Automatic Stability + Traction
  • Control - Park Distance
  • Car Phone
  • Cd Player
  • Cruise Control
  • Disc Brakes Rear Ventilated
  • Disc Brakes Front Ventilated
  • Ebd (Electronic Brake Force Distribution
  • Electric Drivers Seat With Memory
  • Electric Front Seats
  • Engine Immobiliser
  • Fog Lamps
  • Gps (Satellite Navigation)
  • Headlamp Washers
  • Headlamps - Bi-Xenon (For Low & High Bea
  • Headlamps Automatic (Light Senstive)
  • Heat Insulated - Windscreen
  • Internal Mirror - Anti-Glare
  • Leather Trim (Incl. Seats, Inserts)
  • Leather Steering Wheel
  • Multi-Function Control Screen
  • Metallic Paint
  • Multi-Function Steering Wheel
  • On Board Television
  • On-Board Computer
  • Power Door Mirrors
  • Power Door Mirrors - Folding
  • Power Steering - Speed Sensitive
  • Power Windows - Front & Rear
  • Rear View Mirror - Electric Anti Glare
  • Rain Sensor (Auto Wipers)
  • Rear Head Rests
  • Voice Recognition
  • Woodgrain Facette
  • Woodgrain Inserts
    REF01 (BMW Nation) - Portions of the material presented in this feature including (1) direct quote, numerous statistics and table data are the original intellectual property of is a independent site not associated with BMW AG. The BMW name, marks, and Roundel logo used in the pages of this website are the property of BMW AG. This website is not sponsored or affiliated in any way with BMW AG or any of its subsidiaries. The views, opinions and information represented on this website are in no way held to be absolute, accurate or endorsed by BMW.

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    Last Updated:
    Saturday, May 19, 2007 18:41 WST

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