RE: BMW 740i (E38): Spotted

RE: BMW 740i (E38): Spotted

Wednesday 1st May

BMW 740i (E38): Spotted

Remember the days when you could count on a large BMW saloon to be as handsome as a Luftwaffe fighter ace?



The latest BMW 7 Series is a handsome car from almost every angle - but its April Fool's joke of a snout has even the frequently divided world of automotive enthusiasts united in derision. The situation at launch wasn't too dissimilar from Chris Bangle's notorious rethink of the same model, which attracted comparable scorn in the early 2000s, albeit for the styling of the opposite end of the car.

Nowadays Bangle's design looks rather smart, likely falling into the 'ahead of its time' section of BMW's back catalogue - though if the same is to ever become true of the facelifted G11 iteration, I'm not sure that's a future I want to live in. Luckily today's Spotted is an antidote to all that; an example of the lineage which needs no equivocation.


With its smart, broad lines, bulging arches and upright stance, the E38 7 Series managed to look both dignified and sporty at the same time - comfortable yet purposeful, a thoroughbred saloon fit for A-roads and Autobahns alike.

Under the bonnet a range of engine provided the go to match the show. No, our hero may not boast the 5.4-litre V12 of the 750, with its 322hp, 361lb ft and ultimate bragging rights, but your wallet will likely thank you for that down the road. Instead we must make do with the 282hp and 325lb ft of our Spotted's 4.4-litre V8 - still a lot of engine, if not a prodigious output, nearly two decades on.

To sweeten the deal further, the 740i in question is a one-owner car. With just 43,000 miles on the clock (that's less than 2,400 miles a year) and a fastidious service history, it seems to be in excellent shape. Those multi-spoke radial wheels look to be in fantastic condition, their perfect ratio of rim to rubber filling the arches just so.


And being a 7-Series, many of the mod-cons you'd still pay extra for on a car today are present and correct - it was the first European model to be available with sat-nav, after all. There's heated front and rear seats, dual-zone climate control, power folding mirrors, rain sensing wipers, a multifunction sports steering wheel, it's even got an electric rear blind. The claimed sunroof does seem conspicuous in its absence, though...

Sure, some of those electrics may prove to be irksome during ownership, and if this particular car has been specced with the optional double-glazed windows then delamination may be a concern - but then again it may not. Either way you'll have one of the most handsome saloons ever made, powered by a silky smooth V8 to waft around in; a car that was fit for 007, no less. Okay, so Brosnan's Bond may have had the V12 (naturally) but who's really going to know? In an era when new cars really can navigate a car park with the touch of a phone, this old pretender is still where my money would go.


SPECIFICATION - BMW 740i (E38)

Engine:
4,398cc V8
Transmission: 5-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 282
Torque (lb ft): 325
MPG: N/A
CO2: N/A
First registered: 2001
Recorded mileage: 43,000
Price new: £45,000 (2001)
Yours for: £9,495

See the full ad here

Author
Discussion

Numeric

Original Poster:

471 posts

92 months

Wednesday 1st May
quotequote all
For me the high point for BMW - a time when it's products were so clearly better than everyone else's and their styling so incredibly resolved. Sure the odd wrong-un (Z3 take a bow) but overall after the E46 & E39 et al the superiority just faded away...

That was the Wolfgang and crowd and boy those folks were good.

deltashad

6,712 posts

138 months

Wednesday 1st May
quotequote all
I think the latest generation 7 is a great looking car. Before that, the last attractive 7 was the e38. I was not a huge e39 fan, small kidney grill e34 in SE spec was a fabulous design.

la5tn1nja

14 posts

13 months

Wednesday 1st May
quotequote all
A beauty. Not sure time has been so kind to Bangle’s one.

andy43

6,110 posts

195 months

Wednesday 1st May
quotequote all
Proper.
Makes the current tat look like chinese xmas decorations.

Halo in reverse

71 posts

48 months

Wednesday 1st May
quotequote all
E38 - IMHO one of the best looking saloons of the last 25 years, prices only going 1 way now.

Z3 wrong un......really ? It's looks have aged so well compared to other cars of the same era (step up Boxster), obv the Z3 was not as good to drive as the Box but its the Z3 market that is climbing upwards right now

Edited by Halo in reverse on Wednesday 1st May 07:59

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85Carrera

1,841 posts

178 months

Wednesday 1st May
quotequote all
Another dealer who obscures the number late to prevent you checking MOT history, so one to avoid for me.

E65Ross

22,445 posts

153 months

Wednesday 1st May
quotequote all
Funny how the E38 was actually slated as being boring and conservative when it was released, eh.

The E38 is a great car, I used to have one. But to drive, the E65 knocked it into a cocked hat.

Triumph Man

5,767 posts

109 months

Wednesday 1st May
quotequote all
I'd rate the E38 better in looks than the E39 - and that's not a bad looking car (and I own one). I think if you asked someone to draw what they pictured as a BMW saloon, they'd draw this. Or they'd draw a pair of massive grilles.

I like the look of the G11 Pre facelift, but the grilles on the new one are truly gopping!

aston addict

217 posts

99 months

Wednesday 1st May
quotequote all
Great looking car, agree with previous poster, makes the latest facelift look like it’s got a cattle grid stuck to its nose....

IIRC the Brosnan Bond car wasn’t actually a V12, merely badged as one, so worry not prospective buyer, you’re safe smile

As a fresh faced grad I remember the chief exec had a chauffeur driven lwb one of these, it had a tv function in the sat nav; I knew his driver and he was very fond of the car for just that reason...

Also thought the E32 was a fantastic looking car for it’s time, in the day it suddenly made the S Class look very old.

only1ian

573 posts

135 months

Wednesday 1st May
quotequote all
Fun fact the Brosnan Bond cars where actual 740’s wearing 750 badges

Triumph Man

5,767 posts

109 months

Wednesday 1st May
quotequote all
only1ian said:
Fun fact the Brosnan Bond cars where actual 740’s wearing 750 badges
Or "seven hundred and fifty" badges, if your name is Desmond Llewelyn... I liked Desmond Llewelyn but that scene always made my teeth itch.

troika

640 posts

92 months

Wednesday 1st May
quotequote all
A lovely thing. I had one nearly 20 years ago when I was doing big miles (and a fuel card!). A great, great car.

Dr G

13,608 posts

183 months

Wednesday 1st May
quotequote all
What a lovely looking thing; they've got one with 7k miles too!

article said:
The claimed sunroof does seem conspicuous in its absence, though...
I can see it in the pictures just fine confused



85Carrera said:
Another dealer who obscures the number late to prevent you checking MOT history, so one to avoid for me.
That's a very odd reason to eliminate a car; their phone number and email are all over the website. I sincerely doubt that preventing your looking at its MOT history is the reason the plate is obscured.

MrGeoff

294 posts

113 months

Wednesday 1st May
quotequote all
andy43 said:
Proper.
Makes the current tat look like chinese xmas decorations.
Which is ironic because I understand the reason for the larger kidney grill is down to the Asian markets.

I have to agree though, the E38 looks great, understated and purposeful.

E65Ross

22,445 posts

153 months

Wednesday 1st May
quotequote all
andy43 said:
Proper.
Makes the current tat look like chinese xmas decorations.
Funny point, they designed the new front grille based on the Chinese market. Carwow did quick tour around a motor show in China and the consensus their was that they all absolutely loved it.

Seems BMW know their markets more than a few people on PH.

(I must admit I also think the new front grille is absolutely hideous). The E38 is a handsome car, but I wouldn't say it's a gorgeous or a pretty car. It's just handsome and fairly well proportioned. The rear end has never quite sat 100% with me for some reason though, but overall a good design and I'm glad to have had one in the past.

Triumph Man

5,767 posts

109 months

Wednesday 1st May
quotequote all
E65Ross said:
andy43 said:
Proper.
Makes the current tat look like chinese xmas decorations.
Funny point, they designed the new front grille based on the Chinese market. Carwow did quick tour around a motor show in China and the consensus their was that they all absolutely loved it.

Seems BMW know their markets more than a few people on PH.

(I must admit I also think the new front grille is absolutely hideous). The E38 is a handsome car, but I wouldn't say it's a gorgeous or a pretty car. It's just handsome and fairly well proportioned. The rear end has never quite sat 100% with me for some reason though, but overall a good design and I'm glad to have had one in the past.
Following on from you saying about the rear and your earlier post about the design being criticised for being bland, I seem to recall reading somewhere that contemporary reviews drew (possibly unfair) comparisons with the rear of the mk4 Cortina...

BFleming

1,015 posts

84 months

Wednesday 1st May
quotequote all
As a teenager in the mid-to-late 1980's, the E32 was (and remains) a headturner for me. My Dad was doing some advisory work on the demolition of a sugar factory near us, and the demo contractor had a shiny new E32 735i in silver/grey with light grey leather. That car... so much want. Fast forward a few years, and I was living in Munich when the E38 was launched. I remember being disappointed from a styling perspective - it just wasn't special looking. They've not had much love in the secondhand market either, but as the E23's & E32's have all but disappeared, I guess the excellent examples of the E38 will start to increase in value eventually. I just don't see the attraction - but I fully appreciate that's my own personal preference.

2 GKC

495 posts

46 months

Wednesday 1st May
quotequote all
Lovely old things these. Bought this one unseen on eBay for £1k - it took four of us to the German GP and back including a few wallowy laps of the
Ring. Liked a drop of unleaded but went well


M666 EVO

1,076 posts

103 months

Wednesday 1st May
quotequote all
85Carrera said:
Another dealer who obscures the number late to prevent you checking MOT history, so one to avoid for me.
Pretty sure that's not the reason...

pSyCoSiS

2,443 posts

146 months

Wednesday 1st May
quotequote all
Lovely car and the pinnacle of BMW quality in the mid-90s.

I've had most iterations of the E38, and they really are great cars. Drive better than the equivalent W140 S Class (of which I have also had a few), and definitely more of a driver's car compered to it's rivals.

Build quality is immense and they still feel solid at over 20 years of age.

Agreed, the E65/E66 is a better a better car to drive, but not as good looking as these old barges.

Good ones are only going up in price and they seem to all be disappearing now from the classifieds.