Monday, July 8, 2013

Used Car Review - BMW 7 Series (1995-2001)

This week Myk Belmonte would feature a pair of German luxury sedans and for today, he invites you to jump in for a ride in this 90s wonder.

1995-2001 BMW 7 Series

First introduced in 1977 replacing the New Six that ran for one generation, the BMW 7 Series was the brand's flagship model which all new technologies and exterior design themes are being introduced first before being trickled down to its smaller brethren in the line-up. Think of it as the 7 Series, from the E23 to the current, as the guinea pig of all new BMW gadgets (including the dreaded iDrive).

The third generation model with the chassis code E38 was made available first in February 1994. As early as 1988, development started under the code name "Entwicklung 99" with styling being done between 1989 and 1991. The final product was released in 1992, with patents being filed in Germany in April 1993 and US in October 1993. A wide range of engines from the basic inline six to the rare V12 and the choice of an automatic or manual (the last to be offered), the E38 7 Series was successful that even the E65 was launched in 2001, more people went for the former due that they can't warm up the successor's styling.

Asian Carmakers Corporation introduced the E38 in 1995 together with the E36 3 Series and E39 5 Series, but unlike the latter two, the 7 can be purchased through indent order. L (extended variants) variants arrived, due to the fact they are the standard engines among V8 models.

Value and Costs
Today, you can get a E38 7 Series for just P600,000-P700,000. It may be old, but the image is still there and you will be causing some stares in the valet counter. If you can, try scouting the nearest BMW dealer if they have one, but a private owner is also a good source. Imported units is a viable option, but you must pay in order to have your car maintained.

A car entering its debut age can either be cheap or costly to maintain, and in the case of the E38 its the latter. Why? The huge V8 engine needs a lot of oil and does not define as kuripot sa gas and also, the oxygen sensors must be replaced with new ones since old ones will contribute to a wallet draining fuel consumption. Other area of concern is when the vehicle not being used for long, especially that the rubber bushings may deteriorate when not in use.

Exterior and Interior
The concept of this vehicle was done by Boyke Boyer when his entry was chosen in 1992. It has some sleek lines, but old as it may be, it is timeless and a classic. While the L moniker is a misnomer, the body does not look it is extended.

Plush is the word to describe the interior, with expensive carpeting and upholstery in all seats plus a bonus, power seats for everyone. Let us delve the 7 Series in a passenger's point of view, the rear seat has oodles of space that there is sense of placing power seats in there. How about the driver? Since this is a driver's machine, an excellent view outside and logically placed switchgear are treats. The center console has small buttons placed near one another which takes time getting used to.

735iL models have a M62B35 3,498cc V8 that has 238hp at 5,800rpm and 345Nm at 3,800rpm. But 740iL units do have two engines fitted under their hood during their selling life. First ones sports the M60B40 3,982cc which carries 282hp at 5,800rpm and 406Nm at 4,500rpm and later models carry the M62B44 4,398cc with the same horsepower rating but rpm rating is 100 less than the engine it replaced and torque at 420Nm at 3,900rpm. The three engines are capable performers, bar none but not durable and tear and wear can be present.

Driving Impressions
You should be getting an excellent isolation on something priced for the rich back then, and the E38 obliges you with lots of them. While you are driving on smooth roads, it is silky smooth but potholes spoil the fun. For the driver, despite the heft, the V8 is rev happy and handling defies the weight. This one benefits both sides of the scale.

Old as it may be, the E38 7 Series is one great car that both driver and passenger can enjoy. However, age prevents one to save more but then, when buying these types of cars, budget isn't a consideration right? So, find one and enjoy the drive.

The Good:
  • Roomy
  • Excellent handling
  • Silky smooth engines
The Bad:
  • Aging faster than a rapper's verse
  • Expensive to maintain
  • Styling wont appeal to everyone
The Pick: 740iL

Engines: 3,498cc M62B35, 3,982cc M60B40, and 4,398cc M62B44 V8 gasoline
Power: 238hp @ 5,800rpm (3.5), 282hp @ 5,800rpm (4.0), 282hp @ 5,700rpm (4.4)
Torque: 345Nm @ 3,800rpm (3.5), 406Nm @ 4,500rpm (4.0), 420Nm @ 3,900rpm (4.4)
Fuel Consumption: 4-6km/L (city), 8-10km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent McPherson strut, rear independent multi-link

Price (New): P4,000,000-P4,800,000
Price (Now): P600,00-P700,000
Rivals: Mercedes Benz S Class
On Sale: 1995-Early 2002

Prestige Cars BMW - (02) 892-8127
Autohaus BMW - (02) 638-0734

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