Buying review BMW 7-series (E65) 2002-2008 Common Issues Engines Inspection

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Hi everyone, we are back with a buying review, this time were are back with the BMW 7-series that was introduced to us in 2002. This BMW is arguably one of the most ugly in the 7-series history but taste for design is very personal. Myself I can appreciate its lines and think it aged well, especially the facelift of this 7 series.

This car followed the legendary and timeless E38 BMW which is still the most desirable 7-series but is getting old now. This generation is the E65 that was built between 2002 and 2008. 

Is this a good car and is it worth the investment ?

Can you buy one and expect not to run into too much trouble ?

Let’s find out. Btw this car was only available with the 6 speed ZF automatic gearbox, BMW recognized that manual shifting is too much work for busy executives. 

Let’s start with the strong points of the car.

  • Rapid cars that pack quite some performance for a big car (depending on the model)
  • Handles well for a big luxury sedan
  • For some people its appearance

Negative points

  • The iDrive system has a learning curve for people that are not familiar with it
  • If you choose bigger rims, this effect the comfort and makes the ride harsh and un-limo like

Lets go more into detail of what owners of this 7-series reported over the years. 

Service history is vital

Before we start we have to state the obvious, never buy this type of car without a complete service history. If that is not available than this could be used in the negotiations. But that is a bit like playing Russian Roulette. There might be a chance you and your local mechanic will see each other regularly. But that is not always the case, these cars have quite some issues but that does not necessarily make the car unreliable, service history is key to longevity. Ex board of directors cars would be my pick.

Number of owner is also a good indication of troubles to come, enough of the obvious lets go into detail.

Suspension components

These are heavy cars, suspension components and brakes will wear and tear especially with a more sportive driving style. Always go for a test drive and see how the car behaves. 


Make sure all the electronics work, this car is full of electronics. Also check if the iDrive system in the car still works and check if the maps are outdated or not. Nowadays there are many ways to navigate but BMW’s own system is also great even 18 years after its introduction. Updates of maps are sometimes quite expensive, check the possibilities and prices. Based on the specifications the 7-series can have access codes for unlocking the car, have soft close doors and boot. The external door handles can have issues so check if the work properly. Make sure the heated seats and the electric adjustments of the seats still work.

Also invest in a code reader that you can connect to the cars ECU. This will give you more insight in the error codes that you might encounter. Especially when you want to do small maintenance yourself on this car than this reader is a must have.

If you have the budget then go for the facelifted models, the have more connectivity options for connecting your phone or external devices through the auxiliary input. 


The M57 engine is quite bulletproof, the engine was used in the 730d and is in use since 1998. But check if the swirl flaps are already removed, these can become brittle and break off. When they do, they are sucked into the engine and cause engine damage. So remove these flaps if the previous owner has not done so yet.

As usual check if the engine oil was regularly replaced together with the oil and air filters.

The V8’s are also quite reliable, many of these engines where in the basis the engines that were used in the 90’s as well with some minor upgrades. The 745i however seems to be a troubled model, this car has the N62B44 engine. Do your research if you specifically want to buy a 745.

The 7 series was available with inline 6 cylinders, v8’s and a v12 in the 760LI which was the top of the lineup. 

The N62 petrol engine that can be found in the 735i, 740i, 745i and the 750i can suffer from worn valve stem seals.

Others general issues

Some owner claim about ticks in the steering rack, ruff idling of the engine, whistling and a strong vacuum on the oil cap, defects in the steering pump, rising oil levels in the diesels due to regenerating particulate filters.

As said before, when you buy these complex cars for about 10% of its original MSRP than you can also invest in a code reader to keep track on trouble before they get out of hand. 

This car could be used as a daily or as a comfortable weekend cruizer. In Europe and especially the Netherlands we will be financially butchered on road tax and petrol when driving a car like this, in America this could be a complete different story.

Overall these cars are now getting old, they have lots of electronics, they are complex and repairs could be potentially very expensive.

You can be lucky and pick a good one that will still serve you for many years to come or you can buy a potential money pit.

If you have more questions about this car, let me know in the comment section. If you find these buying reviews useful please subscribe to my channel to stay update with my latest videos. Thanks for watching.

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