BMW History: E38 7 Series

7-series | March 9th, 2015 by 21
BMW 7 Series E38 750x500

When BMW debuted the E38 7 Series back in 1995, it was more of an evolution than revolution of the previous 7 Series. It was …

When BMW debuted the E38 7 Series back in 1995, it was more of an evolution than revolution of the previous 7 Series. It was a striking looking car, for the time, with its low, flat-nosed hood and wider kidney grills. It looks like a sporty yet sophisticated luxury car, ready to hit the autobahn at 150 mph. Its looks are still handsome and classic to this day. With the right wheels, the E38 7 Series is downright good looking today.

But it wasn’t all class and sophistication. When it wanted to, the E38 could play dirty. With a 4.0 liter V8 in the 740i and a 5.4 liter V12 in the 750i, both came in iL long wheelbase versions as well, the E38 could hit 60 mph in 8.0 seconds and 6.4 seconds, respectively.

e38 7 series 750x484

While that may not be impressive by today’s standards, it was very impressive for the time. Especially for the 750i, which, with its 322 hp, was faster than the Mustang GT of the time. The 740i’s 282 hp and 8.0 second 0-60 time wasn’t scorching, even for the time, but it was definitely respectable and kept up with everything in its class.

bmw 750il v12 e38 750x469

What was most impressive about the E38 7 Series wasn’t its straight line speed, though. What impressed most, at least in the performance department, was the handling. With a very innovative, for the time, forged aluminum, double wishbone control arms, shorter springs and a rear multilink suspension, the E38 7 Series could hang in the twisty roads. Combine that with fat tires and it had some serious grip.

bmw-750il-v12-e38-interior

But like all 7’s, the E38 was made for comfort, first and foremost. And it had that in spades. With optional “Comfort Seats” the 7 Series had the nicest chairs in the business. Even the standard seats were good, but it was the 14-way adjustable Comfort Seats that really stood out as industry leading. It also had a 14 speaker, 440 watt sound system with four subwoofers, BMW’s new Multi-Information Display, heated seats and steering wheel and, a shocker for BMW at the time, cupholders. The E38 7 Series was truly the king of opulence in the mid ’90s.

BMW-7-Series-E38-1280x800-001

They can be had for relatively little money now, and if you can find a low mileage 750i for a good price, buy it. The E38’s combination of class, speed, handling, comfort and square-jawed good looks doesn’t in modern cars, really. It seems to be the perfect luxury car and it’s definitely one for the history books.

21 responses to “BMW History: E38 7 Series”

  1. William C. says:

    One of the best BMW ever produced

  2. Alex F says:

    Can’t wait to own one of these, one of the coolest cars from BMW ever. Whenever I rummage through the classifieds there’s a ’97 L7 available…definitely a life goal to snatch one of those up as well!

  3. mrparkhill says:

    The 4 litre V8 was only used for around a year, then dropped in favour of a 4.4 litre for the rest of its model life.

  4. Michael says:

    It was a great car but lacked the grandeur of the Merc S-klasse of that time. That being said, I prefer it to the S that was introduced in 2000. The later iterations of this particular 7er were absolutely great both in terms of refinement and aesthetics.

  5. Leonardo Gioia says:

    One correction, the 750i use a V12 5,4 not a V8

  6. Leonardo Gioia says:

    One correction, the 750i uses a V12 5.4 , not a V8

  7. ctchrisf says:

    I used to think that it was huge, now probably dwarfed by 3 series.

    • Mike Vella says:

      The 3’s have grown, but not that much.. However, the current 5 and these 7’s are darn close in size..

  8. viper says:

    All jokes aside but I’d rather take this e38 750 over f01 and f10 which is very similar in size tho…why do you make boring cars bmw? you used to be cool now you are bmw s,m,l,xl,xxl , everything else is almost exactly the same.

  9. Jigstraw says:

    “With a 4.0 liter V8 in the 740i and a 5.4 liter V12 in the 750i, both came in iL long wheelbase versions as well”

    Couple of things. The 4.0 liter was only used for the first year, then it was upped to 4.4.

    And the 750 did not come in a short wheel base in the US. It was only the 750iL, not both. You make no other mention of the 2.8L six cylinder or the 3.0L eight cylinder models that the rest of the world got so I guess we’re only referring to US models here.

  10. IceDree says:

    My father used to have one, I got suspended for a month the first time I drove it (first time I drove a V8) … The influence of The Transporter & Tomorrow Never Dies I guess lol

    It’s my 2nd all time favorite BMW & I’d love to own one one day.

  11. Joe Edwards says:

    hello, I have an 01′ 740i with a speed sensor problem. speedometer and mpg gauges stopped working. question is what wheel(s) is it on? left right front or back?

  12. Freeway says:

    1990’s best decade for BMW. Especially 7 and 5 series.

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