No Guarantees: How To Buy A Used Bmw 7 Series E65 Correctly

This was true recently. The first "seven" of the zero years still amazes with the quality of the finish, crazy dynamics, handling, and even the multimedia equipment is not so outdated against the background of modern cars. Well, the once controversial design already looks quite familiar and even stylish. Here are just reliability ..

. But it depends entirely on how the car was used before you.

Why the BMW E65 is famous

BMW has decided to enter the 21st century with a new flagship. Honored E38 went to retirement, and her place was taken by a car that bears little resemblance to a BMW in general. The new "seven" of the E65 series shocked at first, the massive design reminded a little of the old E23, but in general the car looked only like itself.

The design was quickly dubbed "Krisbangskoy" after the chief designer of the brand at the time. The second creator of this unforgettable appearance, Adrian van Hooydonk, remained in the shadows, but he probably is not offended.

If you think that because of a very controversial design, sales of the car have failed and all that, then you are deeply mistaken: the initial shock passed in just a couple of years, and then the car quickly overtook all its ancestors in terms of sales. Not least thanks to very good sales in the States - apparently, Chris's creation still liked his compatriots.

In addition to its appearance, the car was also marked by a noticeably increased level of applied technologies.

So, it was on the E65 that the iDrive system first appeared, active headlights with bi-xenon, active cruise control radar, starting the car from a button, the first six-speed automatic transmission among mass cars and many other technologies such as optical high-speed data transmission buses and navigation with downloading new maps from DVDs and door closer in the "base".

No guarantees: how to buy a used BMW 7 Series E65 correctly

Of course, we also stocked up with an armored factory modification already at level B7. In terms of body structure and mechanisms, the E65 did not bring anything extremely new, and this turned out to be a great boon for the model. After all, people got used to the design, iDrive problems were gradually solved, but the comfort and convenience of a large car with a very good finish remained.


Unlike the main competitor, BMW experimented very carefully with painting technologies, so that even the first editions of cars are perfectly preserved in our climate, the interior also shows itself well .

.. Most of the problems with the "sevens" of this generation are the troubles of the multimedia system and electronics, as well as the problems associated with the small resource of many motors and automatic transmissions. Moreover, the bulk of the idrive problems were solved in the first few years of the car's production. But programmers cannot completely leave the system alone and slowly patch old bugs and make new ones on it, which generates a demand for constant updating of the system, and the complexity of its design with age requires intervention in the hardware filling.

With motors and gearboxes, the situation is exactly the same as on many other BMW cars of those years. In these "transitional" years, the cars were initially produced with rather successful series of M54 / M57 motors and slightly less successful N62 engines, and after restyling they were changed to slightly more "modern" and problematic N52 series motors and more voluminous N62 motors.

No guarantees: how to buy a used BMW 7 Series E65 correctly

But the automatic transmission ZF of the 6HP26 series turned out to be that pancake, which is the first and lumpy. As always, the first car with a new automatic transmission receives not only all the laurels of the pioneer, but also collects all the problems of the new units. I already wrote about the problems of this box in the reviews of Audi A4 and other cars, the ZF 6HP21-26-28 series essentially has the same design and similar problems.

A small revolution in handling

The traditional design of suspensions and bodywork does not mean that in terms of handling, the new "seven" has remained the same. Not at all, the Dynamic Drive system, even without the use of air suspension, has allowed a small revolution in the ratio of comfort and handling. Moreover, BMW won the battle for "the most driver's sedan of the F class" with one goal: the Mercedes W220 could not oppose anything, and Audi was able to make a very sporty S8, in which there was no more comfort than in a hot hatchback. Of course, buyers of cars of this class paid little attention to it - the sum of technologies is important here, and not the formal preservation of belonging to the class. Any tuning workshop can clamp the suspensions.

No guarantees: how to buy a used BMW 7 Series E65 correctly

BMW has electronically controlled EDC shock absorbers, active anti-roll bars and active steering. control. Of course, all this "economy" looks after the advanced system included in the iDrive kit and the stabilization system. Actually, in this car, almost everything is electronically controlled - for example, a thermostat or. .

. muffler. The latter here with a valve that provides the "correct" sound in the "driver" mode and silence when moving in the executive mode. And nothing prevents you from combining massage seats, a six-liter V12 and Dynamic Drive.

Restyle and dorestyle

From 2001 to 2008, only about 350 thousand cars were produced, and about 150 thousand of them were produced before the 2005 restyling.

The early restyling of the model was caused mainly by the desire to solve the problems with the reliability of some components. The exterior also needed to be refurbished. People were already getting used to the new silhouette, but the image needed polishing.

In terms of technology, the replacement of the remaining gasoline engines of the M-series in connection with the transition to Euro-5 and the modernization of the N62 series was imminent. At the same time, there is a clear tendency to completely abandon the use of the conventional steering rack and conventional rear suspension in favor of Servotronic and pneumatics.


iDrive has also changed. For connoisseurs of extreme comfort, it should be noted that the massage option in the seats has changed a lot. On pre-styling, the option could only massage the back a little with pneumatic pillows, and after 2005, the massage is carried out with rollers and acts much more intensively. For lovers of night trips, adaptive lighting has appeared. It is imperative to tell about this system in a little more detail.

The E65 is equipped with the so-called "iDrive 1-gen", the first generation of the universal multimedia interface in two versions. A simpler one, without a CD changer and with simple navigation maps, was equipped with a 6.6 "display. In fact, this is just a multimedia system interface, it is not even capable of simultaneously using navigation and playing CDs. Navigation is only vector, very primitive, but with The system is nevertheless closely integrated into the car and serves to control the options of its chassis and interior.

The second option - CCC - is much more advanced. It has an 8.8 "display, a mandatory changer and an advanced navigation unit. It was based on Microsoft Windows CE and has been continually improved over the years. The multi-unit system, the GPS unit and navigation are located in the trunk (moreover, they are sometimes filled with water or oil from the trunk lid lifting system together with the music controller and the changer), and the rest of the parts are in plain sight - on the center console and in the dashboard.

The first version of the system turned out to be not very reliable, and the configuration was generally extremely confusing. Since the end of 2003, the system has been significantly updated. A new navigation unit NAV2 appeared, and the initial version was named, respectively, NAV1.

The system for displaying cartographic information received a new processor, maps were displayed in perspective mode and a customization button was added. But already in 2005, the system was updated again, the controller design was slightly changed, the display was changed to a brighter and more modern, the multimedia controller gained support for the iPod interface and MP3 CD changer, DVD changer, TV, rear view camera, rear seat monitors and BMW systems Night Vision.

Most of the cars of the seventh series are equipped with the CCC unit, but options with a simple iDrive Business M-ASK unit are also found - they are simpler and cause fewer problems, but the capabilities of such a system are much more modest.

Problems in operation

No guarantees: how to buy a used BMW 7 Series E65 correctly

Interior and electrics

As you understand, the electrical system the machine is extremely complex. There are multiplexed data buses with many controllers and control units, literally one controller in each door and seat. All this can either simply fail completely, or it can be a little podglyuchivaet, and it is not known what is easier to cope with. The electrician itself is made of sufficient quality, but the wiring on the motor panel, the starter power bus and its contacts and the generator, which is loaded here to the maximum and therefore often fail, remain vulnerable spots.

Fortunately, the generator itself is fairly simple, air-cooled. Experiments with water are a thing of the past, but it is still extremely expensive.

Most system problems are related to multiple block failures, and these failures are usually software failures. Do not think that this means that problems are solved cheaply, not at all. Special equipment and a skilled head are required, and the cost of fixing the next problem can be tens of thousands of rubles.

The least problems are on restyled cars with M-ASK or with the simplest versions of the CCC, and the most advanced systems inevitably require more attention. Another amusing malfunction is the frequent failure of the steering column adjustments - they are electrical here, and when the "comfortable entrance" option is activated, they may be refused during the warranty period. In general, it is better to turn it off if the belly allows it.

No guarantees: how to buy a used BMW 7 Series E65 correctly


There are almost no problems with the body. It is well painted, and the amount of aluminum in it is also not prohibitive.

The quality of the interior elements is very high, although light skin is prone to rubbing already in the third or fourth year near the driver's workplace. On official cars, the state of the driver's seat is often deplorable, if the salon is not occupied.

No guarantees: how to buy a used BMW 7 Series E65 correctly

Sometimes traces of the work of unfortunate electricians are visible, poorly installed carpets and door cards, damaged plugs and broken fasteners. The oldest cars may have traces of corrosion on the rear arches and in the places where the plastic parts of the underbody are attached. Plastic, by the way, is easily lost and is expensive; you should pay close attention to the presence of original elements of the underbody kit and sills.

This is not only an aesthetic element - they are also responsible for sound insulation, so that the loss of an inconspicuous plate will cause a change in the sound background in the cabin.

No guarantees: how to buy a used BMW 7 Series E65 correctly

Suspensions and steering

The suspensions are completely traditional for BMW: MacPherson strut at the front and multi-link at the rear. The design is generally unpretentious, but there are nuances. The struts are quite expensive, and the prices for struts with EDC are especially impressive: it is about 40-70 thousand rubles for a shock absorber, which is comparable to the price of air bellows from competitors . Fortunately, the low cost of conventional racks and the resource of the controlled ones make the problem less acute.

The cost of the levers and their mileage are absolutely standard for BMW, from 30 to 70 thousand kilometers without serious intervention is a typical option. On cars with V8 - smaller, on cars with "sixes" - more. On versions with Dynamic Drive, the cost of an active anti-roll bar can cause an unpleasant grimace on the face of a real BMW-water - about 80-100 thousand rubles, and there are no analogues. But true connoisseurs know what they pay for ..

. The rear suspension also does not have any particular problems with the resource - an expensive option is perhaps pneumatics, which they try to avoid. It does not improve handling and comfort as much as it increases the cost of servicing cars over six years of age. The cost of the cylinders is relatively low, at 23 thousand rubles, but the pneumatic drives and the control unit are also not eternal, and when their malfunctions overlap, the cost of restoration and work will be rather big.

No guarantees: how to buy a used BMW 7 Series E65 correctly

The steering is usually equipped with a Servotronic system, the steering rack in this case costs a hundred thousand rubles , but the problem is not the price, but the unpredictability of the resource.

On many cars, it starts knocking already at a run of less than 30 thousand kilometers and can knock up to a run of 300. But very often it is unlucky, and the rail begins to flow, which already requires replacing the unit. Moreover, the bulkhead "on the knee" is often impossible due to the design features. It is highly recommended to remember old-fashioned advice and not to turn the steering wheel while standing still, especially if the car is equipped with very wide rubber. At the same time, the resource of steering rods and tips, with careful handling, will also grow from a relatively modest 30 thousand to "almost forever" - with proper operation, the safety margin is enough for the entire service life.

The brakes for such a heavy car seem to be quite sufficient. But there are owners who literally burn the brakes and pads, because the dynamics of the car can be supercar, 445 hp. with. and 6 seconds to hundreds - the result of the M3 in the back of the E36. And even on cars with V8, the discs behave regularly, the load on the braking system during dynamic movement is great, and we have puddles too often.

As for wheel bearings, they traditionally often suffer on heavy cars with V12 and if the wheels are shod with "electrical tape" - the resource from replacement to replacement can be 30-40 thousand kilometers, and nothing can be done about it - these are side properties low profile tires .

No guarantees: how to buy a used BMW 7 Series E65 correctly


The only transmission option here has a predictable, but not too long resource. I mentioned the problems of the "six-speed" ZF 6HP26 at the beginning. Early wear of the blocking linings of the torque converter, as well as bushings, and mechatronic valve body failures due to overheating and dirty oil are waiting for all owners. But the boxes have long been mastered in repair, so this is not a problem, but a cost.

And not very small. If the bushings are still intact, which happens when changing the oil at least with a mileage of 40 thousand kilometers, then a simple repair of the gas turbine engine and cleaning the valve body will cost about 30-40 thousand rubles. If the bushings are already worn out, the shafts vibrate and hum, then, most likely, the cost of the repair will exceed one hundred thousand rubles, and the chances that it will be successful are not too great. After the "average hand" of automatic transmission service, the box goes for another two or three years… and again for repairs. This is because the unit is quite complex and does not tolerate half-hearted solutions, dirt and slovenliness.

No guarantees: how to buy a used BMW 7 Series E65 correctly

Ordering a "contract" refurbished unit from ATSG or other large repair offices now costs about two hundred thousands, but on machines repaired a few years ago, such boxes can be found, and this is one of the preferred options. Of course, the greatest resource of automatic transmission is on cars with gasoline in-line "sixes", and least of all - on V12. Additional automatic transmission radiators help extend the life of the box and, with frequent oil changes, can greatly reduce the chances of repeated overhaul - such a "collective farm" is strongly recommended by many specialized services. By the way, it is worth paying attention to the plastic pallet of the automatic transmission - it is subject to deformation due to the high temperature of the oil and starts to flow. And an oil leak, as you know, kills the box with a guarantee.

Experienced owners of cars with ZF6HP recommend changing the sump gaskets at each oil change and carefully monitor the oil drops under the car.

No guarantees: how to buy a used BMW 7 Series E65 correctly


Usually this section comes first, but in this case it is too trivial. Almost all motors have already been reviewed and more than once. The inline "six" of the M series, both petrol and diesel, are one of the most successful BMW engines of the relatively new. Gasoline M54s were installed until 2005, and M57 diesels - until the very end of production.

On restyled cars, the M52 series motors were replaced with N52, which can be considered a disadvantage. Firstly, they are much more prone to piston ring coking and a number of other problems, which greatly limits the resource. Secondly, the maximum power of the three-liter engine slightly exceeded the "tax" 250 hp. with. although the torque remains the same.

Gasoline V8s of the N62 series were installed from the beginning of the production of the car until the very end, and there are almost no chances of its completely problem-free existence. It is very prone to coking at standard service intervals of 15,000 km and "branded" oil. But in general, its design is reliable and allows, under certain conditions, to obtain a very good resource. Unfortunately, among BMW owners there are rarely people who are inclined to really improve something, most of the owners calmly kill the engine to the point where restoration is impossible. First, the valve seals "sit down", then the rings are coked, and, finally, the coating of the cylinders and valve seats with guides are damaged.

If suddenly you have such a car, and you are reading this, then remember: this engine needs good oil, better than ester oil , definitely not coking oil. And also - a small interval of its replacement, no more than 10 thousand kilometers "on average". He needs a "colder" thermostat with an opening temperature of about 85-90 degrees, and do not forget about the timely replacement of guides and timing chains (there are two of them, one for each cylinder head, and they are very thin, like bicycle ones), replacement of gaskets, cleaning the crankcase ventilation and checking the condition of the control system sensors. What happens if these recommendations are ignored is usually seen by every resident of a large city. A well-worn "seven" smoking blue smoke from two chimneys is quite a common sight.

No guarantees: how to buy a used BMW 7 Series E65 correctly

With the V12 of the N73 series, it is absolutely stupid to count on some kind of efficiency in operation, but with it, the car really does not feel its weight. And the resource as a whole, despite all the environmental troubles present, is noticeably larger than that of other N-motors. Weaknesses are essentially the same as in the N63 on "fives" E60 , all processes are the same, only with a slightly higher mileage. The full range of technologies "needed" includes Double VANOS, Valvetronis and direct injection. The complexity of the design is growing not only due to the increase in the number of cylinders, but also due to the use of throttle-free intake and direct injection.

The diesel M57 is a completely different matter, they are traditionally considered the most successful engines on several series of "Bavarians" for traction and reliability. Of course, there are expensive and fragile piezo injectors, they have a limited operating life, and besides, they are very afraid of overheating. But here they have sparing working conditions, the main thing is not to pour low-quality fuel and not to drain the tank. The high-pressure fuel pump is also afraid of only bad diesel fuel, and even that it will be able to digest it several times without consequences. The EGR valve is a consumable, it should be repaired or replaced at the first sign of a malfunction.

The crankcase ventilation system is still not very successful, but the electrohydraulic motor mounts do not like contamination of the engine compartment with oil and are not cheap.

No guarantees: how to buy a used BMW 7 Series E65 correctly

Complaints about the low resource of the mass air flow sensor are also quite common, but again not lead to complete failure of work, and the problem is relatively inexpensive. The turbine is capable of going all 200 thousand kilometers, if you do not forget to change the oil in time and do not overheat the engine. And still do not chip-tune it beyond measure, because the resource of the turbocharger is rapidly decreasing at capacities "over 250". It seems that there are enough weak points, but in fact, none of the malfunctions is fatal and does not entail serious interference with the engine.

Except that an overflow nozzle can melt the piston and destroy the motor completely, but the motor control system is good enough to prevent this. The diesel V8 of the M67 series turned out to be the last in its family so far, the last reincarnation of the engine was installed on the E65, in an aluminum block and with a capacity of 330 hp. with. It has no obvious problems with reliability, except for quite standard "diesel" - fuel equipment and EGR. Machines with cracks in the cylinder head are relatively common, usually this is due to operation on high-sulfur diesel fuel - the structure is light, any corrosion of the combustion chambers manifests itself.

Unfortunately, there are few reviews about the operation, but in general the opinion about this power unit is positive. The list of problems mostly coincides with the "troubles" of the M57.

No guarantees: how to buy a used BMW 7 Series E65 correctly

So what to buy?

Problems of this machine in most cases "sudden". Especially if it is a turbodiesel version or a version with an in-line "six" M54. The resource of the main units in this case is quite predictable, and it can be significantly increased if certain operating rules are observed.

But it is impossible to guarantee that a solid investment in bringing it back to normal will not be required. Too many units, too complex a design, too high a probability of service errors, increasing the cost of breakdown. There is only one guarantee: on cars with V8 and V12, which drove into the tail and into the mane, there will be more than enough problems. And restoring a battered copy can easily cost more than its purchase value. On the other hand, for a relatively small amount from 500 thousand to a million rubles, you can buy a car with a level of safety and comfort that is still in no way inferior to modern cars of this class.

Can you save 6 million and spend, say, 800 thousand on "bringing to mind"? Unfortunately, this is what a minority thinks. Most people buy such a car as a toy before the first breakdown.

No guarantees: how to buy a used BMW 7 Series E65 correctly

No guarantees: how to buy a used BMW 7 Series E65 correctly


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