BMW 7 Series History
By Wayne M Adams
The German car company BMW first introduced their 7 series model line in 1977. The 7 series is a full
sized luxury vehicle and is only available as a four door sedan or an extended length limousine. Being the
pinnacle of BMW luxury, the 7 series normally see's new technologies and design themes before they
get passed down to the other lines in BMW's model range.
The first generation of the 7 series was known as the E23 and was produced for ten years, from 1977
through 1987. All E23 7 series models were built with the twelve valves M30 6 cylinder engine aside
from the 745i which was a special higher performance model equipped with a 3.2 litre M30 six cylinder
engine. In 1985-1986 the 7 series was equipped with an optional driver's side air bag system. The 7
series was the first model available with service indicators, and a complex climate control system.
The second generation of the 7 series was known as the E32 and was produced from 1986 through
1994. Still being aimed at the high end of the luxury scale, the 7 series offered many of the latest
innovations in vehicle technology. In 1987 the 7 series was available with a new V12 engine that was
considered top of the line. Some of the luxury options available during this generation were the
integration of both telephone and fax machines built into the car, a traction control system along with
other luxuries like a wine cooler and an integrated system that increased pressure on the wiper blades
during higher speed driving so the blades stayed in contact with the windscreen.
The third generation of the 7 series was known as the E38 model; this was in production from 1994 and
ran until 2001. This generation came equipped with a five speed automatic gearbox or the option for a
manual transmission. New features built into the E38 were things like a set of high pressure headlight
washers, a power moon roof, a fourteen speaker stereo system complete with four sub woofers and a 6
cd cd changer, onboard satellite navigation, automatic climate control with separate controls for both
driver and passenger compartments, three position memory drivers front seat and front side seat
The fourth generation of the 7 series was known as the E65/E66 this generation was in production from
2002 through 2008. This generation had standard features such as the drive system, which combined a
video screen mounted on the dash and a controller mounted in the centre console. Using a system of
eight different menu's the drive system covers the climate control, the audio, the navigation,
suspension, and communication systems.
The fifth generation of the 7 series is known as the F01 / F02 and was produced from 2009 to present.
This generation saw the introduction of the ZF eight speed gearbox along with what BMW called
dynamic drive control; this offers settings for normal, sport and sport+ modes. Dynamic traction control
was made standard as well as adding ten more air bags inside the vehicle for occupant safety during a
The 7 series is still the pinnacle of the BMW line as far as comfort and luxury.
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