BMW 7 Series - Used

Car Review

BMW 7 Series
BMW 7 Series, rear
BMW 7 Series, dashboard
BMW 7 Series, boot
BMW 7 Series, rear seats
BMW 7 Series, display screen

HOW can you get hold of a beautifully built large sporting saloon capable of 40 miles per gallon for just £10,000?

Pie in the sky? Not at all!

Earlier versions of the excellent BMW 7 Series diesel built until 2015, and showing about 100,000 miles with full service history, can be yours for less than the price of most superminis.

And that's for a car originally costing over £60,000.

I suppose people buying such a car might be considered brave, but when it's built like this big BMW and comes with that all important service care, there's not much to worry about.

Almost all such sumptuous luxury cars were on lease or contract hire when they were new of course, and those first owners took the big depreciation hit so you can enjoy the savings.

Limousine motoring comes very much cheaper a few years down the road.

Almost all of them still look marvellous thanks to a life of dealer cosseting, and they have serious performance in all the various models.

The 7 is amazingly comfortable, very well equipped and delightfully hushed out on the road, but as with most such cars, don't expect it to be cheap to run.

This elegant car came with a new low level of emissions in the class, and every model has satellite navigation and leather upholstery.

Many will also have been upgraded with some of the high-tech gadgets from the options list, such as night vision, a head-up display and side-view cameras.

There were three engines at launch - 730d, 740i and 750i, and 740d plus the V12 760i were added later.

The 730d turbo diesel is a smooth and refined straight six with an excellent 254bhp. It will do 50 miles per gallon with acceleration from zero to 60 miles an hour in just 5.9 seconds.

The 740d has the same engine boosted to 308bhp, giving 5.3 seconds to 60 and still capable of 49mpg.

These two diesels seem to make up the majority of cars available on the secondhand market at the moment.

The 740i is a petrol 3.0-litre six fitted with twin turbos to give 315bhp and 0-60 in 5.7 seconds. Its very best economy is 35mpg

The 750i has a 4.4-litre V8 with 442bhp and it obviously performs even better, bringing the sprint down to 4.6 seconds and best economy best of 32.

And finally - but rare as rare - comes the 760i. But its only marginally quicker than the 750 and economy drops to 21mpg.

Despite its size, this 7 Series feels agile and focused, taking the corners with little roll despite its incredible level of comfort.

It has sharp, responsive steering, excellent feedback from steering, brakes and chassis, and quick gearchanges from the standard eight speed automatic gearbox.

The stiffness of the suspension can be adjusted from the driver's seat, with Comfort, Normal and Sport settings.

Comfort softens the suspension slightly at the expense of handling, while Sport stiffens it to give a sharper feel. Most owners will leave it in Comfort I would hazard a guess.

Although cruise control is standard in many, it was upgraded to an active system in some that automatically keeps a consistent distance to the car in front.

The 7 Series has an elegant and refined interior, with large, supportive seats, an excellent straightforward dash, an upgraded i-Drive system and a huge affay of in-built safety devices.

Other equipment includes traction control, heated electric front seats, alarm, parking sensors, alloy wheels, headlight washers and audio remote.

All are fairly bulletproof and can stand long mileages as long as they are properly serviced. So check that history.

Pay about £9,500 for an '11 11-reg 730d SE Luxury or £15,600 for a '15 15-reg 740i M Sport.

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