When the words, BMW and 7 series are mentioned in the same sentence, two things normally come to mind to most that have seen, but never owned one. Luxurious and technological advanced.
So why is it, that I seem to have a love hate relationship with mine, with the latter normally at the forefront.
I have owned my 2002 BMW E65 745i, aka The Rolling Couch (TRC), for just over 2 years now. Purchased for around $25K, it was a lot of car for the money, considering that, when released, it hit the market at around $250,000 on road.
Packing a 4.4L V8 under the hood, boasting an impressive 333Hp @6100RPM and 450Nm of torque to boot with everything being transported to the rear wheels, first impressions after a drive are WOW! This car is amazing! How did BMW manage to get such a large car to travel 0-100km/hr in 6.3 secs and then stop again so quickly?
On closer inspection however, things are a little more complicated.
Fortunately, technology has come a long way in 13 years, but when released the e65 was considered to be a marvel in technology. Electric seats that are coded to your own key and move to the right setting, 6 stacker CD player, electric closing boot and doors, even a chilled center glove box compartment, just to name a few. All this, running through a fibre optic network, and controlled by the famous “i-drive system”. This all sounds wonderful…until something goes wrong.
7 series BMW's have always been used as a guinea pig for new technology. Some of it finds its way into other models, most of it doesn't. And so begins the downward spiral of angst and confusion as to why the head rests sporadically adjust themselves mid corner in peak hour traffic or why the voice recognition system continually says “pardon me” despite your best German accent.
Yes the seats have more settings than a lazy boy and are wrapped in full leather and oh so comfortable. Sure the cruise control works well and the 6 speed steptronic automatic gear box is smooth, albeit a little slow at times and the boot is bigger enough to hold a mini cooper.
But, TRC is a big, big car. Urban driving sees usage of 15.5L/100kms (from a 88Litre tank), while on the highway you should be able to make a round trip to Mt Buller (from Melbourne). How often do I go to the snow? About once a year, so you will normally see me standing at the service station with my wallet out… again... filling up on unleaded fuel.
Riding on aftermarket, KW suspension and having a sports exhaust muffler added to enhance the V8 grumble, TRC has transformed into a rather unique ride compared to your average 7 series limousine. While servicing costs can be expensive (what euro car isn't in Australia), a quick look “on the line” will have cheaper OEM parts shipped to your door in no time and help keep costs down a little. Finding parts is the tricky part!
But the question still remains.
Is it, sheer driving pleasure? Yes it absolutely is.
Is it a sheer pleasure to own? No, it is not.
As the saying goes, BMW, “Brings More Worries” or more accurately, “Breaks My Wallet”.
BMW 745i. A great car for a limousine or wedding company. Not a great car for personal, everyday commuting.