In 1986, BMW introduced the second generation of the 7 series, known internally as the E32. Aimed at the high end of the luxury market, the car offered some of the latest innovations in automotive technology, and a new, top-of-the-line V12 engine. Some luxury options featured on the E32 included integrated telephone and fax machines, a wine cooler, double glazing, heated door locks and windshield washer nozzles, electronic stability control, and a system that automatically increased spring pressure on the windshield wipers, to keep them firmly pressed on the glass at Autobahn speeds. Incidentally, the E32 was the first car adhering to BMW’s self-imposed speed limit of 250 km/h. You can find more visual details of the 1987 BMW 750iL gallery by scrolling up.
The car was also available in a stretched version (indicated by an ‘L’ after the model number), in which case an extra 10 centimeters of leg room was available to the rear passengers.
The BMW 750iL Highline was the top-of-the-line model of the E32, with lots of added luxury for the rear passengers like full leather, dual radio controls, dual climate control, electrically heated and adjustable rear seats, and walnut veneer folding tables. It also added a second battery in the trunk and a second alternator to provide power for all these luxuries. The ‘Highline’ option package cost more than €10.000, and was only available on the 750iL, bringing the total price to well over twice that of a ‘basic’ 730i (‘basic’ to be taken in context obviously)
The E32 was offered with several different engines, all petrol. At the car’s introduction, the 730 and 735 used the straight-6 M30 engine, while the 750 featured the all-new M70 V12 engine which produced 300 bhp (296hp in the USA). In 1992, a new 32-valve V8 engine was introduced, the M60. The 730i got this engine in a 3-liter version, while the new 740i got the 4-liter version. In some countries, there were serious problems with this engine because of sulfur corrosion problems in its nikasil cylinder block, and many were replaced under warranty. BMW still offered the 730 with the straight-6 M30 engine in Europe until 1994 when the E38 was introduced.
Externally, the BMW ‘kidney’ grille indicated which engine was present under the hood: all 6-cylinder models had a narrow grille, and all 8- and 12-cylinder models had the wider version. This feature was not seen on later models (the E38 used a wide grille for all models)
|Model||Engine Code||Engine Type||Displacement (cc)||Power (BHP)||Torque (NM)|
|730i||M30||L6 12V||2986||188 @ 5800||260 @ 4000|
|735i||M30||L6 12V||3430||211 @ 5700||305 @ 4000|
|730i V8||M60||V8 32V||2997||218 @ 5800||290 @ 4500|
|740i||M60||V8 32V||3982||286 @ 5800||400 @ 4500|
|750i||M70||V12 24V||4988||299 @ 5200||450 @ 4100|
The E32 replaced the first generation 7 series, the E23. The E32 itself was replaced by the E38 in 1994, although the engines developed for the E32 continued to be used in updated form. The E34 5 series, introduced in 1988, is externally very similar to the E32, and many parts are shared between the two cars. The two-door 8 series E31 features the same engines (840i, 850i).
Placed in the high end of the market, the E32’s main rival was the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (models W126 and W140 from 1991). Other competitors were the Jaguar XJ40 and the Lexus LS400. More distant competitors were the Cadillac Fleetwood, Opel Senator, and the Audi V8.
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