Published on September 13th, 2017 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez


BMW 7-series 2003 model is now too cheap to ignore

In Asia, this E65 model 7-Series was very desirable for its first owners and after a few years its owners felt the ‘pinch’ when its values took a dive in the used car lot. This week we look at the value proposition for someone looking to move up the food chain with the luxury car that will be rather reasonable to acquire but a little high to maintain.

There are a few engine options starting with a 3.0-litre, 6-cylinder petrol to a highway munching V12, which is quite rare. In the used car lots today the year 2002 730i is the most common and the best priced. It comes with a 6-speed automatic gearbox. There is parking brake that operates automatically or by a flick of a switch and you get BMW’s famed iDrive system. The circular rotary iDrive knob is the gateway to many of the functions usually controlled by rows of switches in all other cars of the time. Many systems are controlled by the iDrive interface. Learning this iDrive can be a daunting prospect for buyers, old and young alike.

On your test drive the 3.0-litre 735i should drive supremely smooth and refined with its 231bhp producing enough power to propel the heavy car from 0-100km/h mph in around 8.0 seconds, and overtaking urge is ample, though thanks must also go to the intelligent gearbox which makes the most of the engine’s power. Check and see if the stereo still sounds excellent and via the iDrive system try and make sure all functions work accordingly. It will not be entirely convenient. With so many parallel imported versions from UK and Japan you need to see what options have been loaded into your used E65. Start with the six-CD auto changer built into the facia, a Minidisc player, and a Professional LOGIC7 hi-fi with digital sound processing and seven subwoofers, as well as a DVD changer and TV screen for the rear passengers, with individual headphones. Newer 2006 models might come with a full-screen sat-navigation operated through iDrive but you will need to load in the Malaysian mapping system to see if it works.

Problems to look out for start with the 6-speed gearbox where some previous owners might have skipped on oil changes and so gear changes might be stiff or staggered. Try and see if the gearbox changes second to first in slow speed. A low powered battery will also cause the gearbox to work lethargically at initial start up. Repairs can be in the 5 figure numbers and even at a low selling price, better to avoid and look at another used E65. Cars that come with heated front seats (mostly UK imported units) might have climate control issues so check to see if air conditioning is working well in midday heat under the seats.

Many re-conditioned parallel imported units have issues with our low quality fuel where engine stalling can be common and also jerky ignition start-ups. This can be cured with injector cleaners and also fuel filters. You need a decent mechanic to give your potential used E65 BMW 7-series a full health checkup using a diagnostic computer and a full health reading is needed before parting with your money. Prices for a 2003 model will cost anywhere between RM25,000 to RM27,000. An imported parallel unit with full specifications can be yours for between RM33,000 to RM39,000 for up to an early 2005 model. Buy your used BMW cautiously.

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