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|Production||1987 - 1994 |
|Body style(s)||4 door saloon|
|Engine(s)||3.0L−3.4L I-6 |
4- or 5-speed automatic
|Wheelbase||2833 mm (111.5 in)−2947 mm (116 in)|
|Length||4910 mm (193.3 in)−5024 mm (197.8 in)|
|Width||1845 mm (72.6 in)|
|Height||1400 mm (55.1 in)−1435 mm (56.5 in)|
|Curb weight||1720 kg (3792 lb)−1930 kg (4255 lb)|
In 1987, 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, 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 (155.37 mp/h). According to the official American brochure in 1987, the ungoverned 750iL could reach 300 km/h (186.4 mph) with a side note that the terminal speed was electronically restricted.
The car was also available in a stretched version (indicated by an 'L' after the model number), in which case an extra 11.4 centimetres (4.5 in) of leg room was available to the rear passengers by stretching the rear doors, and the body at this point. It was in all years 88-94 in the U.S.
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 with coolbox mounted in the center console, electrically heated and adjustable rear seats, walnut veneer folding tables, two crystal glasses neatly placed in the coolbox, legrests, and sun shade all around the rear/side windows. Complete with independent heating and ventillation, 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). 
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. 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. Both versions were coupled to a new, 5 speed automatic transmission made by ZF. In some countries, there were serious problems with the M60 engine because of sulfur corrosion problems in its nikasil cylinder block. The cylinder lining would quickly wear, causing the engine to lose compression, which caused rough idling and eventually the engine would fail to start. Many engines were replaced under warranty; the problem was corrected by using a different material, Alusil.
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).
Engine specifications and performance by model number
|Model||Engine Code||Engine Type||Displacement (cc)||Bore/Stroke (mm)||Comp. Ratio||Power||Torque||0-100 km/h (s)||Years made|
|730i||M30||L6 12V||2986||89/80||1:9.0||188 PS (185 hp/138 kW)
|260 N·m (192 lb·ft)
|9.3 (man) / 10.6 (aut)||1986-1994|
|735i||M30||L6 12V||3430||92/86||1:9.0||211 PS (208 hp/155 kW)
|305 N·m (225 lb·ft)
|8.3 (man) / 9.1 (aut)||1986-1992|
|730i V8||M60||V8 32V||2997||84/67.6||1:10.5||218 PS (215 hp/160 kW)
|290 N·m (214 lb·ft)
|8.5 (man) / 9.3 (aut)||1992-1994|
|740i||M60||V8 32V||3982||89/80||1:10.0||286 PS (282 hp/210 kW)
|400 N·m (295 lb·ft)
|750i||M70||V12 24V||4988||84/75||1:8.8||300 PS (296 hp/221 kW)
|450 N·m (332 lb·ft)
Figures may differ slightly for stretched versions and gearing
The E32 replaced the first generation 7 series, the E23. The E32 itself was replaced by the E38 in 1995, 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 (the M60 V8 and the M70 V12).
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, Lexus LS400 and Infiniti Q45. More distant competitors were the Cadillac Fleetwood, Opel Senator, and the Audi V8.
- Oswald, Werner (1. Auflage 2001). Deutsche Autos 1945-1990, Band 4. Stuttgart: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 3-613-02131-5.
- Kittler, Eberhard (1. Auflage 2001). Deutsche Autos seit 1990, Band 5. Stuttgart: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 3-613-02128-5.
- E32 page on e38.org - tons of repair and maintenance articles (English)
- BimmerBoard E32 7-series Forum (very popular) (English)
- Johan & Sean's E32 page - general E32 information and DIY maintenance (English)
- Shogun's Tips and Tricks - active repository of all E32 information and repairs (English)
- http://www.bmw7resource.co.uk (English)
- http://www.7-forum.com/ (German)
« previous — BMW road car timeline, 1980s–present
|Small family||3 Compact||E36/5||E46/5|
|1 Series||E81 / E82 / E87 / E88|
|Compact exec||3 Series||E21||E30||E36||E46||E90 / E91 / E92 / E93|
|Executive||5 Series||E12||E28||E34||E39||E60 / E61||F10|
|Luxury Coupé||6 Series||E24||E63 / E64|
|Luxury||7 Series||E23||E32||E38||E65 / E66 / E67 / E68||F01 / F02|
|Roadster||Z Series||E30 (Z1)||E36/7 & E36/8 (Z3)||E85 / E86 (Z4)||E89 (Z4)|
|Supercar/GT||E26 (M1)||E31 (8 series)||E52 (Z8)|