If you’ve paid attention to BMW over the years, you know that the 7-series is not only their flagship line but the test bed for new design cues and technologies that eventually trickle down to their other models. Few cars, let alone BMWs, have sparked as much controversy as the E65 7-series. Introduced in 2002 to replace the aging E38, the E65 featured a polarizing new look and more technology than most modern battleships. Despite mixed initial reactions, the car went on to become the best-selling 7-series of all time simply by being an extraordinary car to drive, be driven in and live with every day. Dressed in a tasteful palette of grays, this 2004 745Li is a great example of the car so many BMW enthusiasts have grown to love. Low-mileage and clean in every way, this 7-series is a perfect intersection of luxury, power and value. If that sounds like the perfect combination for you, settle in and learn a bit more about this sharp ’04 745Li.
The design was a joint effort between Adrian van Hooydonk and then chief designer Chris Bangle. Though the car seems straightforward at first glance, a closer looks reveals a complex blend of short, long, angular, and curved lines that combine to give the E65 its calm stately appearance. The front remains pure BMW with kidney grilles framed by dual bi-xenon headlights. The side profile extends a straight line from the edge of those headlights all the way back to the taillights. Dual heated rear view mirrors anchor the A-pillars for some added luxury when the weather outside is frightful. Above, a coupe-like roof line flows into the split-level rear view that critics nicknamed the “Bangle butt”. With its distinctive light bar, chrome trim and bold ''745Li'' badge at the edge of the automatic deck lid, no one will ever question this BMW’s identity. As a low mileage car, this 745Li presents as new with crisp dent-free panels and the excellent fit and finish so closely associated with European luxury cars. The bodywork is dressed in an even coat of Sterling Gray which complements the car’s personality perfectly.
Open the soft-touch doors and this E65 offers all the luxury you’ve come to expect from BMW. The Basalt Grey leather interior is accented by large expanses of dark wood trim which can be found on the dash, center console and door panels. The front features seating for two on heated leather bucket seats while a large standard seat fills the back. In between the front seats, the well-dressed console offers control over the iDrive system - a computer system used to control accessories such as climate control, the audio system and the navigation system from a single location. While there is a bit of a learning curve with iDrive, it eventually becomes second nature and a very welcome presence in the cabin. The console also hosts bonus niceties like a climate-controlled storage compartment. From the driver seat, a simple but attractive gauge cluster mixes plainspoken gauges with red backlighting for a contemporary feel. In front of the cluster, control of the front wheels is granted through a leather-wrapped steering wheel mounted atop a power tilt/telescopic column. Above the driver, a large sunroof brings the outdoors inside. Behind the rear seat, a cavernous trunk offers more storage than most apartments, making the car ideally suited for extended travel.
Motivation for the sedan comes from a stout N62 DOHC 32-valve 4.4 liter V8. Named the “Best New Engine” of 2002, the V8 utilizes variable valve timing for both the inlet and exhaust cams as well as variable valve lift. With 325hp at its disposal, the 4,545lb sedan is capable of impressive 6-second 0-60mph sprints. Behind the V8, a six-speed Steptronic transmission monitors a variety of perimeters in order to adapt to the driver’s preferred driving style. The chassis is equally as sophisticated with systems like Dynamic Stability Control, Dynamic Traction Control, and Dynamic Braking Control which clamps down on four-wheel ventilated discs controlled by electronic proportioning. Steering is also adaptive thanks to its speed-sensitive, variable-assist, variable-ratio power rack and pinion setup. All these systems pair with the basic aluminum double-pivot strut-type front suspension and four-link integral rear suspension for a driving experience worthy of the BMW name. At the corners, attractive 18x8 inch alloy wheels meet the road through new Falken tires.
As a late-model car, all the standard BMW paperwork comes with the car. This includes a leather-clad owner’s manual, BMW marketing materials and the original window sticker which pegs the price of the car at $76,430 brand new.
The BMW 7-series has always had an authoritative presence on the road. The E65s took that presence and expanded it into a car that everyone stops and notices. Powerful, luxurious, and worthy of the “flagship” title, it’s difficult to think a more comfortable daily driver. If you loved the distinctive styling of the E65 but had a hard time swallowing the $75k+ price tag, here’s your opportunity to buy a practically new 745Li for a fraction of the price. Everyone deserves a little luxury, after all.