From Wiki: “The BMW E38 automobile platform was the basis for the 1994 through 2001 BMW 7 Series automobiles. It replaced the BMW E32 in 1995 and itself was replaced by the BMW E65/E66 for the 2002 model year. The models were sold in the US as the 740i, 740iL and 750iL. The 740i and 740iL share the same 4.4 L V8 engine. The 740iL is essentially a long-wheelbase 740i (hence the “L” in the model name). The considerably rarer 5.4 L V12-powered 750iL was only available as a long-body in the US. The 750iL was BMW’s flagship sedan.”
The E38 is a classic, timeless design, and the culmination of BMW’s Neue Klasse design language, first seen in the 1962 1500 sedan, and really popularized in the late ’60s 1602/2002 and Bavaria. Claus Luthe was the designer in charge of it’s development (as well as the E32 before it) up until 1992, When Chris Bangle took over as head of design under Wolfgang Reitzle. Auto Motor und Sport described the car as “Slim and light on its feet”. It featured all of the amenities of a luxury sedan with the exhilarating drive characteristics of a smaller car.
The E38 has turned into quite the value in the secondhand market, where you can get a lot of car for not a lot of money. As with all used cars (and remembering that the newest of the E38 series is now getting onwards of 17 years old), how a particular example was maintained will have a lot to do with its value and its reliability. In future articles, we’ll go over some of the things to look out for when purchasing or maintaining one of these machines. But don’t let that scare you off! These cars are outstanding driver’s cars that can deliver years of motoring enjoyment, inexpensive luxury, and a fair dollop of practicality now.