Introduced in 1994, the E38 7-Series took over the throne from the E32. Rather than being a revolutionary new car, it took what had been learned from the E32 and refined it. The result was a large executive saloon that was incredibly handsome, spacious and thanks to BMW’s 50/50 weight distribution, an absolute riot to drive. It was also a car of firsts. The E38 was the first car to be fitted with curtain airbags, it was the first European car to be offered with satellite navigation and it was the first BMW to be offered with an in-built television.
Engine-wise, the E38 was available with a straight-six, a V8 or a V12. For some markets it was also built with a range of diesel engines, though here in the UK we didn’t get those. We also didn’t get the rare manual-transmission cars – we only had the 5-speed automatic, but to be honest, in a car of such heft, automatic is the way to go.
For many, the E38 was 7-Series perfection. The design was, and still is, seen as being one of the best ever. So smitten were buyers with the E38, when the E65 successor was announced, sales of the E38 went up, as did values. Over its life, the E38 has also become a bit of a pop-culture icon, with starring roles in films like James Bond and The Transporter.
Cosmos Black Metallic paintwork, Sand Beige Montana leather, 5-speed Steptronic transmission, Heated and electrically-adjustable front seats with driver’s seat memory, Active front seats, Heated and electrically-adjustable rear seats, Rear Seat Package, Fold-down rear picnic tables, Electric tilt and slide glass sunroof, Polished burr walnut inlays, Chrome Line interior trim, M multifunction leather steering wheel, Front and rear parking sensors (PDC), Air conditioning, Rear monitor, Navigation system with OBM and TV, Front central armrest, Front and rear telephone handsets, 6 disc CD changer, Professional HiFi system, Electric steering column adjustment, Double glazing, Electric rear sunblind, Rear window sunblinds, Auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors, Headlamp washer system, Xenon headlights, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Servotronic, Self-levelling rear axle, Electronic Damper Control (EDC), Spare keys.
With its elegant, carefully considered lines it’s easy to see why the E38 is widely regarded as the pinnacle of 7-Series design. This particular example looks fantastic in Cosmos Black Metallic, the dark paintwork perfectly offset by a generous helping of gleaming chrome trim to the bumpers, window surrounds, and kidney grille. The body presents in excellent condition with a deep shine and uniform colour all round, the only real negatives to report being some light frontal stone chips and a handful of discreetly touched-in marks. The brightwork remains in equally fine order, and there are no scuffs or scrapes to any of the plastic bumper inserts.