Nearly new buying guide: BMW 7 Series

Luxury car bargain hunters take note: next year’s all-new BMW 7 Series is sure to have a depressing effect on prices of the outgoing model, launched in 2015. Pre-reg and nearly new cars will suffer most, but the shockwaves will surely be felt among older examples. Even today, four-year-old Sevens, in particular, look cheap. How about £21,000 for a 2017-reg 730d with 36,000 miles? New, it cost £64,000.

Powered by a 3.0-litre straight-six diesel producing 261bhp, the 730d is the most plentiful. With 315bhp from the same 3.0-litre diesel engine, the 740d xDrive is quicker but less economical, returning a claimed 39.8mpg compared with the 730d’s 43.5mpg. Both are smooth and whisper quiet. In 2017, they were joined by a third diesel engine in the 725d. The 2.0-litre six-cylinder motor makes just 228bhp. It didn’t sell in any numbers and was axed in 2019.

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In view of the high running costs associated with cars such as the 7 Series, you’d have to be brave to take on one of the petrol models. The range opens with the 740i, powered by a 321bhp 3.0-litre straightsix engine, followed by the 750i with a 444bhp 4.4-litre V8 and the M760Li xDrive with a 602bhp 6.6-litre V12. They are less common than the diesels but their mileages tend to be much lower. A 2017-reg 740Li with 23,000 miles is £23,500.

If you don’t like diesel but the running costs of a luxury petrol car give you nightmares, check out the rare plug-in hybrid 740e. Its 2.0-litre petrol engine and 111bhp electric motor together produce 322bhp and it has four-wheel drive. It returns a claimed 117mpg, although 55mpg in mixed conditions with some pure EV running is more likely. It’s no bargain. The cheapest we found was a 2017-reg 740e Exclusive with a solid 102,000 miles for £21,250.

Even in standard trim, a 7 Series is richly appointed, highlights being an automatic gearbox, powered bootlid opening, soft-close doors, memory seats and BMW’s top infotainment system. Options to look out for include the Executive and Rear Seat Comfort packages. Regarding trims, M Sport looks the best and Exclusive is the most luxurious. All versions are available in long- (badged L) and standard-wheelbase form. Four-wheel drive (called xDrive) is standard on the more powerful cars but an unnecessary option on a 730d.

The facelift came in 2019. (Spot the huge grille.) The 730d and 740d gained mild-hybrid technology and the 740e was replaced by the 745e, this time with a six-cylinder 3.0-litre engine for a combined 389bhp and an improved electric range of 36 miles. Reliable, handsome, good to drive, spacious and comfortable, a used 7 Series is hard to resist, but given the wide array of options and specs out there, choose carefully.

Need to know

Since 2019, a proximity disabling system prevents the key’s signal from being boosted by thieves.

Until their sixth birthdays, 7 Series registered after 2017 attract a hefty (currently £335) road tax premium.

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Check the year-old 7 Series you’re considering isn’t available new for the same price.

Our pick

BMW 730d: Quiet, smooth, flexible and powerful, this diesel engine is all the more amazing for being the entry-level unit. There’s no need to waste your money on the more expensive 740d.

Wild card

M760Li xDrive: At launch and with 602bhp from its 6.6-litre V12, this was BMW’s most powerful production model. Air suspension and active steering are standard. The new price is £135,000 but 2018-reg cars can be had from £45,000.

Ones we found

2015 730d xDrive M Sport, 50,000 miles, £21,995

2017 740d xDrive Exclusive, 51,000 miles, £25,400

2019 740Ld xDrive M Sport, 33,000 miles, £32,500

2020 740i M Sport, 11,000 miles, £44,000