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Used car focus: BMW 7-series – 1994-2002

Luxury car buyers tend to be a conservative, fussy bunch. They warmed to the 1994-02 BMW 7-series for its muscular performance, sumptuous interiors and understated looks.

But the model from 2002 hasn't been so successful; its imposing styling has put off many of BMW's traditional executive buyers.

That means demand for late examples of the 1994-02 7-series model range has remained steady. And prices are reasonable, ranging from £14,500 for a 728i on an 00/X, to £35,300 for a 750i L.

Earlier cars appeal to buyers looking for a bit of cut-price indulgence. Models on L and M plates can be picked up for less than £5,500 – that's a lot less than the price of a new Fiat Panda.

Models that are easiest to sell are those with plenty of gadgets and options. Buyers steer clear of cars without full service history and with documentation to match.

Despite its size, 7-series will give you a drive that feels as sporty as smaller BMW saloons. The steering is precise, gearchange slick and there's loads of grip. The ride is exceptional, smooth on the motorway, but supple enough to soak up bumps on A and B roads; an impressive high-speed performer.
Not quite as comfortable as the Mercedes S-class, although long-wheel-base models offer better rear legroom. Like most luxury cars, the rear is only designed for two people (although it can accommodate three for short trips). The cabin is, however, superbly insulated against noise. Although the driver can easily find a good driving position, thanks to supportive and adjustable seats, the layout of some of the minor switches and buttons is confusing and takes a while to master. The 7-series boot is massive – even for a large saloon; it's capable of transporting large suitcases and boxes. There are no clever storage areas, but this is hardly an MPV.
Early cars had either 3.0-litre (730i) or 4.0-litre (740i) V8s; both are great units with plenty of pulling power and a pleasing engine note. The incredible and powerful 750i came along in 1995 and was joined by the 735i and 728i in 1996. Every engine variant is a lesson in luxury car power.
All models have ABS, twin airbags; head airbags from Sept 97; optional rear side airbags on most recent cars. Alarm and immobiliser; lock shielding improved from last generation. Most measures are effective, but tracking systems are desirable.

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