BMW 723i [E23] Copyright of Spanish Coches, Flickr

BMW 7 series (E23) (1977-1986)

“BMW’s second attempt at a luxury saloon vehicle”

These days BMW are renowned for their executive saloons with up to the minute technology and fine German engineering at the heart of the company. But back in 1977 the 7 series range was only their second attempt at the luxury saloon market.

The German car manufacturers first attempt was the BMW 2500 which was indeed a fine achievement for BMW however its successor was a far more polished contender. The BMW 7 series (known as the E23 models) was a very sophisticated machine for its time. They were the first BMW vehicles fitted with a system fault indicator, warning the driver should any technical and mechanical problems arise. It also included a complex climate control systems for ultimate driving comfort. On-board computers and an anti-lock braking system (ABS) were also available on the BMW 7 series and later models from 1985 also offered an optional driver’s airbag.

The BMW 7 series (E23) was fitted with a 12-valve type-M30 six-cylinder engines (previously introduced into the E-Series) and 4-/5-speed gearboxes. However in 1983 BMW opted for a facelift where they redesigned the front grille and bumper, added a new spoiler and fitted a newly-developed Motronic 3.4L engine. The suspension was upgraded too.

The first generation 7 series was discontinued in 1986 when the BMW E32 was introduced to the scene.

Years Produced1977 - 1986
Performance0 - 60mph 8.4sec / Top Speed - 135mph
Power & Torque 195bhp / 210Ib ft
Engine3210cc / six cylinder 12 valves
Drive-train Front engine RWD
TransmissionFour & five speed manual / 4 speed automatic

Big luxury saloons, although not so popular in today’s modern cars are very much a product of the seventies and eighties with BMW’s 7 series truly being ahead of the game. These motoring heavy weights are sadly a rare find now and values are low considering what you get for your money.


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The early eighties BMW was like so many cars of the time being prone to rust in the usual places, such as sills, inner wings, rear suspension turrets and sun roof surrounds to name but a few. Most 7 series BMW’s will probably have 15”or 16” alloy wheels these days although early models started with 14”. This isn’t particularly a worry as these big saloons handle better on the bigger wheel.

Check ‘small perishables’ such as water hoses and engine mounts as they don’t best stand the test of time although are easily replaceable. Worn rear sub-frame bushes can affect the handling so take it for a test drive and check those anchors, seized rear brakes can be due to collapsed brake hoses.

As you would expect from BMW the M30 engine is strong and reliable and the 732i was the first to have BMW’s micro-processor controlled Motronic fuel injection. If serviced regularly these bullet proof lumps will give you at least 300,000 miles without needing any major work.

INSURING A BMW 7 series (E23) (1977-1986)

Back in the day it wouldn’t have been cheap to insurer these luxury saloons. However as an executive classic prices are very competitive indeed. At Heritage Insurance with 50 years experience behind us, we offer a tailor made package for one or more cars. We include both our in-house agreed value service and salvage retention should the worst happen at no extra cost, and with limited mileage and club members discounts our annual fully Comprehensive policy proves excellent value for money. Here are some typical examples of how little your insurance could be.

  • This quotation has been based on fully comprehensive cover, insured only to drive age 60.

Annual premium – £80.85 with a £100 accidental damage excess.

  • This quotation has been based on fully comprehensive cover, insured only to drive age 45.

Annual premium – £80.85 with a £100 accidental damage excess.

  • This quotation has been based on fully comprehensive cover, insured only to drive age 30.

Annual premium – £112.60 with a £100 accidental damage excess.

*NB: All insurance quotes are based on the same criteria: The vehicle being garaged overnight. Accident, claim and conviction free and a limited mileage of 3000 per annum with full use of a main car daily. All quotations are based on an Agreed Value of £5,000. Prices may alter depending on individual criteria.


In 1959 BMW was nearing bankruptcy due to a myriad of factors. Smelling blood, Mercedes’ parent company Daimler-Benz mounted a Gordon Gekko style hostile takeover attempt. Collectively BMW then mounted a counter attack, enlisting even the lowest mechanics in the organization’s help in buying back shares. They eventually found the help of a major private investor, whose family still owns a chunk of the company today. This battle of course spurned a major rivalry between the two brands that still exists to this day.

Mark Wilkinson (Managing Partner of Heritage Classic Car Insurance) says

“Car trends change dramatically over time as do car manufactures prime objectives with cost effectiveness being potentially more important than truly meeting the standards once set upon themselves. On the flip side the classic saloons of the late seventies and early eighties are prime examples of prestige car manufacturers at their best.”

INSURING A BMW 7 series (E23) (1977-1986)


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