Today’s Nice Price or No Dice E38 750iL might prove a satisfying alternative to the new 7 Series that BMW recently announced. Arguably more handsome and somewhere around a quarter of the price, could this last-of-the-good-looking 7-Series also prove a relative steal?
The great lament of Shakespeare’s King Richard is his lack of a fighting mount while waging battle against Henry, the Earl of Richmond. Richard plaintively wails “A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse!” before being whacked by the Earl who as a result, becomes the first Tudor king.
Few of us have such bold proclamations of need nor a throne to wager in their obtainment. All that most of us want is a car that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to buy, nor a kidney or two to maintain down the road. Yesterday’s 2000 Saturn SW2 seemed to be just that car as, despite its high miles, it looked to be in very good shape. And, with a 79 percent Nice Price win, it proved to be an admirable deal for most.
Of course, some people need something more than just an old Saturn to get around in, and that brings us to the BMW 7 Series. As you are no doubt aware, the Bavaria-based automaker has just released its latest version of that range-topping saloon, now in both gas and I7 electric-powered versions. To say that the new car’s styling is polarizing is perhaps polarizing in itself since those who hate the styling will likely aver that no one could possibly think otherwise. That’s obviously not the case, and our own Steve DaSilva offered up a mostly positive critique of the new car’s most iconic styling elements, pronouncing the big Bimmer’s styling to be a success overall.
Yeah, I’m still not feeling it. And to be honest, with demonstrably handsome older 7 Series still kicking around like today’s 1995 BMW 750iL, few of us need to get on the ginormous grille bandwagon.
As a matter of fact, it’s a safe bet (although probably not for an entire kingdom) to say that the E38 was the last truly good-looking 7 Series. Hell, it may be the best looking of all time.
This one comes in extended-wheelbase “iL” form which adds five inches to the wheelbase and a similar amount to the back seat legroom. Moving all that room is an M73 V12 engine that, in this model managed a buttery 322 horsepower and stout 360 lb-ft of torque. As in all of the V12 E38s, that’s mated to a ZF five-speed automatic driving the rear wheels.
Since its introduction, BMW has leveraged the 7 Series as a showcase for the company’s emerging technologies and safety features, keeping the model in the run with Mercedes’ equally cutting edge S-Class. In the E38, much of the tech might feel quaint today, but back when the car was new, things like a heated steering wheel, HID headlamps and a built-in cell phone were pretty dope.
This car has all that plus an elegant black over biscuit color scheme and a set of handsome M-Parallel wheels that wear almost-new tires. The one wheel shown in close-up does evidence a bit of rim checking so maybe a refurbishment of all four would be in order. Aside from that, the car looks to be in very nice shape, and the seller calls out its condition as “excellent” in the ad. The bodywork appears straight and without issue in the pics, while the interior shows only a few areas of significant wear that belie the car’s age.
Those are countered somewhat by the wonderful vacuum patterns someone has left in the carpets. I can’t get enough of those. We don’t get to see the instrument cluster, to check its digital displays for errant missing pixels, but none seem to have gone AWOL in the center stack so that’s a good sign. The car has 119,865 miles on the clock and a clean title. For that, the asking price is $14,750 which is a far cry from the $92K MSRP the seller claims the car carried when new.
Of course, it’s not new now. And in fact, it’s old enough that any repairs needed will come out of the owner’s pocket and not BMW’s warranty claims department. That’s a big consideration when spending money on an old and fairly complicated German car, especially one that’s so intricate that it treats its V12 engine as though it were two six-cylinders as this one does. That doesn’t mean it should come with a warning sign like a jellyfish-infested beach, but any buyer needs to know what they are getting themselves into.
What do you think, would that savvy buyer be getting a deal on this E38 at that $14,750 asking? Or, despite this car’s good looks, is that just an ugly price?
H/T to Don R. for the hookup!
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