Mileage: 40,300 Miles
Owner: 2-Owner Arizona / New Mexico Car
Exterior color: Anthracite Exterior (Anthrazit Metallic Code 397)
Interior: Sand Beige Leather Interior
VF Engineering Vortech Supercharger Kit
Custom Aluminum Intake Pipe
Custom Aluminum Radiator and Expansion Tank
Spal Electric Cooling Fan
19” HRE 893R Wheels
Michelin Super Sport Tires
ST Coilover Suspension
Akebono Brake Pads
Cross Drilled, Slotted Rotors
Bavarian Soundwerks Stage 1 Speaker Upgrade
Bavarian Soundwerks Subwoofer
Rockford Fosgate P200-2 Amp
The BMW E38 generation 7 Series was the last of an iconic form that BMW had tastefully and incrementally evolved since the flagship luxury sedan’s introduction in 1977. The successor E65 7 Series’ departure from this lineage due to Chris Bangle and Adrian van Hooydonk’s polarizing “flame surfacing” and “Bangle butt” design language actually appreciated the value of the E38 while it was still being sold. The post-facelift 740i M Sport, sometimes called the Short Sport, was the best E38 by far. Unlike the long wheel base variants, the shorter and lighter 740i got a true M Sport package consisting of:
By 2001 the model had undergone many updates including more standard options, clear turn signal indicators, color matched side skirts and bumper fascia, and a wider navigation screen. The result is the most modern iteration of a classic, the last of the classics – the E38 740i M Sport.
The story of this E38 does not end with it being an M Sport. I am selling it as part of a collection belonging to a Santa Fe, NM based art dealer. He is a member of the Audi, BMW, and Porsche Clubs—an avid German automobile enthusiast. After leaving the production line in Dingolfing, Germany in January 2001 it was delivered to its first owner by Camelback BMW in Phoenix, Arizona. It was meticulously dealer serviced at the correct intervals by Camelback BMW and BMW of Scottsdale. My client purchased it in 2006 with 25,700 miles and brought it to Santa Fe where he further refined it to suit his tastes.
First on his list was to have Santa Fe BMW perform a complete Inspection I including replacing the accelerator pedal per Service Bulletin SIB 35 01 02 to improve notchy feel. Then he got down to the business of unleashing the M Sport’s full potential. By its final model year the 740i’s V8 M60 engine had undergone two revisions, resulting in the 290 hp 4.4-liter M62TUB44. It featured VANOS variable timing thanks to the technical update and was notably more reliable than the M73 V12 in the 750iL. It was no slouch indeed, but it needed more. My client had a BMW-certified master technician install a VF Engineering Vortech supercharger kit. The VF kit is a proven M62 platform running a conservative 6-psi of boost, yet increasing output to 415 hp and 400 ft/lbs of torque. The result is a significant power increase that does not compromise reliability or the refined nature of the E38. Other than faint supercharger rattle at idle (which is normal), an unsuspecting person would have no clue that custom piping lay under the hood. The custom piping goes beyond the VF kit too. To optimize airflow he had John Hammill (HamFab Inc of Porsche racing circles) mill a custom aluminum intake pipe. It was a $3000 piece of aluminum! To keep things cool he also installed a custom aluminum radiator and expansion tank with a Spal electronic cooling fan.
The next order of business was getting the power to the road. Each car in my client’s collection wears HRE wheels. For the E38 he opted for HRE 893R 19” x 8.5” wheels with two-inch lip up front and 19” x 10” wheels with four-inch lip in the back. They are currently wearing very low mileage Michelin Super Sport tires. The 893R’s are the perfect compliment to the M Sport. They echo design cues of the stock Style 37 M Parallel wheels and feature a similar brushed finish under clear coat. The HRE 893R’s individualize and accentuate the form without stealing the show. To use an appropriate analogy, the masterpiece remains unchanged – it has just been re-framed.
Prodigious power and sticky tires are worthless without a proper link between them. While the stock M Sport suspension was a nice improvement over the regular E38, my client upgraded to an ST coilover kit. A subsidiary of German suspension guru KW, ST’s are perfect for the street focused nature of the M Sport. The ST’s adjustable ride height is slightly lower than stock, but far from slammed keeping things dignified. With an adjustable range of 1” to 2.2” front and 2.6” rear lower than stock the ride height can be further optimized to suit the buyer’s taste. The larger 22mm M Sport front sway bar is supported from above by a strut brace. The nature of the 7 series M Sport is a luxury sports sedan that does not compromise refinement in achieving its name. The ST’s allow it to corner properly, yet are compliant enough to soak up the worst pavement - an impressive feat for a 4000lb luxury sedan. Bragging points for a 7 Series on coilovers at your local Cars and Coffee is an added bonus! My client even had the headlights re-aimed by BMW of Santa Fe to correct for the slightly lower ride height.
I just can’t help being pedantic about this car. I don’t think any 7 series since the E38 has elicited the same passion. Like its smaller E39 5 series sibling, it is the pinnacle of traditional BMW design. Even at rest the M Sport makes a strong visual statement. It’s a form in motion no matter the speed. The front fascia and hood line are low and tidy, coming from an era before European pedestrian crash standards blunted the faces of modern vehicles. Your eye naturally flows through traditional design cues from the kidney grills and long hood through the door pillars, up the Hofmeister kink, and exits at the up-turned trunk lip. The dark metallic anthracite paint, shadowline trim, and painted side skirts further accent the form. Other than the M Sport bits, only the deep dish and wide footprint of the HRE wheels allude to its capabilities.
Open the door and you are greeted by the bright sand beige interior. Sand beige works wonderfully in this car. It is a light and airy contrast to the all-business exterior. The bolstered contour sport seats have enough adjustments to fluster the indecisive driver. Insert the key and the black leather 3-spoke M sport steering wheel lowers into the finely tuned position of your choice (fore, aft, up, and down). Vavona wood trim leads your eye to the center console, which is nostalgically absent of an iDrive controller. The wide NAV screen is dated, but the pilot in me loves the buttons surrounding it — and there is a button for everything. No menus to get lost in. No prolonged heads-down. Just execute your command with one touch and it happens. Even though it is a decade and a half old, there is no shortage of luxury amenities. The softly illuminated exterior door handles are my favorite. It even has the BMW branded flip-phone mounted in the center console, which provides endless entertainment confounding Millennials at the Starbucks drive through.
The audio system must be experienced. My client opted to keep the stock head unit. For sound delivery he installed a BSW Stage 1 speaker kit and a Rockford Fosgate P200-2 amp powering a massive BSW subwoofer mounted under the rear deck. Its location and flat profile provides big sound without compromising storage space. The effect of the upgrades will satisfy the most discerning audiophile. It is best experienced via traditional CD. The vibrant highs and midrange are balanced by rich purposeful lows that contribute to the soundscape rather than overwhelm it. The refinement theme persists.
Fire the supercharged M62 and it settles into a smooth and clinical idle. The stock exhaust produces a deep note that is undoubtedly BMW, but it is still quiet and unobtrusive. The steptronic shifting delivers your desired gear on command during spirited driving. Even though I am a staunch manual proponent, I never found myself longing for a third pedal. Power delivery is smooth and without delay, the benefit of engine driven boost over that which is exhaust derived. Linear torque delivery, a defining BMW trait, is uncompromised. The only power / torque difference I noticed over a stock M62 is more of both. Power, suspension, and grip culminate in smile-evoking athleticism that is exploitable with just a small bit of talent. Smiles turn to laughter as your eyes, hands, and feet dance with the big sedan in feats of motoring that would make The Transporter blush; this is the E38 that Frank Martin should have had. Mr. Bond could have also used it to great effect when he was busy Not Dying Tomorrow. When it’s time to reel it in, the Akebono brakes and rotors competently overcome physics with ease. At the next stoplight the adolescent giggles give way to a friendly smile at your neighbors, all the better to help restore relations undone by more dubious Bavarian pilots (and perhaps some of your own transgressions). Remember refinement is the underlying theme…
This 740i M Sport has been the beneficiary of impeccable stewardship from both of its owners. In a word its condition is exemplary. The most important thing in buying any BMW is the previous owner’s care. It has always lived indoors in a climate-controlled facility. Although the mileage is low, both owners have made it a point to drive it regularly. It has been meticulously dealer serviced or cared for by a high-end BMW independent (all records are available). In doing my due diligence for this sale I spoke to several technicians who have worked on the car. They all remembered it well and spoke very highly of it. The service manager of Santa Fe BMW said it was one of the best E38’s he had ever seen. All fluids have been maintained per the “Lifetime Maintenance Schedule” using Redline or BMW fluids. None of the common E38 issues are present, and all functions work exactly as they should. There are no fluid leaks. The only issue is the air conditioning does need to be topped off about once every 18 months to maintain maximum output. The likely culprits are leaky seals. One of the rear trunk open actuators is missing, but the remaining one does the job without issue. I am highly critical of our vehicles and have included pictures of all imperfections.
The exterior is fantastic. The metallic anthracite paint and clear coat are exceptional. There are a few small light superficial scratches and a few rock chips on the leading edges, but they are minimal considering the age and mileage. My client scuffed the rear bumper cover backing into his garage and had the entire rear bumper cover re-sprayed instead of just touching it up. It matches perfectly. The shadowline trim and black-work are in excellent shape. The driver’s side lower door trim has some light scratches. They do not present obviously, but this piece could be replaced for minimal cost. The window glass is not pitted or cracked and the tint is perfect. The left side skirt has one broken tab near the front, causing it to protrude about 4mm, but it isn’t something you notice unless you examine it closely. The wheels have no curb rash, bends, or scratched clear coat. The tires have only a few hundred miles on them and are worn evenly. It has seen only fair-weather in the dry Southwest climate, there is no rust anywhere. The underside is exceptionally clean, even after the road trip from Santa Fe to Denver.
The interior is consistent with the exterior. Tinted windows (including the windshield) have protected it from UV exposure that unzips BMW leather at its seams. It still smells like the day it was originally delivered. The leather is soft and supple to the touch with no rips or tears. There is a 2mm nick in the leather of the passenger side rear door handle pull. Even the rubber door seals are soft. The carpet is clean and there are no stains. The driver’s side floor matt has a minimal amount of wear, but it has protected all permanent fabric. The Vavona wood trim finish is brilliant and glossy and has no cracks with the exception of a 6mm hairline split at the top right corner of the shifter bezel. All interior functions work correctly, including the rear and side window shades (common failure items). Included with the sale is a factory BMW accordion sunshade that comes stored in a matching sand beige leather sleeve. The rear cargo net is present. The tool kit is complete with the exception of the hazard triangle. There is a perfect M Parallel wheel under the trunk floor as a spare.
Proper care and low mileage have preserved this 740i M Sport in amazing condition. The unique build and ownership pedigree make it a highly desirable example that stands out in a rapidly shrinking population of worthy examples. We would like to find a buyer who will continue to care for and appreciate it for years to come. A full VIN decoded original build list is below.