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BMW 7 Series (E23)

The BMW E23 is the first BMW 7 Series luxury car, produced by the German automaker BMW. Replacing the BMW E3 large sedan, the E23 was produced for ten years from 1977 to 1987 and was replaced by the BMW E32 7 Series in 1986. Production for the L7 continued in the United States for another year, eventually getting fully replaced by the long wheelbase versions of the E32.
Manufacturer
BMW
Production
1977–1987 (285,029 built)
Predecessor
Successor
Body style
4-door sedan
Layout
FR layout
Engine
Petrol:
2.5–3.4 L six-cylinder BMW M30
3.5 L six-cylinder BMW M88
3.4 L six-cylinder turbo BMW M102
3.6 L six-cylinder turbo BMW M106
Transmission
Manual
4-speed
5-speed
Automatic
3-speed
4-speed
Wheelbase
2,795 mm (110.0 in)
Length
4,860 mm (191.0 in)
5,014 mm (197.4 in) (L7) [US]
Width
1,800 mm (71.0 in)
Height
1,430 mm (56.0 in)
Curb weight
1,530 kg (3,400 lbs) – 1,670 kg (3,700 lbs)
Designer(s)
Paul Bracq (1974)

Design and features

1983–1986 BMW 735i (Australia). Note the wider and
more angular twin-port grille compared to the 1977–1983 cars
All E23 7 Series models (with the exception of the 745i) were built with the 12-valve M30 six-cylinder engine as used in the older E3 and E9 cars. Although most E23 engines were fuel-injected, two models (the 728 and 730) were available with a Solex four-barrel carburetor until 1979, when they were replaced by the fuel-injected 728i. Early fuel-injected models used the Bosch L-jetronic system while later models used the more advanced digital Bosch Motronic system.
The E23 7 series cars were very upscale and sophisticated for their time. They were the first BMWs fitted with service interval indicators, a 'check control' that alerted the driver to various system faults, and complex climate control systems. On-board computers and anti-lock braking system (ABS) were optional on early models but later became standard features. Also, later models (1985–1986) offered an optional driver's air bag. A variety of options included leather upholstery, several types of wood trim, power seats, seat heaters, and power windows and mirrors. Four-speed and five-speed manual gearboxes were available (depending on the year) and an automatic transmission was also available.
A minor styling update in 1983 affected the 'nose' of the car (the front 'kidney' grilles, valance/spoiler, bumpers etc.) as well as the dashboardand instrument panels which received updates plus (in the UK) the 735i received the Motronic 3430 cc engine (replacing the 3453 cc) and rearsuspension modifications as well as numerous other minor changes. In the US, 1984 saw the arrival of the optional 4-speed automatic transmission (replacing the 3-speed unit previously offered), upgraded wood trim above the glove compartment and on the ashtray (previously plastic in all US models), electrically adjustable power seats and larger Michelin TRX radials with special TRX wheels (later standard on all 1985–1987 735i/L7 models) on the 5-speed manual models.

Notable version

Turbocharged 745i

The 745i was a special high-performance model offered in left-hand-drive European markets between 1979 and 1986. It was originally fitted with a specially prepared 3.2 L type-M30 six-cylinder engine and a turbocharger producing 10 psi of boost, BMW engine code M102.
In 1984 the engine grew to 3.4 L, and was known as the M106. These cars were all built with automatic transmissions (although there is documentation supporting how the ECU was modified at the factory to work with Getrag 5 speeds) and could be ordered with exotic options such as heated front and rear power reclining seats, auto-on aux interior gasoline fired heaters, leather covered cellular telephones, front and rear seat heaters, rear-armrest radio control, water buffalo hide upholstery, and burl wood trim. The water buffalo interior model was the Executive trim option, while the High Line trim package offered ivory leather interior trim including a leather dash board, sun visors, headliner, and other leather bits not offered on the Executive.
BMW designated this particular model as 745i instead of 732i Turbo due to the theoretical assumption that the turbocharged motors have about 1,4 times more power than naturally aspirated motors. Thus, 3,2-litre (3210cc) turbocharged motor has "power equivalent" of 4,5-litre (4494cc) motor without forced induction.

South African 745i

A 745i without turbocharger was built specifically for the South African market. The right-hand-drive version was not possible with the turbocharged motor due to the proximity of turbocharger in the right-hand side of engine bay. Instead, it was fitted with the detuned version of 286 hp (213 kW) dual-camshaft 24-valve M88/3 M1 Motorsport engine with a Bosch ML-Jetronic fuel injection system. This particular motor was also fitted to the first-generation M5 and M635CSi. A production run of 209 South African 745i was built from 1984 to 1986: 192 were built with automatic gearbox and 17 with 5-speed manual gearbox.
BMW South Africa ran one of these 745i models in Class A of the South African Modified Saloon Car Championship, the only BMW-Sanctioned motor sport application in the history of BMW 7-series cars.

North America and Japan

1984 BMW 733i with federal bumpers
Only the 733i, 735i, and L7 were offered in these markets. As usual, BMW sold only upscale versions in these markets, usually including leather upholstery, cruise control, wood trim, power windows, power sunroof, and other options as standard. North American versions were fitted with larger bumpers (to comply with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standards), smaller sealed beam headlights, and various forms of emissions equipment that were not found on European-market cars. The engines used in these markets had lower-compression pistons and thus were less powerful than European-market versions. Some features such as ABS were available in markets outside North America before they were fitted on American models. Many turbocharged 745i models made their way into America during the height of the grey market in the mid-1980s.
The L7 was a more luxurious version of the 735i for the American market only. It was 154mm longer, featured special leather upholstery with leatherdashboard and door padding (rather than wood trim), a power glass Moonroof. and a variety of optional features as standard. All L7 models were built with automatic transmissions and a standard driver's air bag. The L7 was the first BMW sold in North America with a driver's side airbag.

Models

The following models were produced in this series:
BMW E23 (728i)
Model
Engine
Power
Torque
Built
PS
kW
hp
at rpm
Nm
lbft
at rpm
725*
2,494 cc I6
150
110
148
5,800
208
153
4,000
1977–1979
728
2,788 cc I6
170
125
168
5,800
233
172
4,000
1977–1979
728i
2,788 cc I6
184
135
181
5,800
235
173
4,200
1979−1986
730
2,985 cc I6
184
135
181
5,800
255
188
3,500
1977–1979
732i
3,205 cc I6
196
144
193
5,500
279
206
4,500
1979–1986
733i
3,205 cc I6
197
145
194
5,500
279
206
4,300
1977–1979
735i
3,453 cc I6
218
160
215
5,200
304
224
4,000
1979–1982
735i
3,430 cc I6
218
160
215
5,200
304
224
4,000
1982–1986
745i
3,205 cc I6
252
185
249
5,200
374
276
2,600
1980–1982
745i
3,430 cc I6
252
185
249
4,900
374
276
2,200
1983–1986
North America and Japan
733i
3,210 cc I6
179
132
177
5,500
266
196
4,000
1978–1979
733i
3,210 cc I6
176
129
174
5,200
255
188
4,200
1980–1981
733i
3,210 cc I6
184
135
181
6,000
264
195
4,000
1982–1984
735i/L7
3,430 cc I6
185
136
182
5,400
290
210
4,000
1985–1987
1986–1987 (L7)
South Africa
745i
3,453 cc I6
286
210
282
6,500
340
250
4,500
1984–1986
Note: * For government agencies and on special order only
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Last updated on 12 July 2013 at 19:05.

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