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1998 BMW 728i


In production from 1994 to 2001, the E38 is the third generation of BMW’s top-of-the-range 7-Series. As a sign of the times we were living in, buyers could, for the first time, choose from a range of straight-six and V8 engines in both diesel and petrol formats, while the range-topping model got BMW’s glorious V12 petrol.

Power outputs varied from the 141bhp in the 725tds through to the 322bhp V12, which means the 0-60mph sprint occupies anywhere between six and 11 seconds, depending on the depth of the first owner’s pockets.

The 728i you are looking at here, which is fitted with the 2.8-litre, 190bhp straight-six engine, has a top speed of 140mph and can reach 60mph in just over nine seconds – and that’s enough really, isn’t it?

Most, like this one, were fitted with the five-speed ZF automatic ‘box and while manual gearboxes were offered in some markets, they’re a rare and largely undesirable option.

As well as the new-found obsession with fuel consumption, safety had started to become a priority and BMW crammed the E38 with masses of safety equipment including traction control, auto-levelling Xenon HID headlamps, and Electronic Damper Control (EDCIII).

The interior was as OTT as the mechanical specification; the E38 was the first car in the world to protect its occupants with curtain airbags, the first European car to offer a satellite navigation system, and the first BMW to offer onboard TV.

Active Comfort Seats were offered from 1998 onwards, while double-glazed windows – and even laminated security glass – were on the options list.

A favourite of both the small screen and Hollywood, it’s probably most famous for making an appearance in Tomorrow Never Dies, where 16 cars were modified in total.

This means the E38 is one of the very cheapest ways of getting behind the wheel of a genuine James Bond car…

The Vehicle

First registered on the 29th of April 1998, this nicely fettled BMW 7-Series shows just how well these cars shrug off the years when they’re looked after as BMW intended.

Because, at 22 years of age, it still looks terrific, both inside and out. It’s running well too and our test drive showed the sort of tight chassis we more normally find in much newer cars; mind you, having spent the majority of its life on the Isle of Wight it’s only covered around 65,000 miles, which is barely run-in by E38 standards – and that mileage is verified by MOTs and the service history book, so is almost certainly true.

In the care of the vendor for the past couple of years, it’s being offered with no reserve, so it’s going to sell from the very first bid, making this your chance to buy an E38 7-Series that can be rationalised with both your head AND your heart.

On the Outside

Say what you like about 7-Series BMWs but you can’t deny that they built ‘em properly, back-in-the-day. This one’s laser-etched shutlines, brilliant panel alignment, and fabulous overall fit ‘n’ finish belies its three decades like few others.

The limited chromework is also in good shape, as are the light lenses, glazing, and badges. In fact, there’s little to say here because it’s all really rather nice.

Well, apart from the wheels and tyres, the one area where the story dips a little. The 18-inch OE alloy wheels are in a decent shape but they do have some light scuffs and alloy corrosion, and given how good the rest of the exterior is we can see the new owner might like to have them refurbished. They are shod with a bit of a mixed bag of tyres, so you might like to budget for a matching set of decent rubber to fit when they’ve been refurb’d.

Aside from the tyres, we might be tempted to splash out on a rear numberplate. That aside, we can’t see anything that needs sorting – and if that’s not a stunning vindication of the car and its upkeep we don’t know what is.

On the Inside

The black leather interior looks terrific; with only 65,000 miles on the clock and a series of unusually careful owners, it wears only a modest patina amounting to little more than gentle creasing and nothing more. The seats are all still firm and supportive, and they still adjust using angry pixies as they should.

The rear seats are in an even better condition – and the rear of a 7-Series BMW is a very nice place to be, so winning over your kids and parents should be a doddle, even if your partner might take more convincing…

The door cards are in great shape, and the driver’s one is wonderfully complex and stuffed full of then sort of gadgets and fittings that you’d expect to find on a top-of-the-range car like this.

The carpets are good too, as are the dashboard, centre console, walnut veneer trim, instruments, and switches: as with the exterior, few cars weather the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune better than an E38 BMW, and this one is no exception.

It sports a Pioneer DAB/smartphone compatible head unit, which might not be original but does allow you to channel the modern world better than the factory one could.

The boot, which is clean and well organised, is utterly solid and free of rust and corrosion. Home to a spare alloy wheel fitted with a bald tyre, it also sports a warning triangle and toolkit plus a six-CD multichanger. The carpets and trim in the boot are good, too.

Faults? Well, very few, really. The windows, mirrors and other goodies all seem to work, which means that the only real issue we can see is the headlining, which is starting to flop at the front.


The BMW’s service history is recorded in the service history booklet thus:

• 24.04.1998 and 18 miles – pre-delivery inspection by HGL BMW

• 17.12.1998 and 8,729 miles – service by HGL BMW

• 29.03.2000 and 13,092 miles – service by HGL BMW

• 23.11.2001 and 14,851 miles – service by Snows BMW

• 19.04.2002 and 16,368 miles – service by Snows BMW

• 16.04.2003 and 18,085 miles – service by Snows BMW

• 04.09.2004 and 21,452 miles – service by Snows BMW

• 30.03.2005 and 23,514 miles – service by Snows BMW

• 11.04.2007 and 27,397 miles – service by Snows BMW

• 07.04.2010 and 32,913 miles – service by Snows BMW

• 31.03.2011 and 34,241 miles – service by Wilton’s of Shanklin

• 03.04.2012 and 35,326 miles – service by Wilton’s of Shanklin

• 27.03.2013 and 36,342 miles – service by Wilton’s of Shanklin

• 09.05.2016 and 47,644 miles – service by Costa Car Clinic

• 18.07.2017 and 55,717 miles – service by Costa Car Clinic

• 06.07.2019 and 62,349 miles – service by Manton Auto’s

It also looks like it received a service in May 2014 if the invoice from GSF is anything to go by. All-in-all, it’s a bloomin’ good history, isn’t it?

And it’s paid off because we’ve driven it and it drives very well, feeling tight and lithe. Faults? Well, there’s little to do other than to sort out the typical E38 front wheel wobble that makes itself felt at around 50mph.

The engine bay is a little dusty and grubby bit otherwise in good shape. The new owner might, if they’re fastidious, like to get it detailed but we doubt that many will bother.

History Highlights

The BMW’s MOT certificate is valid until November 2021. It has a number of expired MOT certificates plus a few old invoices and bills to confirm the work that has been done to it over the years.

It also still has its original owner’s handbook, stamped service history, book pack, and the storage wallet.

Please visit the documents section of the gallery of this listing where you will find photos of this and other paperwork to support our claim that this car has been maintained to a very good standard.

If you’d like to inspect the car prior to placing a bid – something we would encourage – then please use the Contact Seller button to arrange an appointment.

What We Think

Everyone loves a Euro-barge - and when it’s a full-blown executive-spec 7-Series in one of the best colour schemes of them all we know it’s going to attract an awful lot of interest.

And then, when you start to dig a little, it just gets better and better. Low miles, a good service history, and an absence of the sort of rust, neglect and broken toys that are so common on old 7-Series mean that this beautifully maintained, time-warp E38 isn’t going to be cheap.

We estimate this wonderful example will probably sell between £5,000 - £7,000. Even better, it’s being sold with no reserve so will sell from the very first bid, simply a great chance to grab yourself a LOT of car at a great price!

Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

If needed, please remember we have a network of trusted suppliers we work with regularly and can recommend: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Footman James for classic car insurance Thames Valley Car Storage for storing your car and an array of regional providers for transporting it.

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at the vehicles delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

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  • Location: Abingdon, Oxfordshire
  • Odometer Reading: 64892
  • Gearbox: Auto

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