1 Feb 1978
BMW’S tilt at the long-running (and long reigning) Mercedes-Benz S-class began in earnest with the 1977 7 Series sedan.
Released in Australia in early ’78, it arrived as a single model – the 733i, using a variation of the 145kW/280Nm 3.2-litre overhead cam in-line six-cylinder engine found in the 7 Series’ close relative, the 633 CSi Coupe.
And like the slinky two-door, the 733i channelled its power to the rear wheels via a three-speed automatic gearbox.
Minor trim and equipment level alterations kept the 733i fresh until it was replaced by the bigger engined 735i in May ’83.
This switched to a 145kW/285Nm 3.5-litre single-cam in-line six-cylinder unit and a four-speed automatic.
Anti-lock brakes, air-conditioning, power steering, cruise control, power windows, central locking and leather trim were standard.
Another upgrade and facelift arrived in early ’85, with the 3.5 735i now offering 150kW and 310Nm. It is identifiable by a more upright grille than the one found on previous E23s.
In all 285,029 E23 7 Series were built between 1977 and 1986.