Driving the BMW 728 (E23). An impressive experience.

ER Classics Desktop 2022

In 1977, with the BMW 728, BMW made its definitive return within the absolute top class in car land. The 7 series made its debut as Baureihe E23. Predecessor E3 (2500-2800-3.0-3.3) already had a considerable part of the Stairway to Carheaven taken into account. The 7 series was the crowning glory.

I had a very good opportunity to experience the "Sharknose" experimentally. The day before one of my best friends - Tino Renkema from Leeuwarden - had become the proud owner of a BMW 728 from 1979. And of course we go on the road together. The sun is shining, a drive through the beautiful north of Friesland is a must. It is the ingredients that make the expectant heart beat faster. The main ingredient confirms not much later why.

A beautiful, sophisticated Reihen Sechs from BMW: the M30B28. Image: Erik van Putten
A beautiful, sophisticated Reihen Sechs from BMW: the M30B28. Image: Erik van Putten

Everything is right

The BMW 728 from 1979 fully lives up to its reputation. It already starts at the entrance. After taking a seat, it is once again striking to note that you as a driver are in one go. The comfortable seats are positioned just right. The curved four-spoke steering wheel - with the characteristic large clocks behind it - is wonderfully grasped. You sit in that typical BMW cockpit with the dashboard turned towards you, little adornment, a generally logical ergonomics with a few tricks and solid efficiency.

Great technology

So you experience that at the end of the seventies, with this 7 series, BMW stormed the executive heaven in a pleasantly efficient manner. And there is more: The great technology. The incredibly fine Reihen-Sechs in the longitudinal direction make his work exemplary. The M30B28 engine in this BMW 728 of the very first series is equipped with one double Solex carburetor. It is a machine of the finest, creamy kind. The power source does not force itself on you for a moment. It is your turn, the engine follows faithfully. Until you bring the gas in for a longer period of time. Then the six in line certainly from 3.500 - 4.000 revolutions per minute - takes over control and ensures an acceleration that is always faster. The fine sound penetrates the interior through the sliding-tilt roof (people, what a wonderful option). And the BMW 728 remains completely manageable in the meantime. Just a little about the sliding roof. That works great. It opens smoothly, and it is positioned so well that when opened, it also provides a pleasant breeze in the interior in a pleasant way.

A very nice addition: the sliding / tilting roof that was ordered as extra by the first owner in 1979. Image: Erik van Putten
A very nice addition: the sliding / tilting roof that was ordered as extra by the first owner in 1979. Image: Erik van Putten

Beautiful chassis

What is also striking is the way in which the excellent chassis absorbs any unevenness - short or long. Exceptional comfort is your part, while the BMW 728 never looks soaring. Instead of that title comes the dynamic nature that never fades into the background. In addition, the controls are very pleasant. With much feeling, the BMW 728 is remarkably easy to accept a change of course. Switching and linking? You never have the idea of ​​driving an 37 year old. The clutch feels wonderfully meaty and the gearbox does its job extremely accurately.


Lots of added value in executive class

Tino Renkema is delighted with his BMW 728. And I am extremely pleased to cover my first sixty kilometers in this great car. According to the new owner, this E23 deserves "some more cosmetic refinement." There are also a few electronic glitches with this grand old. Those upcoming few dots on the i, however, are completely insignificant to the phenomenal image that this BMW 728 evokes time and again on a beautiful Sunday morning in Friesland. He confirms that BMW in 1979 also made driving in this class great. And added a lot, a lot to that top class.

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