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BMW 7-Series 2006 and earlier

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  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    jgravel, you might also like to drop by our Tires, Tires, Tires discussion. Let us know what you decide.
  • Although I no longer have a 7 series BMW I noticed the discussion about snow tires and I just thought I would try and help out. I had a 1997 and an 2000 740iL that I bought Bridgestone Blizzaks that cost me about $600 with the steel wheels and they were shipped already mounted and balanced. And I absolutly loved them. I live in Massachusetts on a long and rather steep hill and I never once got stuck or had to park it at the bottom. They are excellent tires and I would recommend them to anyone.

    And incase you are wondering why I no longer have a BMW, the reasons are because of the new design which I could get used to, but the main reason is the iDrive and the steering wheel mounted shifter. I absolutly love how it rides and handles, but it seemed to me that they took the fun out of driving it when they moved the shifter.
  • Anybody see the article in yesterday's (11/12/03) USA Today money section on the complexity of new cars and the trouble fixing them? It cited a specific owner of a new BMW 7 series and a new E class and the fact that the factory was willingly buying back cars from owners due to multiple technology related problems that could not be fixed. These issues are well documented amongst enthusiast forums like this. However when these problems receive "mainstream" media attention like USA Today, many more potential buyers see it. As the second owner will not be eligible for a "buy back" resale value suffers. Year old 7's and E classes should be more affordable than ever!

    Interestingly, the article focused on German cars, brief mention was made of Cadillac and no mention of Japanese brands. Furthering the notion that the Germans are great engineers but lousy electricians! It will be interesting to watch the values of these cars over the next few years to see how they fare resale wise compared to their previous generation.
  • Tasillo, I think that readers of your (and my) persuasion could set up a pool. The winner makes the best guess when the Emunds TMV of a 2002 745 hits 40K. The entries would be based on julian date. My money would be that on or about day 270 in 2004 you could pick up a 2002 7 Series for 30K under what it originally sold for.

    This day will be marked by two things: an unparalled buying opportunity for 7 fans and the gnashing of teeth and other facial grimmaces on the part of people who just lost a good chunk of equity. More money than they probably made their first year out of law school or medical school. (You know, like many things, a "good price" is all about whether you are buying or selling.)

    Just to keep this pool on the up and up, we'll ask Bmwseller to hold the money.
  • blockislandguy

    As I'm already seeing very low mileage (7-12k) '02 7's on BMW lots in the high 50's, I'm betting these cars are going through the auctions at transaction prices in the high 40's already. My experience has been there is a huge gap between wholesale value and the retail (asking) price on the high-end cars. If that's the case, the owner trading an '02 7 with 20k miles is probably getting 45-47k Actual Cash Value for his/her $75-80k car. Boy, I'd be pissed! Also, the Atlanta dealers still have several '03 7's on the lots that I'll bet are being heavily discounted, further reducing the retail value of an '02. As attractive as this is to me, I'm steering way clear of the '02 7's as it's very evident many of these cars have electrical gremlins that are not only aggrivating, but in some cases render the car undriveable or inoperative.

    The interesting thing is, lot's of these issues seem directly related to the complexity of the electronics which are controlled by the universally hated i-Drive. Rather than invest in the restyle or "freshening" as BMW puts it, why not rework the electronics, perhaps deleting the offending i-Drive, put the shifter back on the console and restore the driver oriented controls and cockpit that this great driving car deserve?

    Here's hoping the Germans get it back on track soon before this great marque suffers the same fate as Audi in the early '80's!
  • Just ran a comparo in which the i-drive, pretty much on its own, bumped the 7 from its traditional 1st place spot to 3rd behind the lexus and new Jag XJ.

    C&D also predicted that the new 7 would take a real beating on resale value. I intend to own my old 1993 750 for at least another 6 years. The new 7 is NOT on my list of potential replacements. A good part of the reason for this is that not only is the vehicle extremely complicated, but BMW will not release repair info to third-parties such as Alldate or Chiltons. Suppose that's okay if all work is being done under warranty, but once that is over BMW's policy means you will be faced with a virtual dealer monopoly when the car needs fixing. Not a situation anyone wants to be in. It also poses a serious impediment to someone (like me) who likes to look over the mechanics shoulder and make sure the process is moving properly. Pretty hard to do if there is no access to info about the car.

    For a used 7, all of this eventually this will translate into a reputation for being as expensive to maintain as a Rolls Royce, and you won't be able to give one away.
  • Tasillo

    The large spread between wholesale and retail "asking" prices on luxury cars must be because a) the reseller is taking a large risk in just putting one of these 50K used cars in his inventory, more risk than say on a quick turning, 15k Honda, and needs more reward for the risk and b) the reseller needs some room to negotiate the price down upon the potential buyer's request.

    Tasillo AND F1Buick:

    Would you feel the same way about a CPO 2002 7 Series? What if Munich shouldered the burden out to 100K? At what price would a non-CPO 2002 become attractive?
  • my comments principally were directed at whoever winds up holding the car when the warranties go away. In the meantime, howver, there would be the usual issue of owning a car that probably is depreciating faster than the loan is being paid off. If the car is destroyed or stolen, basic insurance coverage only pays market value, not the amount on the loan. One of the big money makers for dealers nowadays is "difference in value insurance," where they sell you a policy which guarentees paying off the loan balance, rather than just the market value.

    ALL of this, in my mind, just points to the idiocy of placing huge amounts of money in an asset which you fully expect to suffer exteme depreciation at some point. Even if you are not the person who ends up holding the bag at the end, the fact is that the known future for this vehicle is that someone will end up holding that bag. This creates a risk spreading/avoidance situation that WILL effect value at all stages, though work arounds like extended warrenties and special insurance will distort the economics/mathematics a bit.

    Ain't no free lunches. The question is who pays. And if you think it through, you'll probably find out that even if it looks like someone else is footing the bill for you, that probably is not entirely the case. If might be risk rather than money, but the cost will be there.

    If you want a used 7-series look for an E38 750. It's to die for.
  • Tasillo
    My brother mentioned that the WSJ had an article
    on the new 7 and its problems.(maybe he meant USA
    TODAY)He said BMW was buying back some of these
    cars on condition they sign an agreement not to
    disclose the buy back. The experience I've had with my 1998 740i is less than steller. It has
    65000 miles. I thought all the bugs were being worked at when It was going in for repairs on an
    average of every four months. Under warranty this
    was fine except for the inconvenience. Catalytic
    converter(both),replace LCD instrument panel,
    rear suspension, center tie rod, thrust rod
    bushings,induction cleaning kit, a/c compressor
    ($1376 for the A/C alone) My mistake may have been
    not buying the extended warranty.Love the ride
    but my next car will be a Lexus, boring drive and
    all.
  • Terry79, yes, the Journal also had an article on the not-selling-well 7 series. (Its main points were that sales are down in the US and non existant in Europe.)

    F1Buick, extremely well put point. Its a bit like musical chairs. Someone is going to get caught out when the music (read: warranty) stops and until then the organizers of the game have to have artificial incentives to get people to take a chance and play it.

    Maybe thats one reason why if you "don't have to" be seen in a 7 Series/E Series/etc. you just say screw it and buy a Tahoe/Expedition with a roof and leather. That (and a primary and secondary housing market on speed) is IMHO why a lot of high income people are happy enough with a loaded up SUV.
  • great analogy! Moreover, my point is that if everyone KNOWS it is a game of musical chairs, then the market is going to reflect that knowledge. Those wanting to sell will have to pay buyers to play the game, and if I were a buyer I would wonder where that cost is being passed onto me. It can be hidden in not-so-obvious areas, e.g., risk of holding the bag if the car is totaled and the insurance won't pay off the loan balance.

    I doubt there is much cross-shopping between luxo SUV's and german autobahn blasters. The SUV's are for people who view driving as chore, the effort of which is to be minimized. They are buying SUV's now instead of the Cadillacs they would have bought 40 years ago, partially because of the perceived utility of the SUV body style and partially because of a highly misguided belief about the "safety" of AWD.

    Regarding Terry79's problems, that certainly is an unusual and troublesome list. Perhaps now that the warranty is gone he might shop for another repair option beside the local dealer's service department. The list is unusual enough to suggest a bit of "overdiagnosis" by the shop, e.g., how did BOTH cat converters happen to go bad, when they are independent of each other? One would be unusual at that mileage. Two seems almost impossible.
  • F1buick, I agree with your first point that many of the people in the Luxo Suv's are the grandchildren of Olds98 and Caddy owners (and some of the others are recent immigrants whose grandparents probably, literally, rode water buffaloes in the Camau Peninsula).

    But, I think that some of the Luxo SUV owners would be driving autobahn blasters if there was more AWD available (8 million people live in New England alone, ya know) and less perceived depreciation and mechanical bugaboos. Afterall, many of us did drive these cars 20 years ago when the cars were simpler, there weren't any Suvs, and the housing market (both for a primary residence and a vacation place) wasn't competing for our dollars.

    On the other hand, owning a Luxo Suv also fits one's lifestyle if you identify with the first generation of Americans who feel comfortable going out in public in jeans and a sweat shirt. Lets be tactful and call it the Home Depot Generation.
  • then Audi would have sold 50,000 A8's. But in 5 years they sold less than 10,000. And how many 4matic models does Mercedes sell? Not many.

    With SUV's I think the AWD thing combines with the high seating postition to create a false sense of security. Phrases like "center of gravity," "roll center," and "unsprung weight" are not understood, and people think they are buying safety when they most definitely are not.

    I agree with your "home depot" analogy. But as a person who has owned a number of pickups, I'm at a loss to understand why anyone would buy an SUV for perceived utility. My sister just bought an X5 and it has less room than my 750, and way less than my Park Avenue. There really isn't that much room in the back of most SUV's short of a suburban.

    I feel like SUV's are for people who kind of want a truck and then try to compromise by buying something that is not a truck and which really can't do what a truck can. I'll take a big trunk or an truck bed over the tail end of an SUV any day.
  • F1Buick, nice point about the high seating positon giving a false sense of security because of the higher center of gravity, etc. etc. Not so good point about the lack of room in an SUV. Even your sister's X5 could have handled the 2' X 8' rigid insulation panels I picked up tonight at Home Depot. In a 750??

    I know it isn't popular to suggest it, but when the weather is snotty (six months a year in New England) or snow is banked on both sides of the road I'd rather be in an SUV than a 750. Good visibility, clearer, dryer windshield, more "freeboard", etc. One good splash from a truck in a 7 Series and you'd think you were out in a Boston Whaler Montauk without GPS.
  • I don't use the 750 for hauling. My Park Ave has a 19cf trunk, a center pass through that let's me haul dimensional lumber up to 16' long (really, i've done it with a red flag stapled to the end piece), and a trailer hitch for the really big stuff. The 2x8 foam would't have fit through the pass through, it would have fit in the trunk with 3' sticking out, but its just foam so you tie it down and go.

    I'm a regular home handyman, and I've been without a truck for almost a year. Know what? you can work around it. I miss being able to just throw stuff in the bed of my truck, but (and this is a big point) you can't do that in an SUV either: the utility of an enclosed cargo space is limited.

    I'm planning a sheet rock run in the next couple weeks and I'll have to rent a trailer for $35. The SUV couldn't handle the rock either. If I added removable roof racks to the Buick, I'd have just as much capacity to haul sheet rock as somebody in an Explorer. But the other 99.9% of the time I'm driving, I wouldn't have to deal with a lumbering, roll-happy, poor-braking SUV (I'd say gas-eating, but nobody with a V12 can complain about that).

    Regarding snow, I'll admit that as a Pacific Northwesterner I don't have the same issues as someone in, say, Maine. However, the east coasters and canadians on my bmw board consistently post that with traction control and full manual shifting, their 7's perform just fine.

    I've driven/owned a number of 4wd's and while its personal opinion, I think 4wd is over-rated except for the very worst snow storms (at which point the 2wd has to chain up). A front wheel driver with traction control and winter tires is a pretty darn good snow car. rwd is passable with the right technique.

    While I agree that 4wd and SUV's have unique qualities that are occassionally useful, I think that in 99% of driving situations those qualities are not useful or, worse, detract from overall safety. How many times has BMW been sued for a rollover in a 7 series? Darned thing is a corvette with 4 doors. How rollovers do we see with SUV's? A lot! And these poor, ignorant people were buying "the safety of 4wd."
  • F1Buick, right on. Boston's Channel 7 has the above motto (borrowed from an affiliate in Miami) for story placement. Seemingly a day doesn't go by but somebody in a SUV hasn't rolled over on an off ramp on Rt. 495 and we get to see it in color at 6PM and at 11PM.
  • We all know about the Firestone/Explorer debacle, where a tire would blow, the driver would lose control, and the SUV would roll. In some of the incidents the cars were only going 45mph or so.

    A couple years ago I had a tire blow in my 750 at 75mph. Stability-wise, it was a nonevent. The car didn't lunge, jerk, or dart. Heck, i drove a few hundred yards before I was even sure what had happened. Then I just pulled over onto the shoulder and changed the tire.

    why the difference between the two scenarios? Well, for one thing the 7 is a corvette with 4 doors, with a very low centre of gravity. the second thing is that i didn't invite trouble by slamming the brakes or jerking on the steering wheel (which, i suspect, was a common reaction by those unfortunate explorer drivers).

    So which vehicle is safer? 4wd will assist traction on a few snow days. even on the east coast, the amount of time in a year during which that 4wd actually will be helpful is a small fraction of your total driving time. the low center of gravity of a passenger sedan, especially a 7, is a fundamental dynamic advantage is that is ALWAYS helpful (even in snow) and is there ALL of the time. I'll take a feature that is an advantage 100% of the item over one that is only an advantage 1% of the time (and is a disadvantage the other 99%) any day of the week.
  • gumpsgumps Posts: 17
    Finally bot a 745il. Does anyone know if the $75 sat prep fee is all there is for sat radio. Dealer doesn't know since it is so new. I am guessing there must be additional hardware but they can't tell me. They are still learning.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Have you folks been following Edmunds' long-term road test of the 2002 745Li? An October update is available - see Helpful Links box on the left side of the page to access the series.
  • pdd7pdd7 Posts: 2
    I am new to the forum, and I apologize in advance if this subject has been previously discussed.

    My 3yr lease on a 2001 740il with 39+k miles is about to expire. I can purchase the vehicle for $38.8k, and I think that this purchase price is good. I have had no problems with the vehicle, just installed new brakes, and love the car. I don't feel the need to buy an extended warranty to 100k miles, or pay the premium for a similar certified pre-owned model. Other than routine maintainance, are there any expected big-ticket repairs on this car if I plan to drive the car for another 3-5 years?

    I would appreciate any input. Thanks in advance.
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