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BMW 7-Series 2006 and earlier



  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    The issue was this: in the U.S. we allow much more sulphur in our gas than in europe. BMW didn't account for this, and the sulphur damaged the block on quite a few cars. They extended the warranty, and replaced quite a fwe engines.

    BMW will cost more to upkeep than acura, yes, but it's more like 30% more maybe, and you have to decide if it's worth it. I think it is. Good things cost more.

  • Dave, Rmorin2, Lenscap

    Thanks for your input! I am looking to hold the next car I buy for the long term, so I am leaning toward purchasing the new Acura. Just cannot afford the time (and $) of dragging what admittedly is a super driving machine (1993 7 Series) back to the dealership for costly maintenance.

    Thanks again!
  • ocmomocmom Posts: 2
    Dealer wants $2400 to replace the catalytic convertors, of course using BMW parts. Does anyone know of an aftermarket maker for this? Great car, but beginning to cost money! Anyone in the So. Orange County CA area know a good BMW repair guy?
  • I was looking to trade in my 95 LS400 for a 96 740iL, a car which I have wanted for a while mainly for its style and performance. I went to check out a beautiful midnight blue 740 iL. When I got in and turned the ignition I found all these electrical problems. The tachometer was dead/ did not work. Half the radio display would not light up. The passenger side window would not open. The engine sounded smooth/okay. I estimated the cost of repairing these "minor" problems at nearly $3000. I did not even check everything in the car. It is so sad to see how such a beautiful performace luxury car can have so many glitches & reliability problems. I changed my mind about a 740i. I love the styling & performance but I dont want to have this thing in the shop every month with $1500 repair bills. Unless you are a millionaire, do not buy this car out of will bankrupt you :-) Some of you owners know what I am talking about.
    No one wants to talk about it here, but many of us are aware of the "740 Lemon" syndrome. I was told that 740i's have at times been junked due to serious electrical problems, cost of repair being higher than the value of the car. This is also why 740's depreciate like a stone. I have given up and may instead pursue the M3, a more reliable performance car.
  • rmorin2rmorin2 Posts: 110
    I have owned several BMWs including a 3 series convetible and a 5 series sedan. Isn't the 740 mechanically pretty similar to the 540, at least the engine and tranny? The 5 series are known to be pretty reliable. Why not the 7 series? I am considering a CPO 7 series in the next several months. If there are serious reliability problems, please current owners, speak up!! Thanks.
  • sysadbsysadb Posts: 83

    I'm surprised that the car you looked at was offered for sale with all those problems, but I suppose there's no accounting for poor sales strategies. But I'm a little curious why you would look at a used 7-series if you really subscribe to the "740 Lemon Syndrome". I believe that BMW is spawning no more lemons than other luxury makes with these cars (with the exception of Lexus and Infiniti), but when these cars do have problems they can generate huge repair costs, as you mentioned. I think the cost of repairs to these cars is what alarms potential owners, more than the actual frequency of repairs.

    I have a 98 740i that I bought 16 months ago that had 13.6k miles on it, and it had been in service exactly 2 years. I now have 28k miles on the car and the factory warranty expires next July. Since I've had the car both headlights burned out (at different times) before the car reached 20k miles. One of the brake lights went out after a TSB was done to the car, and the other soon after - again, before the car reached 20k miles. No "electrical" problems since. The one serious failure I've had is the water pump failing at 23k miles.

    While these problems hardly qualify the car as a lemon, I feel they warrant the purchase of a (comprehensive) warranty service plan as the car nears the end of the factory warranty. Risk tolerance for potential repair bills varies among us, but personally I don't think I'd want to roll the dice with one of these without a warranty.

    But I purchased this car knowing that. As you mentioned, the resale dives quickly on these cars, so the initial cost of this car (factoring in a couple thousand more for the eventual extended warranty) still makes the car an attractive buy.

  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531 lists the converters at $435 each. and there's two of them. I think a shop ought to be able to do it in 4 hours max. All told, you should be able to get both cats replaced for $1300. Maybe less, depending.

    I sort-of agree that a 7-series is not the car to get for worry free motoring.

  • Sysad,
    Dont get me wrong, I think the 740i is the most beautiful, best styled performance sedan, especially the 740i Sport with 18" Sport wheels & suspension package. If BMW could somehow make them highly reliable and trouble free I think this car would almost completely displace Mercedes & Lexus. BMW really should try to understand this. I have a 95 LS400 which is a very boring car to drive & very soft but at 80K miles it has been 100% troublefree, from headlight to tailight, not a single glitch or fault; trouble is I get no plesure from driving the car. Gimme a 740i Sport as plain & simple as can be. I am still considering trading in the LS400 for a 97 or 98 740i Sport and I am willing to put up with up to $3000 in annual maint/repair costs. If anyone has any rough actual #'s I would appreciate it as it would help me decide.
  • mevandemevande Posts: 190
    Todd60 posts. """I've never owned a BMW, but recently I came across one that has 120K miles that looks interesting. According to the current (second) owner, the car had its engine replaced in a factory recall at 80,000. Something about gas additives in the New England area harming the 4.0 Litre V8""" You must be speaking of the 1995 740i. It had an automatic recall re: the engine for the very fact of gas refomulation in the NE area. I know this for I have a 1995 740i and it had the short block replaced at 38,000 miles. The car was driving fine when it got the recall. A lil surprised the engine on your model was changed at 80,000 miles. My 1995 looks very much the 740i's until the bad styling choice of the new 2002 (ugh!) They shoud have "evolutioned the styling much like when the went 1994 7xx went to the 1995 new sheet metal. Did not draw much contovery and was looked at as a "classy" change. Oh, my 1995 drives like new (80,000 miles and no maint other than reg. sched and oil changes.
  • rmorin2rmorin2 Posts: 110
    I also feel that the styling of the E38 7 is classic and beautiful. Pity the person who designed the '02 model. IMHO it is butt ugly!

    I am shopping for a nice used CPO 7 series. Have heard that the ride of the i is pretty harsh with the sport package as compared to the iL as the iL does not have the same suspension as the i.

    Can someone explain? Thanks.
  • Go to this site:

    Great site with members who know everything about the E38.


    '99 740iL

  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    My girlfriend's father recently got a new 2001 740iL. After driving the car several times I was surprised how "Lexus-like" the car is, especially the steering (I have a Lexus). The 3-Series and 5-Series I've driven seem much more sport-oriented compared to the 7.
  • In the Bay Area, CA, the '01 740il have been discounted as much as $12K off MSRP to make way for the new '02 745i. What can I expect to pay for a '01 740i Sport. Any idea on residual after 36 months. I've looked at some of the estimates from software on Edmunds and they saying less than 50%. Also, with the reduction in interest rates has the money factor on leasing come down, I was hoping to around .0027. Any good experience with good dealerships in the Bay Area.
  • I have the opportunity to buy a 1999 740i sport in excellent condition for 33,900, the only catch is 65,000 miles. can't be CPO'd but they are giving me 1 year powertrain and roadside asst. with the deal. Curious about the residual value in couple years or should I pay more for one with less miles. I will put on only 10-12k miles a year on it. I just started looking at a BMW last month, love the 3 series but 2 small for my wife and 2 kids. 5 series better (love the 540i) in size but not quite large enough. Looked at E320, has a great ride but nothing compares to the ride of a BMW in terms of handling and steering. Just wanted to know if the 740i sounds like a good deal?
  • That sounds in the ballpark for a '99 with that many miles. With the warranty you should be protected. But I would most definitely have the car checked by a reliable mechanic. The 7-series have not been know for their reliability. Most of my work associates have leased them and turned them back in after 36 months. Most have required little if any work during that period and it has been minor things (cupholder coming loose, bulbs burning out). Does the '99 have the true Sport Package (steptronic trans., higher stall converter, rear end gearing, stiffer suspension) or did that start in '00.
  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    Here's an interesting article from Fortune titled

    "The controversial new 7 Series

    Do You Think This Car Is Ugly?

    If so, you aren't alone. It could mean bumps ahead for BMW, just as it's stepping on the gas."

    Here's the link:

  • Thanks for the link to the Fortune article. It's comments echo my own doubts about the new car, I've been thinking about getting a 740i for commuting work, and have been casually watching the press for comments on the 02 model.

    The business press has had some interesting stuff, in both the US and in Europe. I ran across some interesting observations from various quarters.

    It seems that the saga of the '02 Seven Series has the makings of yet another slow motion business train wreck that industry analysts, roundel enthusiasts, and competitors are watching with curious facination. You just know it going to happen, you hope it won't, but you just can't take your eyes away from the vision of market reality colliding noisily with badly-conceived product. BMWs mgmt was loudly critizied for the extraordinary way in which the Rover acquisition was mismanaged from the start by Munich and produced billions of dollars of losses and write-offs for BMW. The new 7 series seems to causing many of the same negative comments regarding the company's management skills to resurface at this time.

    The company's excellent effort at beginning to recover from the self-inflicted multi-billion dollar shareholder value meltdown caused by the Rover fiasco has the potential to be completely stymied by the possible damage that may be caused by the upcoming 7 series debacle. This is the big worry among minority shareholders who hung on to their shares throughout the Rover disaster in spite of horrific financial losses. Just as there seems to be a bit of light at the end of the tunnel, they are horrified to realize that the light is a new 7 series about to run over their shareholder value yet again.

    But then again, BMW is hardly alone among the car companies in terms of recent management blunders and shareholder value destruction.

    It's hard to predict whether the recent Rover and upcoming 7 series train wrecks at BMW will have a more detrimental effect upon the firm's financial condition than the former GM Chairman Smale / P&G 'brand manager' mess at GM over the last decade, Or the 'Shrimp' led disaster @ DCX with the failed Chrysler integration (50% + of shareholder value destroyed in two years !!), Or Colonel Klink's (aka 'Piech') madcap brand mismanagment soap opera ($85k VWs ?, Bugatti v. Lamborghini v. Bentley ? etc. etc.) that continues to this day at VW.

    Of all of these business disasters, only the recent appointment of Lutz @ GM suggests a serious recognition of problem & solution. VW, DCX, and BMW continue gliding down their odd self-destructive and anti-shareholder value paths. In contrast, GM seems to be making some very early but promising progress at repairing their problems.

    The crazy Quandt family antics sure don't help the situation and show no sighs of letting up (at least until the estate and capital gains tax law changes in Germany next year tempt various family members to consider putting value over ego and thus finally sell BMW out to a larger firm).

    The same sort of management misjudgements that resulted in GM inflicting the Pontiac Azteck on the public are clearly alive and well in Munchen with the new 7 series stupidity. What senior manager put his signature on the approval sheet for the i'drive, much less the 7 series styling? I gather from the business press that they are running for cover these days, saying "I didn't ok it, that guy did!"

    I've read comments from various writers who've driven the new 7 series, and their derisive comments regarding the Toyota Echo like styling and applications of metal trim pieces all over the interior (Bill Mitchell would be tickled; bring on the '58 Roadmaster!) are exceeded only by their condemnations of the 1950's style return of the shift lever from the console to the column and the use of the 'i-drive' system to convert HVAC and entertainment system control from being quick in intuitive into something that requires "30 minutes of training before you can start the damm thing" (to quote one reviewer).

    Since I'm considering buying a sedan having the footprint and interior volumn of the 740i, it's time to seek out a close-out special for a 2001 model on one of the local bmw center lots. Either that, or broaden my search to include other brands. The 500S and STS come to mind, for starters. In any event, I'll be sure that what I buy doesn't resemble a '58 roadmaster on the inside, nor a Toyota Echo on the outside, and does not have mechanically-acutated anti-roll bars nor a rotating mouse instead of a shift lever.
  • rjg96rjg96 Posts: 58
    I mostly agree w/ your assesment of the wounds that BMW is inflicting on itself and shareholders w/ the new 7's design. When the public and press criticize the styling and concepts that you're putting forth for 2 years-- maybe its time to think about changing directions. I remember when the Z9 was shown and everyone thought that was hideous (in retrospect it would be a godsend if the 7 were nearly as graceful), Chris Bangle (chief designer) said that they were testing the market's acceptance of their new design language. Well, for 2 years the market has not accepted -- yet they persist. Amazing.

    Just to set the record straight on 1 small point-- all of the primary controls on the new 7-- HVAC, major radio controls, windows, sunroof, etc, are controlled via convential knobs and switches. the iDrive really controls the "techno-weeny" features of the car that you really don't have to adjust or play with if you don't want to. I think people get carried away criticizing the iDrive in this respect-- reporters like to blow things out of proportion and say that in order to lower the temperature you have to navigate a series of menus. This is not true. iDrive works just like BMWs existing nav systems-- except there are more things to set and the knob is on the center armrest now. no big deal really. The interior styling, however, is in truly poor taste. I really don't know what they were thinking. I can almost forgive the exterior- but the interior is just plain horrible.

    It would also be interesting to note that people from a variety of demographics find the new design to be hideous. For example, I'm a 28 year old first time 3 series owner--and hate the new 7. My father is a 59 year old 740 owner and also hates it. I've talked to numerous other people who have seen pics of it and also hate it. I wrote BMW a letter saying that this will be my last BMW if this uglification campaign continues. But-- they'll probably get bought by GM before that happens.
  • rjg96rjg96 Posts: 58
    The issue w/ the first BMW v8s had to do w/ the fact that they had nikasil cylinder liners. Nikasil breaks down when too much high-sulphur fuel is combusted. THis wasn't a problem in europe due to much lower sulphur content in the fuel. Back in the mid-90s when these engines debuted- very few car makers had aluminum block engines--and those that did tended to use heavy iron cylinder liners. BMW was kind of pushing the envelope a bit and paid the price. in 96 they switched to using Alusil liners on the V8s and the problem was corrected. I think the US market 6 cylinder engines actually use iron liners. Liners are necessary in an aluminum block to prevent the cylinder bores from wearing out prematurely.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I think you've gone a little overboard about the new 7-Series. Upcoming disaster? I think it's a little early to absolutely know that will happen. BMW recovered fine from the Rover debacle. However I see BMW having a bigger problem than the new 7-Series. Can anyone say Rolls-Royce? They've got to build a new factory and have it up and running and finish development on their new Roller (RR01) all in the span of 13 months. I can't see BMW understanding truly what a Roller is about and VW has already made it clear they aren't going to help BMW not one tiny bit. Someone did say in pre-Roller-Rover days that BMW should just stick to what they know. I hope that statement doesn't play out to be so right that it ruins what was one of the tightest wrapped companies in the car biz.

  • w210w210 Posts: 188
    I have sat in the new 7-series and they actually look very nice. Rather bold and powerful.

    Personally, I like its shape more than the current Mercedes E-class, the BMW 3 & 5-series. The current 7-series look so dated next to the new 7.

    Don't just repeat everything from magazines critics, be your own judge.
  • I go back on forth on the appearance of the new body style. Overall the car looks okay but the rear is a real turn-off. Who wants to pay $70K+ for a japanese-styled rearend. I could see this styling on a Lexus or Infiniti but never would have imagined BMW to go this direction. Even dealerships in the SF Bay Area (the Land of Overpriced everything!) are taking deposits on the vehicles at MSRP. I think they know the new styling is questionable and may be a tough sell. Not sure if still possible, but local dealships were offering $10K+ off on the '01 740il. This could be the right time to get into a classic style BMW.
  • Re: rjg96:
    Thanks for the clarifying comments on the i-dirve rotating mouse. Not having had the chance to see the new 7 in person, i'm relying on the comments of others. I recall, however, that one commentator mentioned that the HVAC and entertainment system can be controlled through either the i-drive rotating mouse or thru traditional buttons on the dash. In any event, it will be interesting to see how the market (as opposed to auto mag writers) react to the car.

    Re: merc1
    Yes, you're correct, the prose got a little 'overboard', but I plead a long day and a late hour. Just as the Quandts and the other shareholders who hung on through the Rover mess are hoping for better times, I suspect that the potential financial damage caused by market non-acceptance of the new 7 series will be less severe than what happened during the Rover debacle. A similar error with the 3 series replacement would be another matter.

    You also made an exellent point about RR. It's tough to envision a car company that (in the view of some German magazines) has built its success around "..producing the 'same sausage, just in different lengths" moving so far upmarket.

    Shifting upmarket to the RR product level will require more than just a longer cut of the same sausage. It will have to be perceived as an entirely different cut of meat. BMW's success with the new mini bodes well, however. It's a delightful, if cramped and somewhat overpriced, car that captures the fun flavor of the original but in a modern iteration. If BMW could successfully jump down market to an iconic fwd fun product, perhaps they can jump upmarket to an equally iconic rwd luxo barge.

    I've not yet run across any comments in the press regarding this project, other than having seen photos (@ of disguised prototypes undergoing hot weather testing @ the Furnace Creek Ranch.

    BMW's execution of this new RR product line has all sorts of interesting ramifications. BMW is still selling the silly liner-less aluminum engines to VW for the current RR; it'll be intersting to see if they decide to upgrade the block with some proper steel liners and make other similar upgrades from the 7 series (such as dumping the inexpensive mcpherson strut front suspension and employing some modern interior and ip lighting arrangements). Those improvements will cost a couple of marks, but at the probable price target, the new RR would look a bit silly if it employed those cost-saving shortcuts.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Always interesting talking with you. I do believe that if the new 7 doesn't go over well the next 3-Series will be yanked back for a redo before the public ever sees it. I can't imagine them styling the 3 in the same manner if the 7 doesn't do well. Though I think the car will.

    As for Rolls Royce, BMW is going to have to let go of their sporting philosphy this time. The RR01 car is rumored to be so tall that a 6 foot man can't see over the top of it! Giving new meaning to a "big" car. BMW and VW are going to bitterly split these brands up Jan 1st, 2003. That's the reason why VW brought back Bentley's old V8. They know BMW isn't going to supply engines for them and the BMW V12 was no good in the Arnage anyway. Rolls-Royce is going to have a hell of a time with one brand new model to sell. As I understand it the entire like of current Royces are gone Jan 2003. The last Corniche last for over 10 years, the current one just two years! It should become a collectors item. I'm sure the RR01 car will be up to snuff.

    Mini is a hit. It's cheap and cute so it'll sell out all over the world, but in the long run I'm not sure how long that popularity will hold up. All cars of that vein, PT Crusier, Beetle, Thunderbird etc all loose steam after a while. BMW was smart to see it at existing BMW dealers instead of going the new franchise route.

    I guess, into every life some rain must fall. I guess the next 18 months will tell all for BMW.

  • lenscaplenscap Posts: 854
    You mention the styling of the next 3 will mimic the new 7. My understanding from articles I've read, and I could be mistaken, was that starting with the new 7 BMW wanted to visually separate their higher end cars from the lower end. I thought the next 3 would look little like the new 7. There would be no more "same car, three sizes" strategy.

    Please let us know if you know more about this.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    So, according you you, GM should be having good shareholder results, and bmw and VW ought to be having bad ones?

    Someone going on such a long pontification about busines practices ought to look up stock dividends.

    I know you're a die-hard "sneaky" GM booster, but you should try to come up with some realistic arguments.

    I do not car for the looks of the new 7 either, bit some of the engineering is mind-blowing. Wish they could drop the new valvetronic engine into my e36! :)

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well I've read what you're saying too. So I guess at this point all the info is conflicting. Some say the new 7 is the "direction" BMW is taking. Judging by spy shots in Autoweek of the upcoming 6-Series that would seem to be true. It has the same rear and front end treatments of the new 7, but I hope BMW isn't really going to mess up the 3 and 5 Series cars with this look. One controversial car in the lineup is enough. Guess we'll have to wait and see. The 2004 5-Series should answer this question.

  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    My hope is that the reaction to the 7-series styling will be so severe that they will can chris bangle. Honestly, i really don't like what he's doing to the cars.

  • tkntkn Posts: 3
    Really, everyone talks about the rear hump which is awful, no one comments on the Buick Rendezvous style eyebrow turning lights or the fact the car is almost as bloated as a Lexus LS430. I have nothing against solid looking German cars, I preferred the old Mercedes S-classes massiveness over the current ones generic swoopy coupe lines, but the new 7 is an abomination
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    The styling of the aztek/rendesvous has been beaten to death. But i expect GM to make ugly cars, not BMW.

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