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BMW 7-Series 2006 and earlier

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  • I have an older model 735si (86).
    I bought it used otherwise I would never had been able to afford it. It has been the most reliable, sturdy and all around the best car I have ever owned. I feel safe when I'm in it, it rides beautifully, and even in the worst storm it handles extremely well. Unfortunately,with almost 400,000 miles on it,it's time to start looking for something a little newer. I have been looking for something comparable, but have yet to find it.
    From the reviews of the later models, maybe I just got lucky.
  • jjsolljjsoll Posts: 1
    I need some objective advice (to the extent any advice is objective)on buying a '99 740i. I have a dealer contact who has agreed to pick one up for me at a dealers' auction for $200 above what he pays. I'm fairly certain I can get one with about 40,000 miles for $30-33k. I'm also considering a Lexus GS 400, which I know is an apples to oranges comparison. I have researched and am aware of the obvious differences. However, I have read some nightmare reliability stories of BMW owners and their experiences with long repair times, repetitive and costly repairs and multiple failures of electrical, AC, etc. I'm sure some of these are due to untrained or under-trained dealer mechanics and some by owners who don't stay on top of their cars. But I'm trying to find out if there are enough legitimate problems with BMW and their engineering to either stick with the 530 (straight 6 vs. V8) or compromise what I want and get the Lexus, which is fast and luxurious, just smaller and not much road feel IMO. I also read (I think it was gearman?) that BMW still uses aluminum blocks and lined their cylinders with silicone rather than steel, which others gave up long ago, and which leads to problems with a high mileage V block (I'm not sure if I have this quite right). I once owned a SAAB 9000 Turbo, but after window motor, AC, radio and warning light, engine mount and other expensive and elusive problems, I went back to Japanese reliability. Since I'm thinking of taking the plunge again, I was hoping someone could tell me if (i) the V block cylinder linings and reliability issues are a cause to change my mind and (ii) since it appears that I will save a few thousand over a dealer by getting one at an auction , if an extended BMW warranty is a reasonable purchase, expecially in light of the reliability (and whether the BMW extended warranties are the same as the original or do they contain rich exclusions). Thanks very much!!
  • roddmod11roddmod11 Posts: 55
    $74,000 Could not wait to get back in my LS400.

    Whats up with that shifter? and the Large Key that you sticks in the slot to start it, rides and handles just like a Cadillac CTS very firm, but the Cadillac CTS Idled smoother, Don't believe me try a CTS you will think it handles and rides the same. More power from the 745, but not that much more, for 43K less money. Not that I like the CTS but I could not believe how they handled the same, it was like a direct copy.
  • v12powerv12power Posts: 174
    Aluminum engine blocks that use coatings are still very common, they are the standard of the industry. BMW had trouble with the V8 engines from '93-'95, those are to be avoided. The '99 will be just fine. I had a '95 740iL and have a '98 750iL. These cars do require more service than the average. By the same token they drive much better than anything that size has a right to. Definately buy and extended warranty. If your connection is a BMW dealer connection get the BMW CPO warranty. I have had it on both of mine. I would not own one of these without the warranty. But that is not to say they are un-reliable, just more maint. intensive.
  • jonionejonione Posts: 1
    Does anyone have any words of wisdom concerning my anticipated purchase of a 1991 BMW 750 IL with 142,000 miles. It seems to be tight. Looks fine! Comes with 2 sets of tires/rims. Are there any horror stories I should know about?
  • v12powerv12power Posts: 174
    I almost bought a '91 with 60k miles on it off ebay. Driving the car revealed some serious flaws. The transmission shifted abruptly, do not mistake this for a firm performance shift. If it shifts hard the VERY expensive trans is going out, this is common. The other major expense was an electronic part for the ASC, the parts alone were ~$2000. I passed on this car even though it was very clean. I would just make sure everything works as it should. I also hope you are not paying over about $5k for it with those miles. You should plan on spending another $5k to keep it up over the next year or two. Wonderful cars, just as expensive to maintain as they were to buy when new, be careful.
  • dave203dave203 Posts: 13
    I am picking up a '99 740i Sport and what I am hearing on here makes me nervous. Let me say that I also own a 95 Lexus LS400 which has been 100% reliable and trouble free. I know BMW had problems with the older 4.0 V8, but the new ones should be fine. I want to hear from 740 owners with the 4.4L V8..how has the reliability been and how is service ? So far I have heard a 7-series complete tuneup runs $700...it costed $1400 for me Lexus...but I want to hear from 740 Owners.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    It's amazing to me how much cheaper Lexuses are supposed to be to maintain, but yet I keep reading about these high prices for this and that.....

    M
  • v12powerv12power Posts: 174
    Lexus is one of the MOST expensive marques to maintain. When you factor in that Audi, MB, and BMW all offer paid service for at least the first three years, the gap widens.

    I think one difference is that the Lexus does not need much if any repair between services. I am on my second 7 series BMW. I know my BMW service writers cell phone number by heart. I am also quite familiar with the 325i wagon he gives me as a loaner. It is actually in my driveway right now. These cars are quite solid from a drivetrain standpoint. It is mainly electronics that cause problems. My 750 is in right now for failed parktronic sensors. Other issues have been with the ABS and Trac control systems.

    The 740i Sport is an awesome car, and by far the best looking of the competition. They drive wonderfully. I bought a new S600, but decided to keep the '98 750 because I really like the car(and despise the new 745). I would take a bath in depreciation so there was no incentive to trade or sell it, not until I run out of room anyway.

    You will not regret buying a 740iS. It is a very different flavor than the LS400. They are a little more work, but a lot more rewarding. I continue to buy German cars for the driving experience. I find the trade off to be worth it.
  • bobbyknightbobbyknight Posts: 121
    Take a look at the back of a Chrysler Cirrus, then look at the back of the 745i. Is that a direct copy or a coincidence?
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Lexus cars need very little repair work - I've never needed a repair in 7 years of driving - and maintenance costs are quite reasonable. The first two appointments are free and then you pay. I'd say - if you use common sense - three years of service will cost about $900 all in - not per year. If you follow Lexus recommendations to the letter than maybe its $1200.
  • v12powerv12power Posts: 174
    To me it looks to be a MAJOR mistake by BMW. Worse yet, the new 5 series reportedly follows with similar styling cues. How is an ugly new 5 going to compete with MBs new E500?

    They lost my business. I defected to MB for a big sedan, I am extremely pleased with this decision. The new 745 is also plagued with problems, mostly software issues relating to the "Windows" based OS. I hope they figure it out soon, in the past I always loved thier cars.
  • jstylejstyle Posts: 129
    This is the design study for the GST mercedes (going into production). One thing we can take from this is the direction of future MB models. I am thinking the totally redesigned S-class model year 2006. I think the BMW for all it's bad reviews will be looked on as the first for a future in autos that looks more along the 745i.


    http://mbspy.bacosys.be/visiongst.htm

  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well that's not what I'm reading here and other places, they're cars like any other. I'm seeing folks complaining about service cost, etc.....they're not perfect, just because you haven't had any repairs doesn't mean the car didn't NEED any. Not to say you personally would neglect a car, but I've seen cases where people say just that, but once you ride in their car it's clear that their is in need of some attention. If Mercedes, and Audi are paying for scheduled maint for the first 4 years/60K miles etc, then I'm that much farther away from ever buying a Lexus. A car that is more fun with paid for maint, sounds better to my me, than a duller one that I have to pay to maintain during the warranty period. And if I recall right, Lexus requires service much more often that Mercedes does during the first few years, the FSS system in Mercedes sees to that.
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but what is the recommended service interval for a Lexus.

    M
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Mercedes would ever make such a controversial car like BMW did with the 7-Series, there will be no BMW influence on Mercedes design. The only Mercedes that may not fit the MB profile is the upcoming SLR, with it's F1 inspired nose, but there will be no hunch-backed Mercedes-Benzes. Mercedes already did the tall, tank, dreadnought look before, that BMW and Lexus are now fascinated with...Mercedes has moved on.

    M
  • laithy_74laithy_74 Posts: 35
    Lexus LS430:------ 2,548 down 13%
    Mercedes S-Class: 1,952 down 25%
    BMW 7-Series:----- 1,683 up 99%
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Don't know anyone who has ever experienced high service costs on a Lexus and I personally know people who collectively own or lease 14 Lexus cars - mainly LS,LX and GS models. People are amazed at how reliable the cars are and several of them are ex-MB and BMW buyers who aren't going back. What you are reading is the exception to the rule not the norm. By the way I've only read one or two such posts. Your free service on the MB etc will be more than eaten up by insurance costs. It would have cost me $400 more per year to insure an S than an LS430. Lexus still cheaper even though you pay for service costs. The service intervals if I remember are 7.500 miles per. They cost roughly $50-75 at the 7,500 mile post and about $325 at the 15k mile post. I usually go 10k miles in between services. It doesn't cost much to maintain this car my friend and repairs are rare.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,325
    I know that $400 is $400, but does it really matter when you're talking about such a high end ($60,000+) automobile? I'm not doubting Lexus' reliability, but come on:)

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Infiniti G37x Q40 AWD

  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    Not when you are talking about an annual cost. But that premise would also hold true to the free service appointments.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,325

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Infiniti G37x Q40 AWD

  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    I don't for a second doubt your unit stats but a 99% improvement would mean BMW only sold 17 7-series cars last March. Is that possible? I'm also surprised at the low sales figure for the 745. Maybe production is not in full swing yet or maybe they have no chance of selling 20k units.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well that basically is what I've been trying to say about certain MB experiences on this board as far as reliability is concerned, a mesg board with a few folks (compared to all the Benzes sold) can't be taken as gospel about MB reliability or lack thereof. I too know people with Lexus, on a 1996 SC300 that is very expensive when anything goes wrong, plus don't you lease your cars? If so then you aren't keeping them long enough for the miles to pile up. Lexuses cost just as much or more to maintain after the honeymoon is over. For the difference between MB and Lexus when it comes to upkeep I'd rather have the more stylish, fun to drive car. None of these cars are cheap to maintain. They way I see it Lexus isn't really that much of a bargain as their made out to be. I too would have to say who cares about insurance when you're talking about a 60K+ automobile. You have to pay to play. I keep getting the feeling that a lot of Lexus owners are trying to get something for nothing. Not you of course.

    laithy74,

    Where are you getting these sales figures from?

    M
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    I do lease but I know first hand the outcomes of my 95 and 98 cars. The 95 is still running with nearly 200k miles on it. A friend of mine bought it at my lease buy-out price. By the way this was my only bad experience with Lexus as they wanted the car back and I made some serious threats (like I'd never buy a Lexus again) if they'd not let him have it. Anyway I finally saw him last weekend after being out of touch for over a year and the car is still running beautifully on maintenance only. It has mainly highway miles as he is in sales. The other car became a Lexus certified vehicle, and fetched about $5k over my buyout. The guy who bought it just purchased an 02 LS430 for his wife and is holding the 98 for himself. I know this through my sales guy.

    The long and the short of it though is any car can get costly when you tack on the miles and if the owner doesn't take proper care of it. I think you have a much better chance at great reliability at Lexus than at MB or BMW these days. There are far too many broad based consumer studies, including studies in Europe that point to a material downturn in MB reliability. MB seems to be trying to address the iissue. The 7-series was always a problamatic car. I know poeple who love the car but will never go near it again because it was so unreliable. If I were buying MB now I wouldn't expect it to be unreliable. But I also wouldn't have the level of confidence in it as I would in a Lexus. Ten years ago you would never question or doubt MB reliability. I don't know what caused the downturn. Maybe it was the step-up in production, maybe the pricing pressure brought on by Lexus or maybe both. I don't have too much doubt they will reverse the problem in the next few years but it will cost them some profitability to do it.
  • dave203dave203 Posts: 13
    I have now had the 99 740i Sport for 2 days and I am in love with the car (also own a LS400). The 740 handles like its on rails and its an actual Sport with the M-Package Suspension, M-Package seats, performance differential and semi-auto tranny and dsp sound, nav. etc. The engine is very smooth, hums like a turbine, and is vibration-free, lots of torque. On the road the car seems to anticipate driver moves and carves corners with no body roll at all. I am amazed with how this 4200 Lb car handles & performs. The driving experience is totally different compared to the LS400 and is unequalled. So far, no glitches or problems have been found on this 740i. It feels rock solid at all speeds, built like a vault. The more you push it on the highway, the faster it wants to go. I hope this car is reasonably reliable otherwise I would be really bummed out. I'd hate to give it up.
    Dave
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Well I can live with that. There are a number of things that I think contributed to MB's downturn in reliability. Number one is the obvious amount of electronics that MB uses today. MB was one of the last carmakers to switch to fully electronic fuel injection because of the questions over electronic reliability. Up until 1990 MB cars didn't use much in the way of electronics, the 1990 SL was the first MB with so many advanced electronic systems. A car like the current S, CL and new SL have more electronics than ever, which I see being the main thing that MB owners complain about. I don't see MB's having engine and transmission problems as much as other makes like Audi and BMW. For the most part these are minor things going wrong, very seldom stranding an owner on the side of the road. Secondly, Mercedes has had to cut down on the grade of materials used in their cars. MB cars are not a structurally robust as they used to be. The previous S-Class (W140) and SL (R129) were the last of the overbuilt MB cars, from a structural/material standpoint. Now the new SL may be a another story, from what I've seen it's as solid as the old car, but still doesn't match the old cars interior lavishness. Which is kinda hard to do considering that the previous SL was Mercedes' BEST car as far as cabin materials go. Lastly I think the new found volume is another problem. A million MB's is enough to me. They're going for a 1.5 million by 2005. A mistake in my opinion.

    M
  • laithy_74laithy_74 Posts: 35
    BMW sold 860 units in March '01. Sales have doubled. Numbers are from AOL business news
  • ljflxljflx Posts: 4,690
    I misread your earlier post as 99x improvement rather than a doubling of sales.

    I also saw some of your E-class banter on that board. The E has already been price affected by Lexus. I think Merc1 is right that the price will stay flat but given the step-up in car standards that is akin to a reduction and given the fact that the Euro/dmark is down 25% in the last 2 years it is actually a serious drop in price for MB already. Their cars are priced in local currency, not dollars, so they are getting less local currency as the dollar strengthens. Lexus is benefitting the other way because the Yen has weakened and Lexus models are priced in dollars. Thus the currency translation is actually yielding a hefty price increase for Lexus.

    Now there are stories that Lexus may cut the price of the GS4 by up to $5k mainly because of this currency gain. That will cause some problems for the Germans in and of itself. If they make it a 192" baby but sportier LS that will be an even bigger problem. Plus the more I look at the back of that E the more it looks like a Camry though overall it looks like a nice design.

    By the way the new 5-series looks terrible. BMW is either way ahead of all of us in design or has lost its' marbles. I'd wait to see how that 7 sells before committing the design to the smaller cars but they aren't and those 7 sales figures you posted aren't all that hot.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I doubt if a 5K decrease in price will cause any worries for the new E-Class. The E is just too popular and will be brand new. A new Benz is a hit no matter what it costs, at least initially. The GS430 for some reason just doesn't sell, maybe because of the LS430, not sure.

    M
  • dave203dave203 Posts: 13
    Man, I come here to talk about the 7-series, specifically 740i Sport ownership experiences & no one is saying anything relevant. There is more talk here about Mercedes than BMW...Okay Mercedes makes some good cars and I did test drive the E430 & CLK430 - no way would I trade it for my 740 Sport w/ M-Package - the driving experience & styling do not compare.
  • v12powerv12power Posts: 174
    I tried! I personally think you purchased one of BMWs most underrated models. The look of the E38 BMW, is without question one of the best on the road. The new 745 is a pig by comparison. I have a '98 750iL with the sport package. It is not as comprehensive as the 740iS package, but I do have the awesome 18"M-parallel wheels just like yours. The car is soooo agressive looking with the 18s. My car is black with sand interior and I have tinted the windows a little.My MB salesman saw the car and commented "if you just went on looks they would sell tons of those" Of course he is biased though.

    Performance is right up there too. We probably have very similar performance numbers. My car has more power, but more wieght too, yours gets the lower final drive. Last night I couldn't resist. There was a kid in a Mustang GT, chrome wheels, racing stripes, loud pipes. I dusted him in my big four door, I don't think he could believe his eyes! Of course, if he would have been better at shifting......

    The car does require more than average maint. Find a good dealer. Mine offers BMW loaners. I also get a chance to check out the cars on the lot when I am in for service.It isn't so bad. It is my second 7, the first being a '95 740iL. They must be worth it, I did it twice!
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