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BMW 7-Series 2006 and earlier



  • Around the end of the year my lease will be up on my "98 740i, and I'm very interested in the 745. I also normally like to buy "certified pre-owneds, saving luxury tax and beaucoup bucks. Indeed, there are a couple of them out there. However, a good friend who bought one of the first 745's said I should get a new one because hopefully the "bugs will have been worked out". I.e., he said that he and others have had numerous small technical problems ( warning lamps, messages, etc.), which are a pain to deal with. No major problems, and he loves the car. Anyone have advice or thoughts on this? Do you think a one year old 745 will probably have had the little problems corrected, or is that probably why the guy got rid of it? Thanks.
  • $300.00 to install a cup holder!!

    That's the price i was given at my BMW dealer yesterday, Anyone know where I can get one cheaper??
  • My '97 740il CPO lease is coming to an end this month 9/02, should I buy it or give it up? Had the car for the last 3 years and loved it. But the car's fuel guage doesn't work accurately, due to dents on the under side of the fuel tanks (I've been told by the dealer). I don't recall hitting anything on the road but bottom line is that the fuel gauage doesn't work properly and the dealers only recommendation is to replace both fuel tanks (costing over $3000+), even though they are not sure if that is what is causing the problem. Other than that the car is fine.
    Taking this mechanical problem into account should I keep the car or return it at lease end and perhaps get another CPO car, which will cost me more per month. I'm trying to avoid another big car payment for a while. Any recommendations?
  • I have the opportunity to purchase a '99 740i with 49k miles for $29,000.00. The numbers look good to me but two questions:

    1) How much will I get killed on maitnenance?
    2) Is an extended warranty available and/or advisable?
    3) What will the useful life be?

    I have never owned a luxury car before (I have always been a camry guy, but I have always loved the big beemer and the price seems right. I just don't want to spend the rest of my life getting a car fixed. Please advise as to personal experience.
  • I'm at end of lease on my 98 740i, which has been fabulous. Am debating getting a new 745 vs. keeping the 740. The problems with the 2002 745, as evidenced on this board, have given me big pause about the new model -- I don't mind the rear deck styling or the i-drive, but the mechanical and in-the-shop stories are horrid. My questions:

    1. What's the experience with 740s (97-99)on maintenance and hassles in the 50k-100k mile range? Mine has 47k, and I'm worried it will start showing problems now that warranty is off.

    2. Any reason to think the 2003 model 745s will solve the problems with the 2002?

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,325
    I've got a few suggestions, and I'm not sure if they make your dilemma any better or any worse:)

    Traditionally the second year of a new model for BMW is stronger as compared to the first year. Take a look at the reliability ratings of a 1998 E39 5 series as compared to the 1997 models. I would think that the new 7 will follow suit. BMW knows there are bugs and glitches and they're the kind of company that will deal with those kinds of things (unlike GM, but that is for a different thread).

    If you really like your current '98 740i, then you can keep it and not really have to worry too much about the costs of upkeep and maintenance. Since the body changed, the residual of your car has probably dropped considerably, so buy it out at a cheaper price and have your BMW dealer Certify the car with a CPO warranty. The CPO warranty from BMW will cost you a little more (but think of how much more car you're getting for your dollar because of depreciation), but every time you visit the BMW dealer it will only cost you $50. There's a poster named reiz over on the 5 series board who has extensive knowledge of the BMW Certification process. Maybe you should post your question over there for REIZ.

    Hope I helped a little bit:)

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

  • czmaczma Posts: 3
    Hi All:
    I just came back from vacation and found out my battery is dead... So that I have to buy a new one and replace it. I called the dealer, and they told me that it will cost $203 just for the battery, and $270 including part and labor.

    According to the spec, I need to have a battery with 950CCA. And I couldn't find any of them at our local auto shops. But I found 1 with 925CCA and 1100CA. Will a 925CCA good enought to power up a 740? Is any other place that I can find a battery for 740? Does any shop have special order?

    Dealer told me that if the car lost battery, once the new one is installed. Radio is NOT going to work, and I have to spend $30 to get the secure code. Is this true?

    Please help, since I really don't want to spend $220 for a battery..

  • My 740I is about to go out of warranty and I was wondering who has the best aftermarket warranty. Car was not bought from a dealer, so it is not eligible for a CPO extension. The dealer said they could give me a good policy from Fireman's ins. for $4200, for 50k miles or 4 years. $1000 per year is a rip unless you drop a trans or do something really major to the engine. Any recommendations?

    Also, is service #2 a in warranty or post warranty service?
  • My limited knowledge of cold cranking comes from the farm. When I replaced the tractor batteries, they would be in relay. Some of the batteries were huge, probably a hundred pounds or more. One day I asked the mechanic who would srvice the tractors to describe cold cranking. He said that when the temp. was at a certain degeee, say freezing, the battery would provide a certain amount of time cranking a starter that drew so many amps. These engines were large and the starter were also large. The mechanic showed me how a battery with a capacity of 1000 could all by itself start the engine. I purchased one battery to take the place of two, and it was satisfactory for a while. I do not think the one was as capable as two in tandum. I think a good battery of 900, or even less cold cranking would be fine for a car. I also think every four years no matter what it would be smart to get a new battery even if you don`t think you need one. Also you may leave a switch on or something and it would drain any battery in just a few hours(like overnite) so just be prepared. I hope this helps. Tony
  • gearmangearman Posts: 30
    NYCCARGUY's suggestions were right on target. All car companies have challenges producing trouble free new designs, particularly one incorporating as many complex technologies as the new 7 series. BMW's track record is not the best in this area. Once the wrinkles are ironed out, then it's a different story.

    In contrast to NYCCARGUY's observations on BMW factory support for troublesome new designs, one of my colleague's litany of problems with a 750iL literally produced a textbook of poor customer relationship management correspondence. Needless to say, that fellow is delighted with his non-BMW replacement. Although all of the firms have their challenges and missteps with new product introductions; BMW is not at the top of the satisfaction index in this area. Toyota does a better job with their Lexus branded products, but would you want to actually want to have one? Ugghh...

    Back to the topic, the previous 7 series is a pending minor classic; like nyccarguy's suggestion, I'd vote for you to enjoy it for a couple more years until the dust and bugs settle away from the new 7 series. Then do a comparison with the competitors at that time.
  • ghomazghomaz Posts: 68
    Hello all. I have decided to go in for a Certified Pre-Owned BMW. My budget is $30K. I now have to decide which "series" to buy. Personally, I like the 5 series but is there a significant difference in maintenance and ownership costs between the 3, 5 and 7 series? This is going to be a second car so interior space, trunk volume, etc. are not decision factors. Thanks for your help
  • gearmangearman Posts: 30
    The 5 series is a nice compromise between vehicle size and cost, Since the 5 series or 3 series small dimensions are not factor in your decision, then, other factors being equal, you are likely to find a lower mileage / better conditioned three series than the more expensive when new 5 or 7 series cars. If you're going with an automatic, you'll also get the benefit of having the GM produced box in the 3 and 5 series, rather than having to deal with the ZF box (subject of NHTSA recalls and premature failures; see various posts on that topic, here and elsewhere). Another reliablity advantage of the 3 and 5 series is that you'll be able to enjoy the subline smoothness of the renowned BMW inline 6 cylinder engines (iron block or sleeve depending on the year) and avoid the higher-mileage maintainence & wear issues that have plagued many owners of the V-8 and V-12 aluminum block engined cars.

    As you can probably tell, I'd recommend the 5 series. It's a great car.
  • blumrlnblumrln Posts: 11
    Gearman, Where can I find more info on the ZF box
    I currently own a 1997 740i with 60k and am experincing trans trouble.
  • ghomazghomaz Posts: 68
    Thanks for your advice gearman.
  • blumrlnblumrln Posts: 11
    Anyway, Gearman can you supply me with more ZF trans info.
    bimmer roadfly is just another bs chat room
  • force98force98 Posts: 81
    You have obviously never participated there. I have owned an E38 for over 4 years and have had better luck at times getting technical questions answered there than from my dealership technicians. They also have a certified ZF technician on the board who answers trans related questions. He even provides his phone number so you can call him for assistance. Here's a sample:
  • harry0harry0 Posts: 42
    I have a 6 yr,100,000 warranity on my 98 740il.(currently 30,600 miles on my car).
    I just had a service 2 done on 10/8/02...Not under warranity. Here is what mine cost.
    5.9 hours labor at 80. per....472.00
    Parts ........................370.00
    8 sparkplugs @15.62 ea........124.96
    1 air filter insert...........22.16
    1 Filter element..............12.30
    1 Fuel Filter.................25.20
    2 Filter @63.18...............126.36
    1 Seal Ring...................0.14
    1 Lt Diff Oil.................18.07
    8 Oil 5w30 Synthetic@4.71.....37.68
    2 Clamps@0.88.................1.76
    1 washer solvent..............1.66
    I also had coolant flush done..80.00 labor-16.47 antifreeze..96.47
    I had brake flush done also 0.60 hrs...48.00 labor-3.84 brake fluid-4.08 cleaner. 55.92 total
    Haz waste fee 6.50
    Also had rear window lifter replaced..1.5 hrs labor..N/C warranty
    I hope this gives you a good idea what to expect.
  • bobl6bobl6 Posts: 2
    #693--For cup holders, you might like to try "" Include the hyphen.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    For those who may not have noticed, the Edmunds editors are conducting a long term road test on the 2002 745Li.

    You'll find a link to the series in the "Helpful Links" box on the left side of the page. There is a link within that article to the most recent update.

  • I am new to the site so please direct me to the proper forum if this is not the place to post these remarks.

    I purchased the New 745 Li in June.

    I had leased a 740 iL and drove it for the three year lease period. I loved the car. I did not have a single maintinence or repair issue in the 50K miles I drove the car.

    The 745 Li is a wonderful driving car and I believe it is actually superior to the 740 in handling, braking and power. However, the dealer has had the car in it's shop for almost a month (total elapsed time) since I received the car in June. I have never had these problems before with any of the 7 series car I have driven and I am curious if anyone else has experienced any of these problems:

    The Computer freezes at times and requires several re-starts of the engine to unfreeze. BMW has re-programmed the car twice.

    The radio goes off and on at random times.

    The motor occasionally idles rough at start up.

    The rear sun screens do not always work.

    The head restraint on both front seats go all the way to the top of their settings automatically if you move the seat fore or aft. BMW claims this is normal. this never was a "normal" feature on any other BMW I have driven.

    The cruise control does not function as the manual describes. Many of the adjustment features do not work.

    The back of the gear shift enclosure fell off and had to be replaced.

    There is a vibration in the steering wheel that is noticeable but BMW does not have a fix for at the present time.

    Many of the features on the Cell Phone Computer display are not working and some of the call lists etc..are frozen and can not be changed or deleted.

    Anyone else have these problems???

    Steve Ludwig
    St Simon's Island, Ga.
  • sysadbsysadb Posts: 83
    Steve, I haven't bought one yet (and won't for at least another year). The service mgr. at my dealership admitted that they have been plagued by software problems. Other than the apparent defects with the gearshift and the steering vibration, the problems you describe are likely directly related to that issue. The headrest explanation is plausible - there are sensors that adjust them during crashes, so the positional movement may trigger that.

    I think this car is vastly superior to the competion in many ways, but I won't touch one until they sort out the computer software issues. The 745, unfortunately, is a sober reminder of how first-year models can test your patience, especially a model like this that is so radically re-designed (especially the technology aspects).

  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
    A top U.S. daily needs drivers of the BMW series 7 to share their experiences and be named in the story. If you are an avid Series 7 driver and would love to talk about your car, please email me at Deadline is by Monday October 28 at 5:00p.m. EST


    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Share your vehicle reviews

  • Just wanted to share my experience with my June build 2002 745Li purchased one month ago. I have had zero problems with the car. No software bugs whatsoever. Drives beautifully, leaves one with a tremendous sense of control and confidence. The most comfortable car I've ever owned. Overall, a delight!
  • sltools,
    feel lucky. in addition to all the minor things you mentioned my 02 745i has had the engine replaced (yes the entire engine) and now a horrible sound is coming from the steering column during some turns. this latest problem the dealer has reproduced and does not know what to do.

    i live in a small town with only one other 02 745i and his engine completely quit working and had to be replaced as well.

    i can understand a few defects with a new model gets introduced, but this is ridiculous for 70K. we got at lexus gs 400 its first year of production and 0 problems. i got a honda s2000 its first year of production and 0 problems. i got the new bmw 01 M3 convert. and it had many problems. i now have a 03 M3 coupe and all the problems have been solved except for horrible radio reception (the 745i radio reception sucks too).
  • jimdojimdo Posts: 2
    I have 37,000 miles on my 2000 740iL and had to replace a cracked radiator. Does anyone have any experience with this problem on this car?
  • sosaksosak Posts: 5
    I have 98,500 on my 7 series and my engine light has come on and BMW has told me that I need "2" new catalytic convertor on my car. I problem is that each one cost $840 ($1680 for two) plus a few parts needed which totals $2,071.00 for this repair. I recently bought this vehical a few months back with no problems for $16,800 and have not put any large amount of money into it. Catalytic Convertor warranty is 8 yrs/80,000.

    Does anyone have any idea if this is reasonable and if I should look into selling this car? If I add this repair my actual cost of the car would be 18,871.

    Can I go somewhere else and possible get a lower cost?

    I just can't see myself putting this amount of money into this vehical and something else major happening to it like Transmisson, etc.

    Any ideas? Is it worth it? Are there more problem to come about with a '97 740 iL?

    Thank you!
  • I pick up my new 745Li tomorrow morning. Like several of you, I order a 745Li last year. I didn't like the look, and I let the negative press drive me away. I didn't take delivery when it arrived. My dealer sold it, and I got my deposit back. I had a 95 740iL that was having it's own set of problems, so I bought an LS430. While it is a very nice car, it is boring. So, after driving the new S500, which is also nice, but is too similar to the LS430 (which I realize is actually the other way around), I retreated to the BMW dealer to pick another 745Li out of the incoming delivery. I pray that I am as lucky as jhegarty. The new 7 doesn't appeal to everyone, and I certainly would have made a few changes to the look. But, it has to be one of the most fun cars I have ever driven.
  • Cracked radiators is a known and recurring problem with the E38. The neck is made of plastic, which cracks. I've heard some say BMW will blame the owner and technicians, saying they lean on the neck and cause the problem. I take it yours was repaired under warranty, since the car has only 37K miles on it?

    As far as catalytic converters, contact John@bekkers (

    You can also find them at for less than $400 each.

  • jimdojimdo Posts: 2

    Thanks for the info, you are right on the mark. The neck cracked, and yes, it was repaired under warranty.
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