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BMW 7-Series 2006 and earlier



  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The new 7 is supposed to have (gulp!) automatic lane-correction as an option, among other off-the chart things. I expect Mercedes to come up with an answer around about 2004, both of these cars will need their own factory rep to help you drive them.

  • Are there any sites out there that have decent photos of the 2002 model?
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Not yet. All the ones I've seen don't really do the car justice, I like to wait until the company in question releases their first photos. I would say look for the new 7 at the Geneva show next March.

  • As you may have gathered from tracing this thread back over the last year, BMWs are revered for their wonderful highway road behavior, nicely finished interiors, consistently clean interior and exterior styling (thanks to IDEA SpA.of Italy), and an enthusiastic owner group. On the downside, the comparatively tiny size of BMW means that the company has insufficient economies of scale to afford the extraordinary costs of designing the manufacturing systems and construction methodology that permit low labor hours per unit, minimize post-production hand repair of manufacturing glitches, and low maintainence costs.

    As a result, as noted by many contributors to this thread, as well as to the 5 series thread, is that higher mileage / older Bimmers tend to require regular mechanical attention, some of it rather expensive. This characteristic is also evidenced by large amount of depreciation expense owners of new Bimmers incur; the escalating maintainence expenses associated with higher-mileage vehicles is the economic cause of the high depreciation cost. (note that once you sweep aside the marketing smoke of "depreciation rate" v. the actual dollar amount of the depreciation, the 7 and 5 series BMW suffer from rather high depreciation expense.)

    In assessing the particular car that you are considering, your first action should be to find an experienced mechanic who specializes in BMWs and understands their specific maintainence requirements and deterioration characteritics. Investing a couple of hundred dollars for a through mechanical evaluation is cheap insurance. With a knowledgeable mechanic's advice, you should be able to determine if your candidate car offers both a good value and a reasonable mechanical life expectancy or if its just another candidate for the BMW Lemon web site.

    You should avoid any Bimmer with the ZF automatics (the V-engined 5 & 7 series). Those cars are still subject to recall and continued mechanical adventures.

    The manual transmission cars and the GM autotrans cars have reliable transmissions. Also, the manufacturing short cut that BMW took with many of its aluminum alloy blocks of deleting the pressed-in steel cylinder liners produced significant manufacturing cost reductions at the expense of manifold long-term maintainence issues. The sixes have always been BMW's forte. They are delightfully smooth powerplants that offer reasonable mechanical reliability.

    The brake systems are another area of manufacturing expediency. The brakes perform very well, but they are subject to unusually high maintainence frequencies.

    Be sure to check for signs of trailer towing, such as signs of trailer hitch receiver removal, wiring system modification,etc.). Unlike in Europe with its short distances and moderate climate, BMW has typically required warranty voidance if trailers are towed in North America. While the warranty issue is not relevant to you, the beyond-design-intent wear imposed upon BMWs used to tow trailers would exacerbate the car's deterioration (as per BMW-NA; speak to their consumer affairs dept if you need more info on that topic). BMWs are not Suburbans or Crown Victorias; they don't have the mechanical integrity for towing and are not intended to be mechanically stressed in that fashion.

    Good luck with your search. If you're successful, you'll be delighted with a terrific car.
  • I'm interested in getting a 98 740iL. I think this was last redesign before the 2001. Does this come with HID lights as standard? Also, I've seen some with an aluminum plate in the back over the trunk lid opening and I've seen some without. Does a 98 come with this or is it a dealer installed option?

    Thanks in advance,
  • I have a 98 740i. The 99 model was the year that the minor update was done to the front turn signal lights and scalloped headlamps. Also, the rear tail lamps were changed to bright optical look. I don't think the navigation and xenons were made standard until the 2000 model. Both were available as an option on the 98.

    The rear chrome strip above the license plate area was standard as of 2000 model year, though not on the Sport. The part is only about $35.00 and you can apply it yourself very easily. I prefer the clean look. It looks better on the EUro models because the chrome is the length of the license plate area. The US version, has a smaller (not as wide) openeing and the chrome strip looks kinda dorky hanging off to either side I think.
  • I guess it's the 99 I want then. I don't like the older lights. I was going to trade in my 97 Inf. I30T for a 98 740iL... But the 99/2k are too much right now.

    Thanks for your input.
  • One bonus to the 99 is it is fairly simple to switch out the front corner lights to clear and the rear tail lamps to the red/white clear optical as on the 2001. Add the chrome strip and your car will look exactly like a 2001.
  • This is what your Christmas list will look like this year. Don't say anything, just listen.

    1)Mercedes S600 Sport
    2)Mercedes S55
    3)Mercedes S500 Sport
    4)Mercedes S430 Sport
    5)BMW M7 (If they made it)

    Why are the 740i Sport, and the 740il, faster than the 750il? Anyway get your order in now. For further information, go to

  • I have never owned a BMW before, but currently considering a 95 740i that has had the 4.0L replaced by the 4.4L engine. The car is in excellent condition. Are there any issues with this model that I need to be aware of? Is it expensive to maintian? Please advise.

  • Dear First, I am on my 6th BMW and it is a 95 740iL. I bought it new. While I only have 45,000 miles on my car, it is probably the best car I have ever owned. Now mind you, the 40,000 or so mile check ups are not cheap, but I only change the oil every 5,000 miles at $55 at the dealer. My only complaint is that my car suffers from disappointing torque at low speeds. I understand this was corrected with the 4.4L engine, so you should not have that complaint. I would have an independent garage (or your dealer) check out the engine before you buy. Just because it looks great, doesn't necessarily mean that it's mechanically fit. You will find this to be the most comfortable car you have ever owned. The drawback - you can never downgrade!
  • is4b2rdis4b2rd Posts: 66
    Hi, how much is the 40k checkup? My 98 is scheduled to go in in a couple weeks for the Inspection checkup. I now have 41k on the car.
  • bwhbwh Posts: 76
    Since when is the 740 faster than the 750? We just upgraded from a '95 740iL to a '98 750iL, there is NO comparison, the power of the V12 is omnipresent. Anyway I have the closest thing to an M7, the 750iL with the 18" M sport wheels.
    Are you sure they replaced the engine with a 4.4? Just because the short block was replaced does not mean it is the 4.4. When BMW does this under warranty the cars get new 4.0L blocks. Have the front lower control arms inspected, when the ball joints wear out the whole aluminum arm must be replaced. Make sure all of the gadgets work, spend a good half hour in a parking lot with the car. Like any premium auto the maint costs are high. I think the inspection 2 service is about $500, and the inspection 1 is about $350. Awesome cars though, this is our 4th BMW and second 7 series.
  • Anyone here put metalized window tint on a newer 7 series? Does it impact the AM radio reception?...joe
  • m5davem5dave Posts: 1
    Hi everyone,

    I'm considering a '95 740iL for my wife but I'm wondering about a couple of things. First, does anyone here have high miles on an E38? If so, have you found any particularly troublesome areas, such as the transmissions? Not too worried about small stuff, just the major hardware.

    Next, I suppose the '95 had the original 4.0 M60 motor (same as E32 and E34). Is this correct, and if so, does anyone know for sure if these had nikasil blocks? I haven't noticed E38 owners talking about motor replacements, but then again, I've only just started paying attention to E38s.

    Thanks for any input.

    '91 M5
  • As it turns out, the 740i was a '94 and the new engine was a 4.0L which was replaced under warranty work at 50K miles. I had the car checked out and purchased it last week. I love driving it, but it won't be cheap--especially if gas prices keep going up. The BMW manual recommends 90+ Octane, is there a significant advantage running 93 vs. 90? I do a fair amount of highway driving.
  • bwhbwh Posts: 76
    The '95 had the nikasil block still. It was corrected in '96 with the 4.4L. Many of the blocks have been replaced by now. I would not under any circumstances take a chance on a nikasil block. My '95 had 88k miles on it when we traded for the 750. The transmissions in the E38 have been much better than the E32, no problems there. The cars have a lot of electronics though, make sure everything works.
    1st bmw, running lower octane gas will not HURT your car, it will retard the spark curve accordingly to avoid knock. You may lose a small amount of performance, although most people would not be able to tell. Personally I run the reccomended fuel in all of my cars, all three require premium, one of the pitfalls of buying a premium car.
  • I was at a restaurant the otherday, and infact I saw an M750iL and that's what it said on the back, M750iL. I had the choice between the sport package and chose not to take it because from what I've heard and read the people who purchase the 7 series (besides the 740i) regret adding the sport package because it is a luxury sedan, and don't like the stiff ride.
  • pflaumpflaum Posts: 13
    I have a 7 Sport Model and I don't regret it for a minute. I previously owned a 740 iL. The ride of the sport is not all that rough and the performance is outstanding. I have even taken it to driver's school.

    According to my dealer, almost every short wheelbase model that they have sold has been a sports model so your information regarding unhappy customers is suspect. I would never go back to a standard 7 after owning this beast.

  • mlabusmlabus Posts: 1
    I have a 95 740i with 98K, bought with 79K. How do I know if I have the nikasil block? I have an October/95 manufacture date. I have noticed a little vibration at idle that I have heard is a sign that the engine is going. With a 100K warranty, I am taking it in to BMW tomorrow for inspection. I discussed this with my arrogant BMW service advisor (a prerequisite, I think, to become part of BMW), who says that if I had a bad block, I would have known about it long ago.

    Also, whats the story on the reliability of the dot matrix for the temp readout and MID? The temp readout has already been replaced, and I lose a few pixels, it seems, every time I look at the MID. Cant BMW figure out how to make a reliable readout?

    Last, any experience with maintenance at 100K or so? What should I be expecting? Unfortunately, I am familiar with the catalytic converter(s) going bad, and have the death rattle to prove it. Is there a suitable aftermarket product, or should I stick with the BMW part? Can you replace one, or should both be replaced?
  • bwhbwh Posts: 76
    Your car came with a nikasil block originally. The dealer will be able to tell you if it has been replaced. Or if you can find the engine number and croos referance it, you will know. A slight vibration at idle does not mean the engine is bad, these are highly strung V8s and do have some vibration. Find a dealer willing to work with you on the nikasil problem. If your current one is a PIA, switch immediately. He is wrong, many of these engines exceed 100k before having problems, but they ALL have them eventually.
  • I am selling a 1995 BMW 740i to a friend of mine. It has 32,000 original miles on it, but now I am worried about if it has "nikasil block" that you all are talking about. I would love to sell this car, but since it is to a friend, I don't want it to come back and haunt me.

    Please, let me know how to find this out!

    Worried Seller
    P.S. I am selling him an all comprehensive 4/48,000 warranty with the car. Will that be sufficient?
  • bwhbwh Posts: 76
    I looked it up so those interested can review the info themselves. Go to
    This will give you all of the info on the M60 V8 and the nikasil problem. I personally feel that eventually all of these engines will develop the problem. It is caused by a chemical reaction and will affect the performance sooner or later. As for selling to a friend, as long as he/she is aware of the problem I would sell in good consience. Paying to put a new block into a lower mile car is preferable to putting it into a high mile car from a resale standpoint. Good Luck.
  • I am possibly going to purchase a 740i it is a 97 and about 70k mileage. Since I am new to the model and make are there any known problematic areas. I read with interest the other topics like the nikasil block and the silicon injected cyclinders. Are these fixedint eh 97-98 models? are there other issues?

    I love the experience and the safety of the 7 series. hope to get one and heard lots of good stuff but am concerned about the trannies and engines. I understand routine stuff have no problem with it etc. but help is appreciated.
  • bwhbwh Posts: 76
    The 95 models had the engine problem, the pre 95 models had transmission problems. The 96 and up cars are pretty solid machines. Make sure all of the electrical do-dads work. If you do not care for surprises an extended warrenty is a good idea on any used car this complex.
  • viktvikt Posts: 1
    I am close to purchasing a 98 740I with 53K mileage. Is there anything I should know about this model.. repair history, experiences--both good and bad-- etc. I am also shopping for warranty? Can someone share some info on warranty?
  • is4b2rdis4b2rd Posts: 66
    I have a 98 740i with about 43k miles. The car is an absolute dream to drive and truly a pleasure to own. I haven't had any problems thus far and am getting ready to take it in for its first "major" service in a couple weeks, which unfortunately will be out of my pocket as the free maintenance is over. If the car was well cared for and maintenance kept up on it, I don't think there should be any problems. I'd definitely have it thoroughly checked by a good mechanic prior to purchasing as well as extended warranty. If you are buying from the dealer, and the car has passed their checks, they should be offering you a warranty, similar to the Mercedes Starmark. Then, you are pretty safe.
  • sysadbsysadb Posts: 83
    IS4B2RD: I just bought a 98 740i with 13k miles in August. I'd be interested in hearing the major service details (and price) when you do it. My car went into service 8/4/98, so I have some time left on the service benefit.

    VIKT: I checked with Warranty Gold before I bought mine and they have a nice feature where the coverage (in time) begins when you purchase their plan, instead of when the car went into service originally. The miles limitation still applies, but this works well for people that do not put a lot of miles on their car, and thus are looking for more years of coverage rather than just milage. Regards,

  • I am looking at buying an 89 735 iL for $6500. It has a great exterior and interior, new tires and battery. I am going to have my mechanic check it out first, but wanted to know if anyone has had any prior experience with this year model. The downside is that it has 170,000 miles, which my mechanic said is nothing if the car has been maintained. thanks. JSL
  • bwhbwh Posts: 76
    That is a lot of miles for any car. Fortunately you can buy a rebuilt engine for that car for a pretty reasonable price if you need to. The "big six" is a nice engine though, very long running.
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