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BMW 7-Series 2006 and earlier



  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    I am not an expert, but one thing I'd do is call your local BMW or independent import shop and ask about the availability of parts. You're kind of looking to predict the future - what will go wrong and for how much, but in general, although BMWs can be reliable, the major repairs are going to be expensive. When you're looking at luxury or near luxury cars, this is generally the case, and they tend to require a lot of TLC.

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  • Two things you might want to do if you're seriouly considering this car is have it inspected by a mechanic to see if it needs anything else fixed other than the windshield in order to pass your local state inspection (and to get a general condition report). That will give you a good idea of the amount you'll have to invest up front. Also, you might want to get an estimate on that CD player. The stereo unit in that older model would probably have to be completely replaced. I don't know how old your kids are, but on the average teens are much harder on cars than older drivers, both mechanically and body-wise. And with two of them driving the car it's probably going to see a LOT of miles. I think you realistically should be prepared for high maintenance bills. OTOH, if it gets major problems you can always get rid of it and only be out a few grand...
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    ...would be - DO NOT DO THIS. An 18 year old car with 138 K miles, even if engineered and maintained by a holy diety of your choice is not going be a good buy.
  • Since there were a lot of questions asked about used 740I and since recently I was the one asking some of those questions on this board I figured I would share some of my recent experiences on buying 740I.
    A few months ago I bought a certified 2001 740I (that was originally sold in 2000) with 27,000 miles, sports package, convinience package and cold weather package for $43,000. The car is in great condition and is a lot of fun to drive. I would not go for the 740IL unless you really need the space in the back. I also think it is one of the best values outthere right now in this price category. The 2004 530I is $45,000 for base model according to Edmunds.
    Was anyone able to install a cell phone that is integrated with the 740's system?
  • It has 19k miles, and is in mint condition. Having never owned a Beemer, I am interested in seeing what anyone with knowledge of this particular car has to say.
    I can get it for $55,000. I know Edmunds has it listed way over that, but don't know if that's a "real world" appraisal. The car is owned by the owner of a local car dealership, and he had it specially ordered from BMW and paid $100k for it new. It even has the bullet resistent windows, and only 200 cars like it were built.

    It is a 12 cylinder, and gas mileage is a concern in that I drive 80 miles a day getting to work. I'm not rich, but can afford it with a trade in.

    Assuming I plan on keeping it for 2 years, and will be putting on 50k miles in that time, it would have approx 70k on it then.

    Is this a good of a deal as it sounds?
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Try asking in the Real-World Trade-In Values over on our Smart Shopper board while you are waiting for some input here.

    Good luck.
  • I had a 1998 750il. I think that the mileage was in the teens. The protection package will add weight, and reduce mileage. If you do buy it, make sure that it is CPO'd - Certified Pre-Owned. You will want the extra warranty coverage. Repairs are very expensive on the 750.

    There are two 2001 750's on eBay. - =2434071417&category=6009

    With that caveat, the 750 was the most comfortable car that I have owned. A true joy to drive!
  • adobadob Posts: 18
    The 750 seemed to have its share of unhappy owners according How accurate these experiences are, who knows for sure...
  • tasillotasillo Posts: 51
    I own a 2000 740iL that I bought used from a non-BMW dealer, thus, no extended warranty. When I bought the car in Oct 2002 with 27,000 miles, I paid a tad over 40k. I believed it to be a good deal as the car is very clean, is a rare color (Orinocco) with the even rarer "Highline" interior package, also, brand new Pilot Sport A/S tires. It is truly a beautiful car and an awesome driver. No significant problems as of yet.

    Unfortunately my driving habits changed drastically the minute I bought the car and have put 30k on it in 12 months. With 2 kids, 2 dogs and 2 motorcycles, I've recently been thinking of an SUV as a better fit for me. Talking trade with some local dealers, I've not gotten an ACV of more that 25k. All dealers admit the car is excellent, but also claim that the resale of a BMW once out of warranty drops like a stone! CPO cars apparently fare better as they are still considered under "factory" warranty. Most of the BMW's I've seen in excess of 50k miles are appearing on independent used car lots. Even the BMW dealers are much less interested in a car out of the mfg. warranty as it no longer qualifies for CPO, or so I've been told.
    The above is likely true of most high-end euro marques whose long term maintenance and repair expense make them high dollar propositions once the warranty expires. I'll likely hang onto my 7 as nothing else really appeals to me, but it does make the price difference between CPO and non-CPO appear to be a better proposition.

    My 2 cents for all considering a used Bimmer (or any Euro).
  • adobadob Posts: 18
    The 750 seemed to have its share of unhappy owners according How accurate these experiences are, who knows for sure...
  • blynn1blynn1 Posts: 2
    how easy is it (or is it even possible) to convert the cloudy rectangular lense covered 95 headlamps to not only the higher intensity lights but the newer looking style of 99 or even newer? i prefer the cutout bottom frame of the newer lamps and the slight curve to the ornage side lamp. is this possible? thanks!
  • f1buickf1buick Posts: 45
    apparently the older E38's can be easily converted to the more recent headlight treatment. Try

    Regarding 750's as potential lemons, I own a 93 750. I've had it for 6 years and 60,000 miles. It is a very complex machine and the newer models did not get simpler.

    Some of the parts are unbelievably expensive (the $1200 xenon headlight is my favorite so far--I passed on it). Other parts (eg., brake rotors) are cheaper than for my chevy pickup.

    As a do-it-yourself kind of guy, I've managed to put maybe $6000 into maintenance and repairs, including oil changes and tires. There have been two "major" mechanical issues that I took care of myself. That's not too bad overall and I would happily buy a newer 750 if the old one died (which isn't looking likely anytime soon).

    However, I can't recommend this sort of car if you are a mechanical neophyte and utterly dependent on a dealer's service department, because they will turn the WV unit up to full as soon as they see you come in.

    WV stands for "wallet vacuum."

    I took my 750 to the dealer one time and left after getting bad advice which clearly was designed to maximize the bill, not fix the problem.

    This can happen with any car if you get the wrong dealer.

    If you're a car nut with a working knowledge of 12 volt electric systems and who doesn't faint at the sight of an open valve cover, then by all means buy one. Otherwise, ask yourself if, in addition to the car, you can afford a $5000 repair bill when something breaks (cause it might happen).
  • I am looking to buy a 2002 BMW 745I. I have been quoted by Passport BMW in Wardolf Maryland for $55,000 for a 2002 745I, 13K miles. These are the options it has: R-side airbad deactivation, 19" wheels, Rear Sunshade, Park Distance Contro, Convenience Package, Luxury Seating Package, Heated Steering Wheel, Rear-Side-Impact Airbags, Wood Trim, Premium Sound Package. Passport BMW told me that this bimmer was bought back by BMW because of software problems. These software problems have been fixed. I can get 0% financing directly from BMW if I buy this car. Here are my questions:
    1) Have any of you bought any of these buy-back 2002 745?
    2) Have you had any issues since?
    3) is $55K a good deal for this car with such options?
    4) What should I be watching out for?
    5) Should I purchase extended warranty?

    Thank you so much for your advice in advance.

  • bmwsellerbmwseller Posts: 200
    Buy backs are certainly not common in a BMW, but there are enough of those 7's that I've seen go through the BMW Financial sales that I can give you some insight. The problem would be continuing electrical issues because I think it's obvious that the price is a BIG bang for your buck on that car. We have had two clients that recently had their 7's bought back. By the way, they both went right into 2003 7's. The center that has the car has to fix it before BMW will participate in the buy back. So, it SHOULD have the bugs out of it. e-mail me - you may need some more info.
  • bmwsellerbmwseller Posts: 200
    Does that car have a VIN that ends in DP54070?
    If it does than it does not have comfort seats. I've got a vehicle history on the car from BMWNA.
  • Thank you very much for your advice on the 745I. I spoke with the sale man and was told that BMW has fixed all the software bugs. He faxed me a Vehicle History Report on which it said “Demo Trade-In” at the customer name. When I pulled the car fax report it said this car was registered as a Lease vehicle. The sale man provided me with descriptions for each of the defect code and they were: Software updates (3 times), Airbag connector replacement, Seat adjustment control replacement, rear seat mat replacement, on-board monitor replacement, windshield washer nostrils replacement, windshield wipers replacement, recharging battery, navigation software update.


      I am still not so clear about all this so I have a few more questions if you don’t mind.

    1) If I after I have bought the car and still have problems such as those above, would I have the right to bring it in to exchange it for another one? Would BMW buy this back from me?

    2) Originally, the sale man told me this is going to be sold for $59,500 but when I told him my wife and I were only willing to spend $55,000 and after checking with his manager he said yes they were willing to sell the car for $55,000. Does this sound like a good deal to you?

    3) Should I buy the extended warranty for this?

    4) What are the things I should look out for when I come to inspect the vehicle?


    Your advice on this would be greatly appreciated.
  • jgraveljgravel Posts: 54
    I'm sure this has been discussed at length but I still need to ask the question. I have a 2003 330xi but the family says we need a bigger car. I'm looking for a 2001 iL because I'm afraid of a new model year (2002). Anybody out there whose recently been down this road?

    Additionally, anything I should look for and try to avoid when evaluating a 7?


  • bmwsellerbmwseller Posts: 200
    The 2002 is a far superior car!!! Drive and compare.
  • jgraveljgravel Posts: 54
    Thanks for the response bmwseller but why do you think it superior. I'm concerned that 2002 why the first model year and there may still be "issues" with the design. I've heard many times the electronics. while impressive, are not very user friendly.

    Thanks again,

  • bmwsellerbmwseller Posts: 200
    In my little part of the world here in Illinois it seems that the 2003 7's are not showing up with frustrated clients and reoccurring problems. And, I don't see any showing up as 'buy-backs' at BMW Financial Sales.
  • f1buickf1buick Posts: 45
    I'm not doubting you, but I think the issue is statistical.

    An example: I own a 1993 750 (E-32). During the first 3 years of production the E32 used a circuit board for the instrument panel that was placed near the hvac outlets and was found to develop cracks due to repeated thermal cycles. Starting in 1991 (4th year) the circuit board was replaced with a better unit.

    I would have been very surprised if a BMW salesperson in 1989 would have been aware of this issue. Maybe only one or two E-32's came in with the problem, and why would anyone in the service department tell him about this? The number of failures would be too small for him to see in his "little world" (as you put it). Clearly, however, BMW saw the problem in Munich as it had access to world-wide data.

    So I'm glad you are not seeing lots of 2003 E-65's coming back immediatly after purchase. But how relevant is such a statistical sample to someone who might want to own a car for more than two years?

    Anyone who buys a car in the first 3-year of production is a "beta tester." I want to add that I'm not singling out BMW here. Everybody does it because they HAVE to. No matter how thoroughly a company tests a new car, its sample size will be limited. There is no substitute for the 25 million miles of use 30,000+ customers will subject those cars to in the first three years.
  • When the E65 first came out, I fell in love with it. I was impressed by the athleticism, the performance, the features. In my mind owning a BVMW (I've owned two 5 series and one 7 series, the last one 12 years ago) doesn't present the same gullible ("Gee, I don't know much about cars nor understand the technology, but every other doctor/ cpa drives one so it must be the car to have") status striving image as owning a MB/Lexus. I thought I'd wait a couple of years and pick one up used. After all everyone knows (Car and Driver even had a column by Eddie Alterman on this) that 7 Series depreciate like a stone thrown into a mill pond and are a "good deal" a few years down the road.

    To get my ducks in line I even joined BMWCAA to get the member's discount/deal when I eventually pulled the trigger. Every month the membership mag arrives with long tech columns full of insightful comments about the F14- like maintenance schedule you have to adhere to on these things. Including changing the brake fluid every year. And yet they still break down. Randomly. Expensively. Frequently.

    Then I read the Edmonds 7 Series Board. I don't know, guys. Currently, BMW is offering in the Wall St. Journal a 2003 7 Series lease deal of around $790 per month (on a 70K car!) Even if in the fall/winter of 2004, I could get a CPO 2002 745 for 40K, it seems like it will be one unending headache. (The 40K figure wasn't random; it seems that two year old 7 series do go for about that; Maybe the 2002 E65 will depreciate even FASTER? I see them now at 55K, retail.)

    Sure the Chevy Tahoe/Ford Expedition/Toyota Seqoias of the world ain't perfect, lack panache,and the dealership experience is something that reminds me of the alley across from the main gate at Ton Son Nhut Air Base, but they will get you to work every day and skiing every winter weekend. (And I've never known anyone who owned one of these things who maintained it like a C130 with yearly fluid changes.)

    I write this though I fit F1Buick's definition of a knowledgeable 7 series buyer: someone who doesn't panic when he sees a valve cover lying on a fender pad. (Heck, I've even made nifty portable tool boxes out of Detroit Diesel Valve covers and lucite). I probably also fit BMWUSAs demographic profile of a 7 Series buyer.

    But, the more I think about it, life is short and you make choices. I've got things to do, a company to run, and maybe I just don't need this hassle in my life, however glorious it would be when everything was clicking. Am I giving up too easily?
  • bmwsellerbmwseller Posts: 200
    I've got a manheim auction report here in front of me and there hasn't been one 2002 745i sell for under 44 g's. The average sale price on these cars in Oct. was 50, that's wholesale. Looks like those cars certified from a BMW dealer are selling from 50 to 60 g's. check and search the certified pre-owned inventory nationwide. I'd say that's not bad depreciation. Figure two years it dropped about 15-18 grand. That's about $750 per month!! However, there is dealer incentive on them right now so, that might kick it in the pants a little.
  • BMWseller, I guess I wasn't clear: I think that in the fall/winter of 2004, not now in 2003, that the 745's will be down to 40K. I'm shocked though that one at auction was already as low as 44K.

    But speaking of depreciation IMHO I think your calculations may be off. Didn't the MY2002 745 actually came out in maybe Jan or Feb 2002? So, it isn't the case that it dropped 15-18K in two years. More like 18 months. And that to me is horrible.

    One last thought on depreciation: for a business guy like me, to express a car's depreciation in monthly terms as high as $750 per month is a real turn off when I think what could be done with that cash. I've always thought that one reason (in addition to status insecurity and general gullibility) why you see so many MDs, lawyers, and CPAs in big buck sedans is that they simply don't have the opportunity to invest it in a growing business. In other words, they have no opportunity costs. Its either expense it on a German sedan or the wife gets it.

    Can you get Manheim reporets on line? With a password? Are they the most reliable?
  • tasillotasillo Posts: 51
    I own a 2000 740iL I bought used in Oct 2002 with 27k miles in very nice shape. At that time I paid 39k for the car, significant depreciation considering the 72k sticker. I believed I got the best of the depreciation curve. A year and 30k (very enjoyable) miles later, the car is worth 24-25k wholesale. Several dealers told me point blank, no one wants an expensive, complicated european car that's out of warranty. Thus the steep depreciation. Interestingly, it appears if I drive the car 2 more years and another 40-45k miles, it will only depreciate another $7-10,000. What this does point out to me however is, these cars can become expensive and less desirable to own as the mileage approaches 6 digits. If you drive a lot, an Acura, Infiniti or Lexus is probably the smarter purchase, from a cost of ownership and depreciation standpoint. The same is true, to a greater extent of Audi's, they're worth nothing with 70k miles +. Mercedes seem a little better, but a 2001 S500 with 50k miles was advertised in the Atlanta paper at 43k. A 90k car!

    Moral of the story, if you drive a lot, by Japanese or, god forbid, American. If you love machines and a great driving experience and are willang and able to support expensive maintenance and repair as well as steeper depreciation, by all means, go German.
  • Tasillo, nice post. But, leaving patriotism aside, do you really think that buying American is a bad idea? Boring, maybe, no status, definetley, but dependability and reliability are there in spades. An American cast iron V8 is good for upwards of 200K before a valve cover might have to come off, the transmission will go at 110K plus, i.e, somewhat longer than one of Munich's best, and the you will never, ever run thru brakes as often as your dermatologist in his E Series or a soccer mom in her Rover. Sure, electronics, as always, can be difficult to fix, but the upper limit is always set by the availabililty of a junkyard takeout.

    I'm not going to insult you with a story from a sample of one (me) who has had good luck with Chrysler 318 V8s. But just check out the full size SUV boards. Sure, lots of complaints about cold start knock, noisy body cladding, etc. but nothing like the insane stuff I read on the German boards. (I saw over the weekend on the E Series board that a guy spent 5K in one service appointment just to fix his 2001 E Series AC system!) And the funny thing is that they seem to eat it up although they are just being taken to the cleaners in a way that they would never allow in any other area of their life. Thats the power of branding, a marketing guy would say. "I don't care if you beat me up and rob me blind, as long as I can have one of your (fill in the blank) "exclusive" luxury goods, I'll feel secure, fullfilled and happy."
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    There are plenty of discussions on our News & Views board where the subject of buy American (or not) can be debated. This discussion is focused specifically on the 7-Series sedan, so let's not get sidetracked.

    Thanks for your understanding.
  • bmwsellerbmwseller Posts: 200
    The manheim report is for dealers only and is password protected. It is the only truly reliable indicator in my mind because the guys buying these cars are setting the market and are check writers based on the dollars, not likes or dislikes. The car that sold at 44 may have had damage and or a horrible color combination. There is a lot that goes into retailing the car above and beyond what a dealer pays at the auction.
    The premium miles (under warranty) cost premium dollar. My analogy that at 750per mo. or even 1000per month is a good value is based on the idea that if a client chooses a typical finance term, 60 mo, at a good interest rate, say 4%, on a 78 g car that comes to over 1400 per month. Now that doesn't really fit a budget that I would set for a car but for the ones that do elect to spend that much they get to drive some of the finest vehicles in the world EVERYDAY.......that would be sweet.
  • tasillotasillo Posts: 51
    Not to get off point in this forum about American vehicles, but I was being sarcastic about the "god forbid, buy American" statement. I agree that American and Japanese vehiles are likely to be much less expensive to own over the long haul than the Europeans. I've also owned several domestics, put over 100k on them and had minimal major issues. That's all I was trying to say!
  • f1buickf1buick Posts: 45
    is somewhat of an economic fallacy. You maximise profit by placing the least amount of money in depreciating assets. Percentages are irrelevant If you buy a $70,000 BMW and it only depreciates by 50% in 8 years, you have lost $35,000. If you bought a $25,000 Buick and it depreciates to zero in the same 8 years, you still are $10,000 ahead, even though the depreciation percentage is 100% compared to 50%.

    So let's face it. When we buy these things we are buying toys, not making investments.

    My experience with 7-series depreciation is similiar to Tasillo's. I bought a 1993 750 in 1997. Only 27k and about 1 month left on the warranty. Priced at $36,000 (original retail $88,500--really).

    Now, at 10+ years old and 90,000 miles, I'd be happy to get $8,000 for it (and at that price I'll take my 750 any day, thank you).

    Why so "cheap," relatively speaking? Because (1) there is little market for a $50,000 used car, and (2) people are scared to death of the maintenance costs, especially with a V12.

    And, to be frank, BMW contributes to this situation with its "black box" approach to auto repairs. An example: the headlight relays are contained in a box called the "LKM." It is located in the fuse box and easily replaced. If your LKM acts up and you bring it into the dealer, the service tech will dutifully hook it up to the diagnostic computer, or will consult a diagnostic flow chart. When he gets to the end of the chart, the instruction will be "Replace LKM."

    Thanks, that will be $400 for on "black box" (LKM) plus $150 for the labor. To fix a headlight. Add to that the hassle of scheduling a dealer appointment, etc. No wonder people are scared of these cars!

    What will the artful do-it-yourself'er do? He'll pull the LKM, pry it open, spray the sticky relays with contact cleaner, put it back in and drive another 100,000 miles. Time spent: less than 30 minutes. Cost: about a nickle.

    Since most (all?) BMW's use LKM's, you'd think those in charge of fixing the cars would know this. But they don't because BMW discourages this sort of repair. There are several reasons.

    First, there is no money in it. If an LKM is replaced, BMW earns a fat markup on the part, as does the dealer. Also the dealer gets to charge "book" time of one hour labor for an operation which took less than 15 minutes. More profit. So there's no money in imaginative repairs intended to save the client money. The money is in "black box" repairs with big parts markups and overblown labor charges.

    The above is typical in the whole industry and not just BMW. The high-end German manufacturers, however, have more of this because their cars are so cutting-edge complex. They manufacturers really don't want service techs opening up the "black boxes," cause who knows what some yahoo in Oshkosh might do? And there is big money in fixing these expensive technological toys when they break.

    Getting back to the E 65, it is telling that last year BMW began forbidding aftermarket publication of repair data about their cars (by Chiltons, Haynes, Alldata, etc.). Part of the reason probably is concern over technical neophytes messing with such complex machines. But I think it has more to do with profit--this baby is going to be a serious money maker, because the dealers will have a complete MONOPOLY on repairing it--independents and DIY'ers will not even be able to get a manual.

    Sorry BMW, but that's the last straw. I'll pass.
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