BMW 7 Series Reviews from South Africa

1998 BMW 7 Series 740I 4.4L V8

Model year1998
Year of manufacture1998
First year of ownership2007
Most recent year of ownership2010
Engine and transmission 4.4L V8 Automatic
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 1 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 3 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 1 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.2 / 10
Distance when acquired158000 kilometres
Most recent distance171000 kilometres
Previous carBMW 5 Series

Summary:

Fantastic car, just won't stand the test of time!

Faults:

I am not going to bother listing the mileage when these items failed... they all failed within 13000KM.

Head developed a crack and took the head gasket with it - R19700 (this was probably there during the previous owners ownership).

Reverse broke in gearbox, needed a total rebuild - R21050.

Gearbox mount - R1650.

Oxygen sensors x 2 - R1500.

Radiator x 2 - R4200.

Coolant expansion bottle - R900.

Expansion bottle sensor - R350.

Water pump - R1200.

Viscous clutch for cooling fan - R1800.

Coolant temp sensor - R320.

Thermostat - R1400.

Various coolant pipes - R1300.

Valley pan and gasket - R700.

Rear brakes + pads - R2600.

Front brakes and pads - R2200.

Fuel pump - R1800.

Fuel pressure regulator - R450.

Fuel hose - R380.

Bonnet gas springs - R800.

Boot gas springs - R800.

Replacement fuel tank (crack developed, tried 4 times to repair it) - R5000.

Replacement grilles - R1600.

Various bulbs - R500.

New battery - R1400.

In total, I have spend over R80 000 (about $12 000) including general servicing...

Things yet to be done:

Upper + lower control arms.

Centre tie-rod.

Outer tie rods.

Sump gasket.

Valve cover gaskets.

New plastic seat base (cracked in half).

New steering wheel (leather has rubbed off).

New mass airflow sensor.

New heater pump/valves.

New wiper blades.

AC just stopped working.

Instrument cluster pixels missing.

MID pixels missing + bulbs blown.

Gearbox - car is now going back for the 5th time to the gearbox repair company, as they are battling to get it right!

General Comments:

The BAD...

If you are looking for a car that will work all day, every day... this is not the car for you!

It is a fantastic when it works, which as you can see from the mileage I have done in it over 2 1/2 years, is not much.

The interior of this car is in reasonable shape. The leather seems to hold up well with only a few wrinkles and no scuffs. Silly things do break though, for example the seat base, the bonnet release kickboard, glovebox handles etc...

The dash is also starting to get a very slight warp at the edges thanks to the South African sun!

As I am sure people will tell me, that these problems should be expected on a car with this type of mileage... and if so, why is it that my 95 525I has got over 260 000KM, and is in 100% better shape than this car???

80% of the above repairs were done by me, out of my garage as I have been repairing my own cars for 10 years now. If I did not do this, this car would be an absolute fortune to keep going!!!

If you want to drive this car, make sure that you have enough savings/income to repair it constantly... otherwise it will sink you :(

The GOOD...

There is no greater joy than being able to move a 2 ton car from 0-60MPH in less than 7 seconds... it feels awesome!

There is no doubt that this is the most comfortable BMW I have ever driven/driven in/owned! To have all this power and yet to be so graceful :)

If you get one of them with the 16 way comfort seats, DSP, DSC, NAV, PDC, EDC etc you will NEVER get bored!

The Steptronic gearbox is fantastic. It really is the next best thing to a manual on these cars!

You will never get tired of how it can gently pick you up, travel 400KM and then put you down at your destination with the slightest of ease!

The interior space is amazing... if you are like me at 6'4", you need a big car. Even with the driver's seat all the way back, there is plenty of room in the rear!

The boot space is surprisingly small compared to an Audi for example. Although the boot is quite deep, it is not very wide and you will struggle to get a full set of luggage in.

I will be selling this car in the near future. I am very concerned that no matter how much money I throw at this car, it does not seem to get better/stay working for very long (which is very disappointing).

One thing you have to be aware of if you get EDC, is that the electronic shocks will cost well over R9000 ($1300) to replace.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th March, 2010

2nd Sep 2012, 03:34

I wrote the article above, and thought I would give an update so far on the 740I that I own...

Car now has 192000KM on it, and the following has now gone wrong in the last 10000KM.

Gas filled bombs for the rear suspension are leaking and need replacing. This causes a massive bump/jolt whenever the car goes over a small bump in the road - R5000/$600.

Rear self levelling valve that controls the ride height of the rear when its weighted up with items is leaking and cannot be repaired... needs replacing ASAP as it's leaking the VERY EXPENSIVE CHF-11S oil - R4300/$512.

And the biggest one that happened in the last week, the driver;s side timing chain tensioner let go, which is now causing the main timing chain to flap around inside the engine and make a terrible clanging noise (sounds like the engine is destroying itself). I am getting quotes of... maybe sit down for this one - R25000/$2977.

At this point I am regretting my decision to hang onto the car and see if she came right. Apart from the above items, there have been lots more smaller things to go that cost $100/$200 here and there.

I stand by my original statement... don't get this car unless you have serious money to throw at it!

1992 BMW 7 Series 735i 3.5 petrol

Model year1992
Year of manufacture1992
First year of ownership2006
Most recent year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission 3.5 petrol Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.0 / 10
Distance when acquired210000 kilometres
Most recent distance280000 kilometres
Previous carBMW 3 Series

Summary:

A really, really great car!

Faults:

"Seat twist" on driver's seat.

Lower control arm bushes had to be replaced when I bought it.

Speeding fines - oh, oops! that's not the car's fault.

Everything else - perfect!

General Comments:

What a lovely car!!

Good Points:

Stylish and classy, with plenty of power and not as heavy on juice as one might expect.

Great on the open road it chews the miles like no small car can.

Easy to park! Yes, believe it or not - although it's longer than a VW Kombi - it parks more easily than our Mazda 626, thanks to it's amazing power steering and small turning circle.

Electric windows, mirrors, air con - basically all the creature comforts you could wish for, including sunroof.

It flies!! The fastest I ever got out of it was around 235 km/h - and it still felt quite safe and stable, with good road-holding and responsive steering.

The problem with it being so stable and sure-footed, is that at 180km/h, you actually think you're still doing 120km/h, and then you get one of those pleasant little donation requests from the local traffic department - but that's what you get for playing the music so loud that you don't hear the speed alarm go off.

You can close all windows and the sunroof with the remote control!

Another great feature - Electric (full leather) seats with memory function - and this makes a HUGE difference for a 6'00" 180lb gorilla like me who's married to a tiny little 4'11" fairy who weighs like, a few ounces - you simply press the button, and the seat & mirrors magically move up, down, forward, backward - you get the picture.

My wife and I affectionately referred to "him" as Ollie - (and that's a long story ;-) but Ollie became like family. Sadly Ollie had a crash and, might I add, proved that the BMW 7-series was and still is one of the safest cars ever built. My wife had a bit of a stiff neck for two days, and that's it. Unfortunately, the car's a write-off, but we're definitely looking at another Beemer.

I thought I'd just mention: at the time, for the same price, we could have bought a tiny, brand new Tin Can Sport from Tin Can Motor Corp with manual windows, seats upholstered with brown paper and a funky logo, but... we're not daft - and thank goodness we didn't, because I really think my wife would've been very badly injured if she'd been in a little sardine can instead of the Beemer. Safety has no price.

Bad points.

Ah... lemme think... oh yes! There was something - the driver's seat would lift only on the one side (called "seat twist"). Three days before my wife had the accident, I downloaded a "how-to" manual off the net, and it looked pretty straight forward - but now I guess I'll never know.

The other thing is that the air con has a cabin air filter (quite advanced for the 90's), which needs to be replaced every now and then, or else you get the fan blowing like a rocket, but with only a trickle of air coming from the vents.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd November, 2008

2000 BMW 7 Series 740i

Year of manufacture2000
First year of ownership2000
Most recent year of ownership2000
Engine and transmission Automatic
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 1 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 0 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 2 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.2 / 10
Distance when acquired29 kilometres
Most recent distance34980 kilometres
Previous carAudi A6 2.8

Summary:

Creaky piece of tin!!

Faults:

* Airbags (2 front).

* Power steering.

* Driver seat collapsed.

* Heavy on fuel.

* Headlight (right) constantly blows.

* Left rear doorhandle broke off!!!

* Excessive tyre wear.

* Lots of rattles (especially in the dashboard).

Etc.

General Comments:

A lot of money for a supposed luxury car! I will never purchase a BMW again!! I will return to Audi & Mercedes, at least there you get what you pay for!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 20th September, 2000

12th May 2001, 15:18

My Audi S6 is a piece of crap, constant electrical and oil seal problems. If you think Audi's are reliable then maybe you should get one.

7th Jul 2001, 16:51

I've run an A8 for 2 years and it has had few problems - trade in the 740 and get a 4.2 liter.

8th Aug 2001, 12:06

You've probably just had a bad experience. I would urge you to go buy a Mercedes - just make sure you get breakdown cover. Ultimate combination: BMW cars, Mercedes dealers.

Average review marks: 5.5 / 10, based on 3 reviews