1988 BMW 7 Series 730iA 3.0 Inline 6 Cylinder from North America


Performance and luxury at the same time


Well, since this car is from 1988, I had to change many parts. Here are a couple of things that I changed when I bought the car (230 000 km) :

- Alternator

- Battery

- Starter

- Control Arms

- Tie-Rods

- Bushings

- Brake Sensors

- Brake Pads & Brake Disks

- Oil & Air Filters

- Front-Right Suspension

- Electric Window Engine

- Instrument Cluster

- Heating System Repair

- Complete Tune-Up

- Etc.

There are lots of parts that had to be changed due to normal wear and it is quite normal for a 15 year old car. The instrument cluster seems to be a common problem with that year 7 series. Another common problem is that the transmission doesn't shift smoothly through the 1st and 2nd gear.

General Comments:

I imported this BMW flagship directly from Germany last summer. Here are some modifications that were done to it :

- Lowered Suspensions

- Racing Steering Wheel

- BMW 750 Wheels

- Tinted Windows

- Recaro Leather Racing Seats

- Performance Air Filter

- Etc.

I have also put in a sound system :

- Panasonic DF-600U CD Player

- 2 Pioneer Premiere 12" Sub-woofers

- Pioneer 760 Watt Amplifier.

The main problem with older cars is the electrical system. Because of the age, corrosion stars eating up wires and the electric system. The starter makes horrible noise sometimes. Mechanically, this car is flawless. I never had a single problem with the engine. Acceleration is kind of slow because of the automatic transmission, but once it hits the highway... Top Speed of 240km/h. 0-100km/h is done in 10 seconds and 80-120km/his done in around 7.5 seconds. Handling is incredible as well as braking. The interior is beautiful with wood trimming and it is spacious and comfortable in the back. Lots of space in the trunk. Very luxurious and performing vehicle. Oh yeah, I forgot to talk about the cost of the parts and labor : VERY expensive. Parts have to be imported from Germany and the labour is expensive...it's BMW!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th October, 2003

1988 BMW 7 Series 750iL 5.0L V-12 from North America


The best car I've ever owned, or am likely to ever own


Starter failed -- very hard to replace yourself.

Front ball joints, thrush bushings -- not too hard to replace yourself, but properly tensioning the thrust bushings is a pain unless you have 450 lbs. of ballast and an old-fashioned grease pit.

Front brake pads and disks -- easy to fix.

Rear brake pads and disks -- also easy.

Leaky radiator -- surprisingly easy to fix compared to some cars. It is made of aluminum and plastic, so it is amazingly light.

Viscous fan clutch -- done at the same time as the radiator... very easy.

SRS (airbag) warning light -- diagnosed by a dealer as a $1200 replacement of the main SRS controller. Since the system is disabled when the light is on, I've just decided to skip this repair.

Hydraulic reservoir level sensor -- integral to the hydraulic fluid tank, so I'll replace the tank next time I need to change the fluid.

Leaking fuel hoses -- extreme engine compartment heat just cooks these little rubber fuel hoses which connect metal fuel pipes to the fuel rails. Replace them with fuel injection hose instead of regular fuel hose.

Fuel pressure regulator vacuum hoses -- also cooked by the extreme underhood heat... easy replacement with simple fuel hose.

Drive shaft -- the center bushing was used up and the U-joints were seized. Replacing this requires dropping the very heavy exhaust system from the headers back.

Oxygen sensors -- these needed replacing after 50,000 miles, so I did them when I had the exhaust system dropped when replacing the drive shaft.

Rear head rest -- when I strapped in one of our children's car seat, it trapped the rear head rest in the down position, so when it tried to extend automatically it stripped its nylon gears. I haven't repaired this yet.

Battery -- normal replacement item, but when it was failing the slight low voltage conditions resulted in many puzzling errors and alarm system false alarms.

EML errors -- in one particular town while driving down I-5 in Oregon, the car has suffered from EML errors on six occasions, which shuts down one of the two banks of cylinders and effectively puts the car in "limp home" mode. (Simply shutting the car off for 10 minutes allows the Motronic computers to reset, and you can drive away.) We realized belatedly that this was caused by electromagnetic pulses from a local heavy metal smelter.

Routine maintenance -- some of the 12 spark plugs are very hard to get at... very hard. Everything else is just like any BMW 6-cylinder, only two-fold. Two distributor caps and rotors, two air filters, two fuel filters, etc. Otherwise, this is just about like any other car to maintain.

General Comments:

This is definitely the nicest car I've ever owned. Although it requires almost constant attention, it has only twice required a tow: once because of a failed starter (the planetary gears inside it were smashed), and again when a radiator hose popped off the radiator on the freeway (my error... I didn't tighten a hose clamp enough after changing radiator hoses).

The car is very reliable on the road. I especially appreciate an engine that can run on six cylinders if an error occurs that would cause most other engine management systems to shut down most other engines entirely. Parts costs can be high, and dealer labor costs are ludicrous. There is no way you can talk yourself into believing that this car is a bargain to own or maintain... it is only manageable if you do your own work.

On the other hand, in the realm of V-12 luxury autobahn titans, this is about as affordable as you're going to get. What a car! It is effortlessly fast... so smooth that it feels like it is powered by an electric motor or a gas turbine. This V-12 has an absolutely unique sound at full throttle, and any passenger that hears it always remarks about it. The handling is about as good as it gets for a 4500 lb. luxury car. It covers ground very quickly, especially the twisting roads of western Marin, rural highways of Oregon, and mountain roads anywhere.

Even after all these years, the car still has cachet. We'll occasionally come out to find that valet parking attendants have parked the car right up front where rich people expect to find their car. Of course the car was designed to be a limousine in Germany, but for us it is a very nice, comfortable, roomy family sedan with good handling and power.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th December, 2001

24th Nov 2004, 07:29

Your experience appears similar to my friend's. He owns a 1988 750iL, diamond schwartz ext, grey leather int. A beautiful car, built like a bank vault, but as you say, its 2 tonnes are more than matched by its willing 220kw V12, especially when you select sport mode. Aside from that, he had a spoiler (painted diamond schwartz, of course) fixed to the boot. The world's only 750iL with one? Having travelled with him on day trips together with our wives, it is nice to stretch out in the back of a limo with your own sector climate control and electronically adjustable rear seats. The down side? As you say, when things go wrong, boy can it be expensive to put right. He too is mechanically minded, but in the 5-6 years he has had the car has spent the price of a small car keeping it maintained. Like you, however, he loves his Beemer.

7th Aug 2007, 18:17

Greetings Fellow 750il Owners.

I have an 88' 750 with complete documentation from Day 1.

I purchased this unit from a retired pilot, and she was in fairly good shape (not as spic and span as I would have expected from a Pilot, but overall not inordinately out of shape.

Best vehicle I have ever owned. I have brought her up to specs. Impeccable performance. Grey on Grey, 128k miles.

The body is almost perfect (little door dings on drivers-side (soon to disappear), the usual small paint chips, etc..

My brother helped me replace the lower oil pan gasket.

I had the radio rebuilt at La Jolla Audio, and a few other little odds and end routine maintenance projects like plugs.

AFE Air Filters, Front Struts, yadayadayada. But I really cannot expect a unit closing on 20 years not to have a few needs unless paying premium.

I am happy with my decision to purchase this BEAST.

1988 BMW 7 Series 750iL 5.3 from Australia and New Zealand


The name is Bond - James Bond


Self leveling suspension.

Power steering hoses.

Viscous fan coupling.

Washer bottle leak.

Blocked washer nozzles.

Minor electrical glitches.

General Comments:

Pretty hard to find better value for money. Over $250,000 when new and now only $30-40,000 for a good car. Good history is essential. Shape has not dated. Very reliable, extremely powerful, 15.7 litres per 100km, oodles of leather, surprisingly sophisticated electronically for a 12 year old car.

Self leveling suspension is not worth fixing if it plays up - $4,000+! Best to leave it in 'Sport' mode or convert to 735i type suspension.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th July, 2000

26th Aug 2002, 08:27

A lot of 750iLs had problems with their self leveling suspension, most people did what you suggested and either left it in sport mode or simply changed the system to another 7 series type "fixed" suspension.

1988 BMW 7 Series 750iL from UK and Ireland


Air Con fan stopped working, traced to dirty connection.

General Comments:

Whilst no back lane handler, out on the open road it flies, and has been surprisingly reasonable with fuel ie 30mpg whilst cruising at the legal motorway speed of 70 mph, plus at that speed it is barely turning at 2,000 rpm.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th August, 1999