1997 BMW 7 Series i 4.4L M62 V8 from North America
Expensive to maintain, but SOOO worth it!
The expansion tank cracked and let the coolant leak out of the coolant level sensor shortly after getting the car. Bought a new tank at the dealer for $70, installed it myself, then had the dealer flush the cooling system for $80. I was pleasantly surprised to see this repair wasn't expensive. This is also a common problem for E38 (95-01 7 Series) BMWs. Radiators are also problematic, I'm on borrowed time with my current one!
Dash OBC pixels failing when I got it. Again, nothing surprising there. BMW offered to pay for half the cost of the cluster, but I decided to retrofit an M5 cluster instead.
The LCM (Light Control Module) spazzed out on me a few weeks ago. I suddenly lost my turn signals, dash lighting, fog lights and reverse lights and the headlights started coming on automatically with the key (switch had no effect). Turns out that's "emergency mode" for the LCM. Dealer said it would be $380 for an LCM and $80 to code it. Tried unplugging the battery - lead for 30 minutes to reset any electrical gremlins and voila.. everything works again! Nothing like a free repair :)
The car is very fast for it's portliness (4200 pounds). Handles pretty good, LOADED with amenities; but it's a BMW so what can you expect? :)
If you are considering a 7 series, save about $2000 above the cost of the car and put it in an interest bearing account for future service needs. It's always good to have a safety net with these cars. If you keep on top of routine maintenance, the 7 series will be a faithful companion for you, and quite a pleasant car to drive.
Also I highly recommend visiting the E38 forums, there are hundreds if not thousands of other E38 owners there, and you can get a lot of good information and save a lot of money by DIY repairs thanks to the forums:
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 29th April, 2006