1998 BMW 7 Series 740iL 4.4L from North America

Summary:

Well maintained or not... 7 means expensive!

Faults:

7 means... expensive!

Valve cover gasket has no life span.

Power steering motor goes at 100K.

Belt tensioner goes... so does your cooling system.

General Comments:

Great car... handles well, fast, but it will cost you after 100K.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th December, 2010

20th Jan 2012, 20:06

1998 740iL owner since new. Wonderful classic car, until you need a part. Was just charged over $700 to have the glove box lock/handle replaced. This is a two-part piece of plastic that can't cost more than $10 to make. That's how BMW treats their faithful. Abusive.

I'll never buy another BMW.

Jay in NYC.

1998 BMW 7 Series 740I 4.4L V8 from South Africa

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!