1999 BMW 7 Series 750iL 5.4 V12 from North America
Within 1st 2 months spent $2k.
Alternator (water cooled $960 ouch!).
Mass air flow sensor, various rubber hoses/vacuum lines.
CPS (camshaft positioning sensor), but I budgeted for this because I got the car for SO little, other diagnostic fees.
127,500; radiator replaced as well as fan belt.
139,000; crankcase ventilation valve.
I NOW understand what the car magazine writers wrote when reviewing BMW's...the handling and ride is incredible. I also bought a '93 525i so both of my BMW's impressed me on their suspension 'feel'. This top of the line 7 series is incredible... every meaningful option is there. If I were to wish for more, I'd wish for the massaging seat options and optional rear side airbags (and the DVD based NAV from the '01 models).
I love this car... great acceleration from the V12... so smooth... 324hp, 354lbs torque, passing power is effortless and high speed travel is silent, composed, and relaxed. This is the ultimate long distance travel motorcar as I have taken multiple 12 hour road trips and arrived refreshed (partly due to 14 or 18 way power seats).
I recommend buying one used, after 100k miles if it has service records, because many of the big cost items would have already been replaced. I was fortunate to buy one that already had the transmission replaced too (big $), but catalytic converters are really pricey, as is the EDC suspension. Don't forget, the V12 has double the amount of maintenance items (2 distributors, MAF's, air cleaners (6 including cabin filters) ).
This was a $96,000 auto and maintenance costs will be higher than standard cars... but what could you purchase that would be 'more car' or nicer for the money? Many of those who have bought a used one that wasn't abused or neglected, feel there's really not much out there that is better for the $9-14,000 cost of most 7 series e38 models available... vs a Infiniti, Cadillac, Honda, Acura.etc.
This car is loaded to the hilt... park distance control (parking assist), electronic dampening suspension, semi-automatic transmission, filtered everything, navigation, DSP sound system, heated steering wheel, external door handles, front and rear seats, power everything etc etc.
This 7 series feels expertly put together, has been reliable for me (despite nagging 'check engine light' whose cause has yet to be identified after numerous attempts), has gotten 26mpg on tank!!! (EPA is 13 city, 20 hwy)... it's ALL in how you drive. Think about this... even if you have to put 200 dollars a month in repairs... it would still be cheaper than a new car.
Consider that this car has largely already fully depreciated (though full coverage insurance is still expensive) and a new car will lose its value extremely quick and it still won't be a nearly $100k automobile! Try it... you'll like it.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 17th March, 2010
The $2,000 I spent the first 2 months includes all the prices I listed after that, they were not in addition. These are expensive cars to own/maintain, but man, I get WAY more car than any Nissan, Chevy, etc car at 13,000 plus the maintenance costs (3.5-4k over three years expected). I mean, would a $16k VW anything compare to this? Used Acura? Used Caddy? I'm still very happy with it.
Just normal maintenance plus a few sensors/air valves on valve covers.
Still loving the car, but can't locate a cause for the 'misfire' code forcing a 'check engine light', otherwise it's a dream.
Update: 8/28/11: the car continues to be quite pleasing. Can't get the really 'high mileage' anymore, 24.5 is max on highway it seems in the summer, check engine light has gone off by itself, minor things are there though: inconsistent door lock actuators, lower rocker trim starting to release from its clips. Overall though, still happy. Smooth, powerful, rattle free ride at 154K miles!