I’ve bought a ’97 BMW 740i over a year ago, fell in love with the car and put over 30,000 miles on it, currently at 155,xxx. I have since purchased a newer E38, a 2001 740iL.
Essentially the same car except for her length and some engine updates, resulting in slightly more torque. The ’01 I have is fully loaded, has all the power gadgets, a terribly out dated car phone, and a somewhat fiddly but very reliable and accurate GPS. This car, as the previous one, has been free of any issues that are more than regular wear (brakes and such).
It is more than a car. If you choose the right colour and a decent set of wheels, the car becomes an imposing vehicle, a piece of machinery that’s not only extraordinarily reliable and well built, but also astonishingly attractive looking. I catch myself eying my own car even now, after a while of ownership, whenever I leave her in a parking lot. The design is timeless, the engineering outstanding.
The performance is, for a car of this calibre, surprisingly good. She never fails to take me to my average motorway speed, 90mph, in very very short time while being quiet and still responsive. The suspension eats up almost all of Michigan road imperfections without devouring the road feedback a driver needs to pilot his car safely and precisely, like I feel Mercedes does it.
Inside the car, you will find yourself in a world of fine leather and gorgeous wood accents. The 3-zone climate control, all heated seats and the 437-way power seats in the front provide enough comfort for 21 hours of non-stop driving without any aches and pains, the boot offers sufficient space to carry whatever you may need at the destination of the long drive. Should it be four golf bags, BMW provides instructions on how to properly load these. The spacious back seat holds adults even over 6’ tall comfortably, the manual blinds in the rear doors and the power blind in the rear window keep your passengers cool and increase the backseat privacy factor without obstructing visibility for the driver too greatly.
Running costs are what scare most people away from these cars. To some extent, it’s not untrue. However, I could drive both my 7ers the way they came, decided against that though. I’ve invested around $12,000 combined in improvements, preventive maintenance and bits I’ve deemed “necessary” such as new tail lights on both, wheels, window tints and more.
As far as costs directly related to driving it, the tank holds 22.5 US gallons of premium petrol, which can take you over 500 miles far, the fully synthetic oil needs changed every 9,000 miles, and runs around $120 at the dealer. Local oil service places are likely to do more bad than good, and the money saved will be spent on repairs on issues their incompetence caused. Otherwise, I find that service and maintenance doesn’t cost much more than it would for a Cadillac; it’s definitely more reasonable than a Mercedes.
I can recommend the BMW 740i/iL to the driver who appreciates a full-size luxury car with great performance and efficiency, and doesn’t have to worry about maintaining the car at a licensed BMW dealer (for the car’s sake). One must keep in mind, however, that these are high end luxury cars, and larger repairs are priced accordingly. Also, depending on your state, the car’s registration might be priced according to the new car value. In case of Michigan, that’s $260 for the 2001 740iL and $224 for the 1997 740i.
I hope this helps you decide whether or not the car is what you’re looking for. Good luck!
17th Dec 2014, 01:28
A friend of mine had a '98, put nearly 300K miles on it (with a top-end rebuild at 175K). Including numerous Chicago and Toronto winters. He considered it dead reliable, and in the long run one of the cheapest cars to maintain. Like all Euro cars, you need to keep up on the scheduled maintenance to avoid really costly problems. Congrats on a nice car - make that two!