Too bad you got a bad one. I have a 95 740iL...absolutely heaven and very trouble free. Sometimes the care a car is given counts, too.
These cars are just not well made. Lots of premature wear on everything.
I have to replace the fuel tank on my 2000 740i, as it had rusted through. Replacement is very expensive, as the whole rear suspension has to come down.
These cars eats radiators, the electronics have lots of problems. The adaptive cruise control in my car doesn't work, and the dealers don't know how to fix the problem or even what is wrong, for that matter. When they reset it, it worked for a week, then stopped working again.
The sat nav occasionally stops working, the sound system freezes and stops working.
This car has a complete service history and has been taken well care of. Seems to wear down rear tires in a heartbeat as well, and I do NOT drive it hard. I'm extremely careful with the car, and take good care of it.
Of course a car like this will cost more than a Corolla to own, that is not the issue. The issue is that a lot of things that could have been made a lot stronger break down prematurely. It's just not good enough for such an expensive car.
Of course there are people who are satisfied and haven't had any problems etc. You'll find people who haven't had any problems with literally ANY type of car. There are too many of these e38-cars with serious problems for it to pass as a well made car. The engines are quite durable, I'm happy to say, though. Otherwise there would be no reason to own such a car.
It is fun to drive, but no car is worth constant problems. And the risk with one of these is big. And I don't think Audi's are any better, for that matter. I know that some people experience a lot of problems with them as well. Cars CAN be more reliable than this, even if they are sophisticated.
Well on those BMWs of that time, people look over the fact that the radiators and other cooling parts are meant to be replaced at 90,000 miles for the radiator and around 60,000 miles for the thermostat and other cooling parts. So if those parts croak at 55,000-100,000 miles, that is the life span.
The E38 7 series is a total polar reviewed vehicle. Either people have no problems, and others have hell of a lot of problems. Sometimes lots of the problems seem suspect. Of course the BMW will be more expensive to maintain than a low level Toyota because 99.9% of the time it has more electronics, and thus more glitches, and these cars are getting old. No matter what car it is, BMW or not, it will eventually break, especially if people keep driving these things like rejected Pintos instead of maintaining them like they are suppose to.
Usually when maintained, and yes, it will cost a little bit of money, then they are fairly reliable. If not, of course it will stop working. What do ya expect to happen?
They just aren't reliable, even when well cared for. Far too many common problems. In general BMW has always made a lot of bad cars, actually. It is a misconception that BMW make such reliable cars.
Aside from a few reliable models, most of them turned out to be crap. That is the truth. But they make drivers cars, and that means that a lot of people love them for the driving experience etc. But looking at things objectively, they have had a lot of problems over the years.
It's not relevant that a lot of parts are meant to be replaced at a certain mileage. What's relevant is that a lot of these parts needs to be replaced after a shorter mileage than one should be able to expect. The fact that they are intended to be replaced at that relatively short mileage, only adds to the argument that the cars aren't made to be very reliable (even if the parts come from different manufacturers, the car manufacturer is partially responsible for the development of these parts).
The e38 has a LOT of cheap plastic everywhere. ABS-modules often break down (they're not exactly cheap), fuel tanks often needs replacing, transmissions often develop problems, all sorts of other electronic problems occur. The satnav is crap, and usually will break down sooner or later. The V8-engine is pretty solid, though, aside from the bolts/nuts on the oilpump that eventually can fall off, and in worst case scenario destroy the engine. This isn't so much of a problem if the owner is aware of it, though. But these problems occur even in cars that are well maintained.
It's just not good enough, but thanks to people who defend these meaningless breakdowns, BMW and other car manufacturers can continue without improving build quality and durability. They know people will still buy their cars.
For a person who really loves a car, every problem can be justified, not just normal wear and tear. Everything can be justified with "cars like this cost more than a normal cheap car to own". A true statement, but often misused to justify problems that really have no excuse.
I have a beautiful 2000 740i Sport Sedan. I paid $40,000 for it in 2003 from a little old lady who pampered the car. It had 17,000 miles on it. I thought I got a great buy on a great car, but wow have I been surprised.
Like everyone else has said, the quality of the interior is very poor. Leather color wears off fast, plastic parts break easy; too many to mention.
Engine starts leaking oil, valve cover gaskets (3 times so far, $800.00 each time), pan gasket, real seal, front pan seal, intake manifold leak, $$$$$$, and oh yeah, my AC evaporator coil leaked. Cost of this part was only $600.00, but they wanted $3,000 to install it at a local BMW dealer, so me and a buddy did it in my garage, and after 2 days we had it done.
The entire dash and everything in the dash, airbags etc.. There was nothing left in the car from the seats all the way to the firewall. How can someone design a car and put the AC Evaporator in a place that in virtually inaccessible?
Like many others have said, the navigation system is garbage, and breaks all the time, and the dealer could never fix the radio to work properly.
Now my suspension is gone for the second time.
Even though I have a mechanic now who is 1/3 cheaper for parts and labor, it is still very expensive to repair a car that sold new for over $75K.
Yes tires wear out at 12-14k.
I have spent several thousand $$$ on this car, and would absolutely never buy another one. Yes it is fast and did ride good until the entire rear suspension has gone. The engine may be great, and if you can afford all the repair bills, maybe you'll have fun driving your 740i. The fun went away for me a long time ago.
I have a 2005 Acura MDX that I paid $38,000 for new, and it has 75,000 miles on it, and I have yet to have one repair bill on that car. The one thing that always gets me is the people say at the local BMW dealership " if you can afford to drive a BMW 740i, you can afford the cost to maintain and repair it." That's what they told me the first (and last) time I took it to the dealership for it's 24,000 mile check up. Oh yeah I did get an oil change and new wiper blades, and the bill was only $600.00+ and everything else was fine. I guess I'll just have to live with an Acura.