I fell in love with this car as soon as I saw it and I bought it without thinking twice. Big mistake!! Don't get me wrong, I still love this car but it is not for an average joe like me. It costs a lot and costs a lot more more just to maintain it. Every now and again problems creep up and every problem cost me more than a grand to fix. It's the best ride ever if you can afford it.
Powerful engine. Spacious interiors.
Too many electrical and mechanical design flaws. Bad suspensions. Bad radiator.
Once you've owned a 7, You really have truly arrived. Realistically you're driving a very sophisticated luxury sedan that is supposed to be maintained to spec. BMW did not market this car to those who could not afford the maintenance costs. I find that the most reliable examples of any BMW I've looked at or talked to people about seem to be the ones that have been maintained correctly, this doesn't mean just oil changes, I'm talking following the full maintenance schedule. With the proper care and love these cars will treat you well. It demands respect when you pull up to a gathering and defiantly has a lot of presence. Do not let the E38's minor issues deter you from owning one.
14 speaker DSP audio system, powerful, fuel efficient powertrain, fatigue-less seating. (I can drive over 300 miles and not have to get out and stretch. Amazing!)
BMW should have used an all aluminum radiator and expansion tank similar or exactly like the Zionsville one that is available as an aftermarket replacment. An electric fan, the fan clutches are too susceptible to failure and can cause fan blade failure.
I'm in college, purchased my car on eBay with 35k miles on it. I did my research and have had the expected issues - radiator, window regulator, cupholder, grills. I have used enthusiast message boards to find, fix, and do preventive maintenance. I now have 71K miles on it and everything works as it should. I love driving the car, it handles great and is wonderful for long road trips. I live on a tight budget and have been savvy enough to keep this car in order, which leads me to believe that anyone can. I think I'll see just how far this one will go. If you buy an older car, research it and spend some money doing preventative work like transmission flushes, etc. Mainly enjoy driving.
Bose sound system is great, window shades, trunk space, back seat room, ride, handling, style, M Parallel wheels!! Stay away from those basket weaves!
Already the happy owner of bulletproof-reliable Accord coupe 5-sp 1990 (still drive it daily!), 44 mpg Civic hatch, wanted to buy large luxo car w. great styling/performance. If DRIVING PLEASURE is a top priority, BMW 7 = the ONLY option. Got a great price due to the high gas prices at the time Bought it Oct 05, $10.5 k after the owner fixed and detailed the car. It gets 24+ MPG long highway high speed trips, 13-15 spirited city. What a bargain! And $10.5k is less than the 1st yr depreciation if you buy the fat, ugly new 7! I'd drive this car forever!
Other reviewers have listed many great features, I agree with all, I emphasize the perfect 50-50 weight distribution that lets it handle like a dream, as if on rails at corners at high speed. Engine is a really strong 4.4 lt v8, also great. Nav system and computer lots of fun. Stereo is great.
Reliability of the small stuff, Engine is largely quite reliable. CD changer in trunk got stuck after very mild use. Check engine light recurring, may have to fix gaskets at $800. So far spent next to nothing on this car after I bought it, but I am not fixing non-essential stuff. Just change oil.