Very expensive to maintain. After 100K miles, everything needs to be replaced: catalytic converters; O2 sensors, etc. AND... all are expensive. Cats are $4000 from BMW ($3200 for parts and $800 for labor); O2 sensors are >$100 each X 4. Even spark plugs, especially since there are 16 of them, are expensive. I had a scanner tool that connected to the 30 pin jack (under the hood) that allowed me to read and clear a lot of the settings; however, in order to CHANGE anything it required a visit to my dealer... at $120/hour. Through 6 years of ownership I spent $2500 for maintenance, which would have been $8500 through BMW ( I did most of the work myself). HOWEVER... the ride was great. Comfort was outstanding. Fuel mileage was a solid 25 MPG, with the fully loaded car going from Omaha to Phoenix with A/C running non-stop. Would EASILY go 128 MPH (limited by mfg) and would have gone faster if not for the speed limiter. Overall? A great 10 year old car for under $10,000; and, even considering the $2500 I spent on maintenance... it was well worth it. However, if I had to take it to the dealership for service? Not so much.
The car is wonderful. Comfortable, rides nice, engine, transmission and most components function and last very well. Purchase price is very reasonable, however, maintenance cost and upkeep are terrible, the car is fairly difficult to work on without the right knowledge. In my experience I have to constantly make sure everything is good, I've replaced many parts that are not cheap. I've mainly had most of my problems with the cooling system: blown radiator here, broken thermostat here, shot fan clutch here, etc. I would definitely recommend this car to anyone, just not as a daily driver or only car. It is comfortable, rides and drives nicely, but the maintenance cost and maintenance itself is just too much for a daily driver. Do not buy this car unless you are ready for the headache it may cause you.
First they are inexpensive to purchase. I own a 1998 740l, was skeptical at first, 130K miles on her but in pristine condition other than needing new shoes. Hands down the best car I've ever owned or driven long distance in. Smooth ride, adjustable comfortable seating, cold a/c, strong and still turns heads after almost 18 years. Original paint still looks great as does the leather interior. Doors are heavy, it's a touring car, weighing in at some 4200 lbs. Keep on top of her maintenance as you would any other machine and she'll treat you right. My problem is with parking lots and people bumping into her front and rear fenders. These are impact trip guards that are easily replaced. Forget the BMW dealer on parts, check out eBay and you'll find what you need way cheaper. Find a local mechanic who understands BMW's and you'll save a ton of money plus have a mechanic that knows your car. The digital display lose pixels but the instrument panel is perfect. For the price they are a steal and a piece of BMW history. Mine is my daily driver. Window regulators could be constructed stronger, plan on replacing these every few years, again eBay is the place to buy them. Like everything else, pick a good one.
Purchased the car in 1998 in NJ with 69 actual miles. She now has 190,000 and is in Fl and runs better than when I first bought. The warm weather has only made it better. The car has aged graceful and remains an eye catcher. I've had several other cars specifically BMW's but this E 38 is truly amazing the best vehicle ever, simply the best!
This is my second 750iL. The first one had a wiring harness that disintegrated and would not pass emission because of the harness not connecting the oBD-II socket. This car has been every bit as enjoyable as the first one. The only non maintenance item that I have had to replace are the window regulators. Other than that, just normal oil and filter changes. I have over 150,000 miles and it runs as strong as ever. 17mpg in town and 25mpg on the highway at 80mph. An awesome handling and comfortable car. It handles better than my S-class Mercedes.
Power and handling.
strengthen window regulators.
Front cup holder is a joke as everyone knows.