The BMW 7 Series might catch your eye when searching for a luxury sedan.
However, not all model years of this prestigious line-up are created equal. Some years are notorious for issues that you should be aware of as a car buyer.
By knowing which BMW 7 Series years to avoid, you can make a more informed decision and avoid potential problems.
In this article, you’ll learn about some important factors to consider when looking for and smartly securing the best BMW 7 Series car.
- 1 Years to Avoid in BMW 7 Series
- 2 First Generation (1977-87)
- 3 Second Generation (1987-94)
- 4 Third Generation (1994-2001)
- 5 Fourth Generation (2001-08)
- 6 Fifth Generation (2009-2015)
- 7 Sixth Generation (2016-Present)
- 8 Common Issues in Problematic Years
- 9 Electrical Problems
- 10 iDrive System
- 11 Transmission Failure
- 12 Suspension Issues
- 13 Airbag System
- 14 Power Steering
- 15 Brakes
- 16 Factors Affecting Reliability
- 17 Engine Performance
- 18 Maintenance and Previous Owners
- 19 Climate and Driving Conditions
- 20 Mileage and Age
- 21 Alternatives to Problematic Models
- 22 Other BMW Sedans
- 23 Other Luxury Sedans
- 24 Current and Future BMW 7 Series
- 25 New Technologies and Features
- 26 Plug-In Hybrid and Electric Models
- 27 Frequently Asked Questions
- 28 Affordable 7 Series options?
- 29 Are used 7 Series worth it?
- 30 Best 750Li production year?
- 31 What is the high mileage for a BMW 7 Series?
- 32 Share this post:
Years to Avoid in BMW 7 Series
First Generation (1977-87)
There isn’t much information on widespread issues for the first-generation BMW 7 Series, so you can feel relatively safe considering these models.
Second Generation (1987-94)
During the second Generation, specifically from 1988-1998, 7 Series models like the 735i, 740i, and 750i experienced various problems.
These problems included electrical faults, fuel pump malfunctions, and leaky radiators. It’s wise to approach these years cautiously and thoroughly examine each unit before purchasing.
Third Generation (1994-2001)
The third Generation faced fewer issues compared to the second Generation. However, the 740i or 740 Li models did have a common problem: oil filter gasket leaks.
These leaks could lead to oil spillages and contamination. If you’re interested in a 740i or 740 Li from this Generation, thoroughly inspect and ensure the gasket is in good condition.
Fourth Generation (2001-08)
Out of the four years that the BMW 745 was in production, the 2003 model should be avoided. This model had numerous cooling system, engine, and steering defects.
Ensure you avoid the 2003 model year when looking at BMW 745 units from the fourth-generation 7 Series.
The E65 7 Series, available during this Generation, also experienced its share of issues. Be extra vigilant when researching these models to avoid potential pitfalls.
Fifth Generation (2009-2015)
The 5th Generation is known for having fewer issues and complaints than previous generations. However, it is still important to thoroughly assess any 7 Series model from this time frame, specifically the 750i, 750Li, 760i, and 760Li.
Sixth Generation (2016-Present)
Although the sixth Generation has not experienced widespread issues, it’s still essential to inspect each vehicle extensively, especially the 750i and 750Li models. As always, ensure you thoroughly test-drive and vet any car before making a purchase.
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Common Issues in Problematic Years
During the 1988-1998 generation of the BMW 7 series, models like the 735i, 740i, and 750i experienced a variety of electrical faults.
You may encounter issues such as malfunctioning dashboard displays or frequent blown fuses. Make sure to regularly inspect the electrical system, wiring, and connections to prevent any disruptions or costly repairs in the future.
The iDrive System is an in-car communications and entertainment hub. In some years of the 7 Series, you might face software glitches, freezing displays, or slow response times.
To ensure a smooth user experience, keep your iDrive System updated with the latest software, and be prepared for potential hardware replacements if needed.
Transmission failure can be a costly and frustrating issue. In certain years, the BMW 7 Series has been known to experience sudden transmission failures, which may lead to jerking, slipping, or complete power loss.
Regular maintenance and monitoring of your transmission fluid levels can help you catch any issues early and prevent major repairs.
The BMW 7 Series may suffer from suspension problems, such as noisy or deteriorating parts or total component failure.
To keep your car’s ride smooth and comfortable, inspect your suspension components regularly for signs of wear or damage, and replace them as needed.
Safety is paramount, and the airbag system in some BMW 7 Series models may experience faults or malfunctions.
Pay attention to the warning lights on your dashboard, and get your airbag system checked by a professional if you notice any irregularities.
Power steering is crucial for maneuvering your BMW 7 Series with ease. Power steering issues like leaks or mechanical failures can occur in certain years.
Keep an eye on your power steering fluid levels and seek professional assistance if you experience any power steering symptoms, such as heavy steering or unusual noises.
Brake issues, ranging from worn brake pads to damaged brake components, could arise in the 7 Series.
Regularly inspect your brake parts, replace worn components, and maintain adequate brake fluid levels to ensure a safe driving experience for you and your passengers.
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Factors Affecting Reliability
When considering a BMW 7 Series, knowing different engine options is important.
The V8 and V12 engines may offer more power, but they can also have a greater risk of reliability issues than more modest engines. For example, the 335i and 550i models have faced some problems.
Maintenance and Previous Owners
The reliability of a pre-owned BMW 7 Series depends heavily on its maintenance history and previous owners.
Always verify service records and warranty information to gauge how well the car has been cared for. Remember that your long-term costs may be higher in case of incomplete or improper maintenance.
Climate and Driving Conditions
Extreme climates and rough driving conditions can also affect the BMW 7 Series’ reliability. Icy or sandy environments can lead to more frequent repairs, while heavy city traffic may cause extra strain on the car’s systems. Be mindful of these factors when making your decision.
Mileage and Age
Lastly, consider the vehicle’s mileage and age. High-mileage vehicles, especially older models, are more likely to wear and tear.
As a general guideline, aim for a BMW 7 Series with lower miles and a more recent production year to benefit from the latest build quality and reliability improvements.
Alternatives to Problematic Models
Other BMW Sedans
To avoid problematic BMW 7 Series models, consider exploring other BMW sedans. The BMW 5 Series offers a more reliable option with lower repair and maintenance costs.
You’ll still enjoy the luxurious features and performance you expect from a BMW without the frequent issues plaguing some 7 Series models like the BMW 750Li.
Other Luxury Sedans
If you’re open to exploring other luxury sedans outside the BMW brand, consider Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Lexus options.
These brands offer competitive performance, styling, and features while maintaining a reputation for reliability.
For example, the Audi A6 and the Lexus LS have fewer reported issues with transmission and heat problems and better track records with doors and other components.
Consider the luxurious Alpina models, which offer a solid alternative to a used BMW 7 Series.
Current and Future BMW 7 Series
New Technologies and Features
The redesigned 2023 BMW 7 Series brings bolder styling and futuristic tech to upgrade your luxury sedan experience. You’ll enjoy a plusher cabin and more advanced features.
Plug-In Hybrid and Electric Models
BMW now offers the plugin hybrid and electric i7 models, giving you better fuel economy with powerful V8s for a perfect executive sedan choice. Embrace a greener future without sacrificing performance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Affordable 7 Series options?
There are affordable options available for pre-owned BMW 7 Series models. Consider researching the specific years and trims best suit your budget and preferences. Always prioritize well-maintained vehicles, as they are less likely to exhibit issues.
Are used 7 Series worth it?
Yes, a used BMW 7 Series can be worth it if you find a model that has been well-maintained and driven responsibly. Opt for vehicles with detailed maintenance records to ensure longevity.
Best 750Li production year?
While it’s difficult to single out a specific “best” production year, researching known issues with certain years will help you decide on a 750Li. Prioritize years with fewer problems and better reliability scores.
What is the high mileage for a BMW 7 Series?
A well-maintained BMW 7 Series can last 200,000 miles. However, what’s considered “high mileage” can vary depending on the previous owner’s age, maintenance history, and driving habits. Always have a trusted mechanic inspect the car before you commit to buying.