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I've never owned a BMW, but my wife has always wanted one. It looks like I should be able to replace our old Maxima with a 2011 or 2012 750Li xDrive in good condition for around $15K - $20K.

What should I expect for average annual ownership costs, for about 10K miles/year? Is there anything I should watch out for?
 

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BMW V8's are trouble.

It depends on the mileage. You want one with low mileage, and they're out there.

7's were built in much lower volumes than 3's. So, all the parts will be more expensive.

I'm budgeting $2500/12.k miles in maintenance and repairs for my 535i from 50k to 100k miles.

The bigger BMW's depreciate faster than the smaller ones. Figure a minimum of 15%/year, but likely more like 20%/year.
 

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^ +1

Honestly if you want a BMW get one with a 6cyl. The 6cyl engines are bulletproof. The V8s ... ehhh. You’re better off with a 3 series. Parts are not hard to find because they made far more of those. They also have less gizmos that’ll fail. Went my blower fan broke, I got one within 2 hours and it was cheap. Just $120 including my employee discount. $155 without it. I’ve owned a Honda, a Nissan and a VW and my cost of ownership isn’t that far apart.


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Thanks Autoputzer, but whatever replaces our Maxima needs to have a back seat big enough for my 3 sons, ages 15, 12, & 10. The Maxima's back seat is wide enough for 3 adults and has lots of legroom back there too. If you can show me the 3-series that fits that description, I'm interested. Otherwise I figured I was looking for a 7-series L.

Did they make a 7-Series L XDrive with a V6? How much trouble are the V8s?
 

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+1 on 6 cylinder. One thing you should check on is insurance premium cost on any 7 series as this may be double or triple of Maxima's insurance cost. My X5 same year is half to insure compare to 7 series.
Also please check for independent bmw service shop availability in your area as servicing it at the dealership will get you broke.
 

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Thanks Autoputzer, but whatever replaces our Maxima needs to have a back seat big enough for my 3 sons, ages 15, 12, & 10. The Maxima's back seat is wide enough for 3 adults and has lots of legroom back there too. If you can show me the 3-series that fits that description, I'm interested. Otherwise I figured I was looking for a 7-series L.

Did they make a 7-Series L XDrive with a V6? How much trouble are the V8s?
Yes X drive is available in both 740 and 750.
750 V8 is lots of trouble compare to I6 especially model year you looking at. Search this forum and make wise decision when buying either one.
 

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I've never owned a BMW, but my wife has always wanted one. It looks like I should be able to replace our old Maxima with a 2011 or 2012 750Li xDrive in good condition for around $15K - $20K.

What should I expect for average annual ownership costs, for about 10K miles/year? Is there anything I should watch out for?
If you want a V8, but at least a 2014 or newer year, the older N63 engine has had lots of problems.
 

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SUV's are more space efficient than sedans. I can put a six-pack ice chest in the floor behind the front seats in Frau Putzer's compact X3, but not in my mid-size 535i. BMW's, mostly RWD with enough room under the hood for an in-line six cylinder engine, have less leg room than similarly sized FWD cars. Frau Putzer's old Honda Accord had more legroom than my 535i.

This is BMW blasphemy, but I'd suggest looking at an X5. They come with mostly in-line six cylinder engines and V8's. The relatively rare X5 40e has a four-cylinder engine. I'd strongly also suggest sticking with the in-line six cylinder engine. The X5's interior is just as wide as a 7 Series, and with upright seating you will have sufficient legroom, although not as much as in a stretched 7 Series. The last 7 was only sold in the U.S. with the longer wheelbase, having more rear leg room.
 

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My advice? There are two types of BMW drivers. Those that just want it because "it's a BMW" and those that want it because they have a passion for driving.

If you (or your wife) is the former, you probably won't like these cars, they just generally aren't very reliable, esp if you're used to a Maxima (which in of itself has one of the lowest scores among the Japanese brands). You'll have very little patience for when things go wrong. Invest in your kids 529 plan instead and get a Lexus.

If you're the latter and you love driving, you'll be much more patient when things do break and because it's BMW, they WILL break. Things that you can't even imagine breaking, will break and aren't cheap to fix. You won't be able to afford a 529 plan, lol, but you won't care because of the pleasure it gives you.

Including regular maintenance, I'd say put away around 2k/yr to maintain it (assuming you drive 15K or more a year). Of course, if you only drive 5k/yr, your maintenance will be much lower (kind of. Unlike Japanese cars, the plastics, rubbers and gaskets on BMWs degrade quickly, even when just parked).
 

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My advice? There are two types of BMW drivers. Those that just want it because "it's a BMW" and those that want it because they have a passion for driving.

If you (or your wife) is the former, you probably won't like these cars, they just generally aren't very reliable, esp if you're used to a Maxima (which in of itself has one of the lowest scores among the Japanese brands). You'll have very little patience for when things go wrong. Invest in your kids 529 plan instead and get a Lexus.

If you're the latter and you love driving, you'll be much more patient when things do break and because it's BMW, they WILL break. Things that you can't even imagine breaking, will break and aren't cheap to fix. You won't be able to afford a 529 plan, lol, but you won't care because of the pleasure it gives you.

Including regular maintenance, I'd say put away around 2k/yr to maintain it (assuming you drive 15K or more a year). Of course, if you only drive 5k/yr, your maintenance will be much lower (kind of. Unlike Japanese cars, the plastics, rubbers and gaskets on BMWs degrade quickly, even when just parked).


I’m going to second what was said here and in the posts above. I have a 2013 750i x drive. And while I’ve been lucky (so far) even routine items are pricey. Plus you always know that in a way the entire thing is a ticking bomb that may or may not go off. So three things if you buy the 750 or 740. Have an extended warranty or put money aside for repair. Have a good independent shop for routine maintenance (be advised my good shop quoted me $1139.30 for front brakes out the door, that’s a fair price imho). Lastly, have a backup car I have a 2015 Acura tlx I can drive and is very reliable. And yes to fully insure the 750 is much more than Acura.

I like the Acura. I LOVE my BMW. She treats me bad sometimes and I always come back. It’s an abusive relationship.

Good luck.


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I’m going to second what was said here and in the posts above. I have a 2013 750i x drive. And while I’ve been lucky (so far) even routine items are pricey. Plus you always know that in a way the entire thing is a ticking bomb that may or may not go off. So three things if you buy the 750 or 740. Have an extended warranty or put money aside for repair. Have a good independent shop for routine maintenance (be advised my good shop quoted me $1139.30 for front brakes out the door, that’s a fair price imho). Lastly, have a backup car I have a 2015 Acura tlx I can drive and is very reliable. And yes to fully insure the 750 is much more than Acura. ( I guess that’s 4 things)

I like the Acura. I LOVE my BMW. She treats me bad sometimes and I always come back. It’s an abusive relationship.

Good luck.


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Did they make a 7-Series L XDrive with a V6? How much trouble are the V8s?
Pre-LCI V8 models from 2009-2012 have the notoriously problematic N63 engine. LCI V8 models are better, but 2013 models have problems with piston rings that requires engine replacement to fix. Look for a 2013+ 740Li, CPO if possible, from out-of-state. You'll find that it's much cheaper to buy and ship from CA.

I see that you're in Bellevue, so I can give you a bit more local info on ownership costs. BMW Seattle has much more reasonable prices than BMW Bellevue, and I figured I would take my business to BMW Seattle instead of constantly trying to get them to price match. They are right off I-90, so you don't really have to deal with downtown traffic. With their engine oil, brake fluid, and coolant change coupons, most of your routine maintenance can be done at the dealer for a reasonable cost. For more expensive maintenance items like brakes and rotors, you can go to Signature Independent in Kirkland, Strictly BMW in Bellevue, or Eastside Bavarian in Issaquah.

I don't know if xDrive is a must-have requirement, but since you mentioned it, I would say avoid it if possible. Having good summer and winter tires is much more important for wet traction than the number of drive wheels, and the only time when you really might need xDrive would be during the past two weeks (though I did fine with RWD, only got stuck once just below my driveway in 6" of snow and had to shovel and install AutoSocks). Having xDrive adds a transfer case in the drivetrain, which is one more thing that can break in the future, as well as additional fluid changes (transfer case fluid, as well as power steering fluid as xDrive cars have hydraulic power steering instead of EPS).

In terms of maintenance schedule, you're probably looking at something like this if you want the car to last for more than 120K miles:

  • Engine Oil: 7,500 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first
  • Brake Fluid: 24 months
  • Coolant: 36-48 months
  • Battery: 24-48 months, depending on driving patterns
  • Brakes: 3-7 years, depending on how much engine braking you use. I can go more than 7 years with Akebono pads because of engine braking from the V8.
  • Transmission Fluid: 45,000 miles to 60,000 miles, including replacing the pan/filter (following the lifetime fluid recommendation means you'll be changing the fluid with the transmission at some point in the future :))
  • Differential/Transfer Case/Power Steering Fluid: Same as transmission fluid

As you can see, the list above isn't all that bad. The main wildcard are repairs, and being able to DIY some repairs, even if it's just diagnosing problems and clearing errors using ISTA, will save you a lot of money. Sometimes errors pop up once and never come back, so if you bring it to the dealer, they're probably going to do the same thing you would do, except charge you an hour of labor for diagnosis. The F01/F02 platform can be one of the least unreliable ones in recent years with the right drivetrain (ie. 2015 740i vs. 2009 750Li xDrive), so if you're prepared to do some research, purchase parts online, and maybe get your hands dirty every once in a while, ownership costs can certainly be manageable.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks all -- I'll avoid the V8, especially that one. I see the going price goes up significantly when I rule out that engine. Also I see that even in the long version and with AWD, the 6-cylinder is plenty fast enough for us.

MarekBMW: Thanks, I'll be sure to price insurance on it before going there.

Autoputzer: Thanks for the suggestion about the X5, and 3rd-row seating could certainly come in handy for us, but my wife doesn't want any SUV. Doesn't matter if it's a hybrid like the Toyota Highlander, doesn't matter if it's really a car that just looks like an SUV. If it has the general image of an SUV, it's not on the table. Basically because some of her friends and relatives would be mad about it, I think.

aom: Though she enjoys a fun-to-drive car, my wife is definitely in the "it's a BMW" category -- as far as I can divine from her, BMWs are cool because they're cool, end of discussion, so where's my latte? But I'm not sure about your suggestion of a Lexus. That would mean a Lexus LS, and by all accounts, those old enough to be in my price range, though nice luxury cars, are not a whole lot more fun to drive than a Buick Roadmaster. Regarding maintenance costs, your suggestion of $2K/year for 15K miles/year doesn't sound bad to me; less than I would have guessed. It's probably not much more than I've paid total other than routine maintenance in 15 years of owning the Maxima, but I thought I'd hear something more like $5-$10K/year for an older BMW 7-series.

That 7 Guy: Thanks, our backup is a Toyota Sienna minivan. One of my favorite features is how the DVD player keeps the kids quiet even on long trips!

Robin750: Thanks, I think I'll print your answer out and frame it. Lots of great information. But I'm still leaning toward AWD anyway. Though we don't get much snow most years, we get black ice more often. On hills of course, and I live in a neighborhood that even has "Hills" as part of its name. I like how AWD combined with winter tires turns the Sienna into a mountain goat. I carry around 4 chains for it but have never needed them. We also often cross Snoqualmie Pass in the winter to visit relatives, but the BMW probably wouldn't be called on for that duty.

Thanks again everyone. Since the very attractive prices I was seeing were for an engine to be avoided (makes so much sense now that I understand that), I think we'll stick with the Maxima for a while. Maybe a newer model year. But someday a BMW for her.
 

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But I'm still leaning toward AWD anyway. Though we don't get much snow most years, we get black ice more often. On hills of course, and I live in a neighborhood that even has "Hills" as part of its name. I like how AWD combined with winter tires turns the Sienna into a mountain goat. I carry around 4 chains for it but have never needed them. We also often cross Snoqualmie Pass in the winter to visit relatives, but the BMW probably wouldn't be called on for that duty.
Keep an eye out for a 2013 or newer 740Li xDrive, I think they're about $30K now. Older models weren't offered with xDrive and the N54 engine did have some issues, so you'll want an LCI model anyways.
 

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OP, sticking with the Maxima is probably your best bet.

I would say though, (esp. since you said your wife is more of a "it's a BMW" type) down the road, you might want to look into an LS460 SWB AWD (or even LWB AWD if that's you're thing). Super reliable, comfortable, very safe and actually, is on par with a 740i as far as driving goes (as far as the average driver's perspective). The only exception is if you get a 740i with the Anti-Roll Stabalization.. but those are pretty much impossible to find. I had an 08 LS460 LWB and enjoyed it for what it was.
 

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Just go and buy a used certified BMW from a dealer and buy the maintenance agreement. Pay $2600 up front and everything is covered so you have to only pay for gas and tires.
 

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Just go and buy a used certified BMW from a dealer and buy the maintenance agreement. Pay $2600 up front and everything is covered so you have to only pay for gas and tires.
Please explain what is actually covered by $2600 maintenance plan you mentioned other than few oil changes, filters and wiper blades inserts????

I would discourage anybody to waste their $$$ on maintenance plan by BMW as it will not cover any major maintenance items such as "lifetime" fluid changes i.e. ATF, differentials or transfer case etc.

Put that $$$ aside and spend it wisely on proper maintenance discussed here on this forum.
 

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Hi, GregL65. It's terrific that this forum affords people the ability to benefit from the wisdom and experience of BMW enthusiasts! I'm in a similar, but somewhat different, situation than you. I plan to purchase a new 740iX, and keep it (as I do with all of my cars) for 10-to-12 years. However, I've never owned a BMW (Lexus, Subaru, Honda). For me, the maintenance and repair costs after the manufacturer's and the extended warranty period are over, are of particular concern. Based on your plan to purchase a used 7, our concern regarding future maintenance and repair costs, as this car ages, are in-line. From what I've found in my research, normal wear-and-tear items, such as valve-cover gasket replacement, Vanos mtce, suspension mtce, AC repairs, etc., are not uncommon after years 5-6-or-7 and beyond, depending on one's driving style and (possibly) luck. In addition, there are always the normal expenses associated with tire and brake maintenance, as an example, which, for this vehicle, are also somewhat more expensive. I personally feel that these repair and maintenance items are not unique to the 7 series, but the 7 is clearly a very complex vehicle and things can break, with the cost for the parts and labor is higher than the "average" car. For my personal planning, starting around year 6-or-7 of my ownership, I plan to budget for one serious repair per year, at a cost of around $3000 to $4000 per year, plus an additional $1000 for normal maintenance. This is based on everything I've been able to learn from a variety of people who have experience in actually owning and maintaining a BMW.

PS: Good luck in your purchase. Unless you are very skilled in vehicle repairs, and are fully knowledgeable of what to look for in a used 7 series, it might be a good idea to get whatever car you decide to buy checked at by a reputable mechanic first.
 

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7 series issues

I’m going to go against the tide. I’ve owned two 7s, both of which I bought used when they had a few months and a few thousand miles left on he original factory warranty. One was a 2008 750Li that I picked up in 2012, and the one I have now, a 2012 750i I bought in 2016. Loved the 2008, and still like the 2012. Yes, they can be expensive to maintain and insure. But they are great road trip cars. I routinely drive out west where it’s empty, and usually do anywhere from 90 to 110 mph. It feels like you’re doing 70. The back seats on both of my 7s, especially the Li, are huge - your kids won’t have any room in the backseat of any 3 series. And both have ample trunk space for bags and the kids stuff.

The N63 V8 (which is on my 2012) has had overheating issues. Fortunately, mine has not. There was a recent class action settlement that was actually a real win for consumers. If you had problems you could even get a new engine at a reduced price if necessary even if your factory warranty had expired. You need check the maintenance history to see if whatever car you’re looking at has had the free test offered for affected models. If you don’t have a good or complete history, get the VIN and call BMW NorthAmerica and they can tell you. Google “BMW N63 settlement” and you can find the information on the N63 issues.

I personally feel the newer 7s, which are powered by a twin turbo 6, are underpowered. These cars are big and heavy and need a V8 IMHO.
 

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I personally feel the newer 7s, which are powered by a twin turbo 6, are underpowered. These cars are big and heavy and need a V8 IMHO.
I think this is only true if you drive the 740i and 750i back-to-back. If you look purely at the engine's specs and 0-60 numbers, you can see that the N55 in the LCI 740i (and even N54 in the pre-LCI with the 6-speed transmission) basically puts out the same amount of power as the N62 in our E65s and has an equal or less 0-60 time.

Though I must say...after I drove around in a 760Li, the V8 felt a bit weak. ;)
 
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