Which BMW 7 Series Years to Avoid & Why?(Problems Included)

BMW is widely mentioned as a reliable luxury vehicle choice, and the BMW 7 Series is the ultimate expression of luxury and performance from the renowned brand. Its impressive features, sophisticated design, and dynamic driving experience make it the BMW flagship. 

However, some editions did not meet expectations and should be best avoided. For example, the 1988-1998 generation was plagued with electrical problems, faulty fuel pumps, and leaky radiators. Models from 2008-2010 also had issues like a higher-than-average rate of transmission failure and other engine-related problems.

Let’s go into more detail on why you should avoid these model years and what they might cost you to repair.

Reasons to Avoid Specific BMW 7 Series Years

The BMW 7 Series is one of the most popular models in the German manufacturer’s lineup, offering a luxurious ride within an edgy and modern package. However, if you’re shopping for a used one, you should avoid certain years.

If you’re wondering why, here are the three common reasons you should cross off specific 7 Series models from consideration other than the frequently encountered problems.

Repair History and Warranty Coverage

Certain years have had numerous reports of faults with expensive components requiring short-term fixes or not easily fixed by do-it-yourself mechanics. Furthermore, these same vehicles may not be covered by existing warranties if something goes wrong down the line. 

While this isn’t necessarily true for every single year released since 1995 (when the 3 series evolved into its own entity), it pays to read up on reviews that dive deep into particular issues associated with each year before making a purchase decision.

Fuel Economy and Emission Standards

Some BMW 7 Series models released in the past decade could not meet stricter emission standards when they were introduced. For example, the 2007-2009 model years had significantly worse fuel economy than their predecessors and were therefore not as popular with consumers.

Additionally, the emissions equipment installed in these models was not as reliable or efficient as it should have been. Over time, this led to frequent repairs and replacements, resulting in expensive repair bills for unlucky owners. 

Resale Value

Another key factor in determining whether or not to pass on buying a particular year of BMW 7 Series car is resale value.

Specifically, ownership costs over time as depreciative assets lose their market worth quite rapidly compared to other vehicles like trucks or SUVs, which tend to hold onto more value after being purchased or used.

On average, compared to other luxury brands like Mercedes Benz and Lexus, units lose nearly half their value within the first three years of ownership.

For example, the 2008-2009 BMW 7 Series suffered heavily in resale value due to frequent and expensive repairs on transmission controls and fuel pump troubles.

Read Also: Which BMW X5 Years To Avoid & Why? Problems Explained

What Years of the BMW 7 Series Should You Avoid?

There’s no doubt the BMW 7 Series has a following among car enthusiasts and luxury drivers alike. But as mentioned already, it’s important to know which years are best avoided when looking for a pre-owned model. This is due to reliability and cost issues.

Here are the BMW 7 series model years you should avoid:

Model YearsFrequently Encountered Problems
1988-1998Electrical faults, fuel pump malfunctions, leaky radiators, transmission issues
2002-2003Brake, suspension, and electronics issues, fuel pump, and airbag system recalls
2005-2007Power steering, suspension, and brake issues, faulty software leading to unintended door and trunk openings
2008-2010Sensor malfunctions and data loss,  airbag deployment issues, transmission control, fuel pump, and navigation system problems

1988-1998 BMW 7 Series

The 1988-1998 generation of the BMW 7 series, which includes models such as the 735i, 740i, and 750i, has gained a blemish for being prone to various problems and defects. These include electrical faults, fuel pump malfunctions, and leaky radiators.

On multiple occasions, owners have also reported severe issues with the transmission system, like sudden gear shifts or transmission slipping.

2002-2003 BMW 7 Series

The 2002-2003 BMW 7 Series (E65) has earned a reputation for being unreliable and expensive. Owners of this series have reported consistent problems with their brakes, suspension, and electronics. The car also experienced numerous recalls due to fuel pumps and airbag system issues.

2005-2007 BMW 7 Series

BMW 7’s 2005-2007 model years included market winners like the 745i, 750i, and 760Li. Unfortunately, they also have their fair share of problems. These cars are known for having power steering, suspension, and brake issues. 

2005 was particularly notorious for its faulty software issue, which frequently led to unintended door openings and trunk openings that resulted in a high recall rate.

2008-2010 BMW 7 Series

The 2008-2010 BMW 7 Series (E65/E66) have had frequent cases of sensor malfunctions and data loss issues. In some instances, the car’s airbags deploy for no reason or do not deploy in the event of an accident. 

While there were several recalls from BMW due to transmission control, owners have also reported problems with the car’s fuel pump and navigation system.

Read Also: BMW X3 Windshield Replacement Cost: Model Wise All Possible Costs

The Average Costs of Repairing Any of These Models

Unfortunately, you may have to pay hefty repair costs if you buy a vehicle older than seven years. Here’s a chart of what it might cost you to fix any of the above model years, according to carcomplaints.com.

ProblemAverage Repair Cost
Electrical issue$100-$1,600+
Fuel pump replacement$1,500-$2,000+
Transmission $1,600-$3,500+
Radiator Replacement$700-$2,000+
Power steering $550-$1,700+
Airbag system $1,800-$2,500+
Navigation system$800-$1,500+

While these figures may not seem daunting for one-time repairs, they quickly add up if multiple repairs are necessary.

Read Also: What Type of Fuel Does BMW X3 Take? A Detailed Discussion!

Frequently Asked Questions

Below, we have answered some of the most commonly asked questions about avoiding certain BMW 7 Series model years.

What Should I Do If I Already Own One Of These Models?

You have two options if you own a BMW 7 series with known reliability or cost issues. You can maintain the car and make quality upgrades when issues arise or sell or trade it for a more reliable model. This will help you avoid future repair costs and ensure a reliable vehicle.

What Are Some Alternative Models I Should Consider?

Within the price range, the BMW 7 Series G11/G12 offers great value if you’re upgrading. Also, 2019-2020 BMW 745e hybrids deliver exceptional performance and a generous array of features. Other affordable options include the BMW 5 Series or the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Which Year Of The BMW 7 Series Is The Most Reliable?

According to various reports, the 2017 models are the most reliable BMW 7 Series currently on the market. They have fewer reported issues than the rest and offer superior performance, advanced safety features, and luxury amenities. They are also more affordable than the newer model years. 

What Is The Lifespan Of The BMW 7 Series?

It depends on what model and year you have. Generally, BMW 7 series can last up to 200,000 miles if they are well-maintained. However, if you purchase an older model, it will likely have more issues and need frequent repairs. You should do your research before buying a used BMW 7 Series. 


There are many reasons why BMW has such a good reputation. With every model generation, they seem to add more improvements while removing what did not work well with previous models.

In general, the 7 Series is a strong contender among luxury sedans. However, specific model years range from unimpressive to downright unfortunate, which’s why we’ve outlined the ones you should stay away from. 

So, if you are considering a 7 Series, do your research about the model year before purchasing and familiarize yourself with the common issues.  This will help you avoid costly repairs and long-term reliability issues.

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