How Long Do BMW 7 Series Last? (12 Important Facts)

Launched in 1977, the 7 Series exudes high status with its excellent performance, plush interior, and classy exterior styling.

In this article we’ll take a closer look at its average lifespan and reliability.

Here is the short answer to how long the BMW 7 Series lasts:

The BMW 7 Series should last for around 200,000 miles on average when maintained properly and with good driving habits, although they could potentially last longer. Considering the average U.S driver drives 15,000 miles per year, a 7 Series should last you 13 years.

How Many Miles Can You Expect from a BMW 7 Series?

The BMW 7 Series has been around since the late ’70s and so there’s plenty of industry data to look at when considering its longevity.

On second-hand car sites such as Car Gurus and AutoTrader, you’ll find lots of models with just shy of 200,000 miles on the clock, although keep in mind that not all will make it this far.

And sure they can last longer if you keep throwing money at them but once the warranty is gone they are very expensive to fix if something goes wrong.

On average, once you hit 200k miles you’ll probably want an upgrade.

This can be for a number of reasons such as:

  • Requiring a repair that outweighs the value of the vehicle
  • Despite constant repairs the car remains unreliable
  • You might just be bored of the car and want something new

Some owners we encountered have cruised right past 200k, although the emphasis here is that if you want your BMW to last this long you have to go above and beyond the factory recommended maintenance as this is considered the bare minimum.

This means keeping all your filters and fluids fresh and of high-quality, preferably synthetic. Oil changes are critical for longevity and there’s no harm having more frequent oil changes.

Longevity is determined by:

  • Climate: Some BMW buyers look for used vehicles in states (at least in the US) with little or no snow and moderate temperatures.
  • Driving habits: Smoothe use of gas and brake pedals keeps wear and tear on major parts to a minimum
  • Maintenance: Cannot be stressed enough, especially for a BMW.
  • Luck: This can either work in your favour or against you.

Do BMW 7 Series Rust Easily?

Rust on new BMW’s is rarely an issue. Due to the use of high-quality paints and materials and the under-body of the car being galvanized and sealed, a 7 Series BMW is not expected to rust for a very long time.

The BMW 7 Series has got a few known problems but fortunately, rust is not something you will need to worry about.

If you’re buying a relatively new 7 Series then you can rest assured your car has some of the industry’s best rust protection.

Rust on a new 7 Series is out of the ordinary and additional rust protection treatments are not recommended.

Keep in mind environmental conditions can play a key role in how soon you’ll encounter rust:

  • Coastal regions, where salty ocean air harms the paint and corrodes metal parts.
  • Areas that aggressively salt the roads in the winter – again, the salt and chemical agents used can wreak havoc on your vehicle.
  • Areas with lots of rainfall and high humidity; moisture will speed up rusting.

To help keep your 7 Series rust-free, we advise:

  • Clean your car properly and regularly – Especially after exposure to rain, dirt, snow and salt. Be sure to get the underside of the vehicle too.
  • Storage – If possible, keep your car stored in a garage out of the elements. 
  • Repair damaged paint spots and scratches – Exposed metal will oxidize

All new BMWs come with a 12-year / unlimited miles corrosion / rust warranty.

What is High Mileage for a BMW 7 Series?

A BMW 7 Series with over 100,000 miles is considered high mileage. This can equate to a riskier purchase because of a higher chance of problems arising and the car being out of warranty.

Purchasing a high mileage 7 Series can be risky business, if you encounter any significant problems then you’ll need to be financially prepared to pay for the repairs.

It won’t necessarily equate to a bad purchase, but it’s essential that the car has been well looked after, and mileage will only give some indication of the car’s value and condition.

Full-service history is essential – and you’ll find a lot of people in forums who swear by their rule that they’ll never buy a BMW out of warranty.

If you’re buying a used BMW 7 Series, consider the following:

  • Maintenance history. Check that the car was properly serviced and the owner can provide evidence.
  • Get a second opinion. Take it to an independent auto repair shop or a mechanic who specializes in German cars.
  • Check for rust. Rust is a problem that will spread. It’s always a good idea to look under the car.
  • Number of previous owners. As a general rule, less is better. More owners usually equate to more wear-and-tear.
  • How long you are planning on keeping the car. If you’re planning on keeping the car for a long time, evaluate whether the short-term savings outweigh spending extra on something more reliable.
  • Examine the interior. The condition of the interior tells the story of how well the car was maintained and cared for.
  • Inspect engine for obvious leaks and obvious damage. If the engine looks immaculately clean, it means it was washed. The question is why? Most likely to hide oil leaks and similar nasty problems.

Related: 11 Common BMW 7 Series Problems (Explained)

How Long Does the BMW 7 Series Last Compared to Similar Car Models?

In this section we’ll compare the 7 Series to some of its closest competitors.

BMW 7 Series vs. Mercedes S Class

the S Class Benz is a state-of-the-art luxury sedan for those that want to be noticed, it has been competing with the 7 Series since the seventies.

The BMW 7 Series and Mercedes S Class should both last around 200,000 miles on average or 13 years.

BMW 7 SeriesMercedes S Class
RepairPal Reliability Rating2.0/5.02.0/5.0
RepairPal Reliability Ranking 26th / 30
Luxury Fullsize Cars
25th / 30
Luxury Fullsize Cars
Average Annual Repair Cost $1,027$1,249

Choosing between these cars is no easy option and it will ultimately come down to which brand you are most loyal to and you can expect similar levels of reliability from both cars.

Auto reviewers have noted that the S Class interior doesn’t feel as modern as the 7 Series although it is more comfortable.

In terms of fuel economy, the S Class has significantly better mileage.

BMW 7 Series vs. Audi A8

The A8 is Audi’s answer to the 7 Series, offering a bold design, high performance and a luxurious cabin.

The Audi A8 should last 150,000 – 200,000 miles or 10 – 13 years on average.

BMW 7 SeriesAudi A8
RepairPal Reliability Rating2.0/5.01.5/5.0
RepairPal Reliability Ranking 26th / 30
Luxury Fullsize Cars
28th / 30
Luxury Fullsize Cars
Average Annual Repair Cost $1,027$1,298

If you’re looking for a luxury sedan, you can’t go wrong with either a BMW or Audi.

The 7 Series offers higher performance however the A8 boasts the freshest looks and latest tech.

Most buyers will feel better cruising in a BMW than an Audi although we’d advise taking both for a test drive.

BMW 7 Series vs. Lexus IS

The IS is a compact executive car from Toyota’s luxury division, Lexus.

The Lexus IS can last 250,000 – 300,000 miles or 17 – 20 years, greater than what is expected of the BMW 7 Series. 

BMW 7 SeriesLexus IS
RepairPal Reliability Rating2.0/5.04.0/5.0
RepairPal Reliability Ranking 26th / 30
Luxury Fullsize Cars
7th / 31
Luxury Midsize Cars
Average Annual Repair Cost $1,027$487

The Lexus IS will undoubtedly be more reliable, fuel-efficient and last longer than the average 7 Series, although it won’t offer the same driving experience, levels of tech or comfort.

You may also be interested in our article: How Long Does the Lexus IS Last?

Comparison Chart

BMW 7 SeriesMercedes S ClassAudi A8Lexus IS
Annual Repair Cost$1,445$1,249$1,298$487
Reliability Rating2.0/5.02.0/5.01.5/5.04.0/5.0
Reliability Ranking26th / 30
Luxury Fullsize Cars
25th / 30
Luxury Fullsize Cars
28th / 30
Luxury Fullsize Cars
7th / 31
Luxury Midsize Cars
Lifespan (miles)200k200k150k-200k250k-300k

Is the BMW 7 Series Reliable?

The BMW 7 Series is not best known for its reliability and it has received mixed reviews from the major auto review websites. In general, the newer models are expected to be more reliable.

Consumer Reports has ranked BMW in 17th place out of 28 car manufacturers, and it’s no secret that BMWs aren’t the most reliable vehicles.

Owners usually opt for these cars for their high performance and the status that comes with owning one.

Having said this, in recent years, JD Power has given the 7 Series glowing reliability reports although they don’t have data on file for older models:

Model YearJ.D Power Quality & Reliability Score
202283/100 Great
202183/100 Great
202082/100 Great
201989/100 Great

Repair Pal has given the 7 Series a dismal 2.0 / 5.0 and this takes into account all models years.

With all these mixed reviews it’s best to be prepared for some issues when considering buying one.

If you’re within the warranty period you won’t have to worry too much although outside of the warranty period repairs will be expensive.

Reliability is also dependent on how well you maintain the vehicle, and if it’s a used car, how well the previous owner maintained it.

BMW usually recommends that you change the oil every 15,000 miles or 12 months although you might be better off doing it every 5,000 miles to be on the safe side.

Reliability Compared to Other Luxury Cars

ModelReliability 
Acura RL4.0 / 5.0
Lincoln Town Car4.0 / 5.0
Lexus GS3504.0 / 5.0
Volvo S804.0 / 5.0
Infiniti M373.5 / 5.0
Infiniti M353.5 / 5.0
Hyundai Genesis3.5 / 5.0
Audi A63.5 / 5.0
Lexus LX5703.5 / 5.0
Lexus LS4603.5 / 5.0
Cadillac XTS3.5 / 5.0
Mercedes-Benz E3503.5 / 5.0
BMW 528i3.5 / 5.0
Cadillac DTS3.0 / 5.0
Mercedes-Benz CLS5502.5 / 5.0
Mercedes-Benz E5502.5 / 5.0
Audi A6 Quattro2.5 / 5.0
BMW 535i2.5 / 5.0
Jaguar XJ2.5 / 5.0
BMW 528i xDrive2.5 / 5.0
Hyundai Equus2.0 / 5.0
Mercedes-Benz SL5502.0 / 5.0
BMW 535i xDrive2.0 / 5.0
BMW 650i2.0 / 5.0
Mercedes-Benz S5502.0 / 5.0
BMW 750Li2.0 / 5.0
Audi A7 Quattro2.0 / 5.0
Audi A8 Quattro1.5 / 5.0
BMW 550i1.5 / 5.0
Porsche Panamera0.5 / 5.0
Avg. Lux. Fullsize Car 2.5

Data Source: Repair Pal

The Best and Worst Years for the BMW 7 Series

Data is quite thin for these models but we’ve taken a look at Car Complaints and Car Problem Zoo to draw our conclusions.

Worst Model Year

The worst model years for the BMW 7 Series are 2012, 2006 and 2004.

According to reports on Car Complaints, the engine on the 2012 7 Series was prone to seizing and consuming excess oil.

This vehicle has a “care package” which in other words is a recall by BMW on major engine components.

According to data from Car Problem Zoo, 2006 and 2004 were also bad years for the 7 Series with many owners complaining of power train issues and engine cooling issues.

A common complaint is that the vehicle would shake excessively and then stall without warning, this was related to a problem with the Automatic Transmission Control Module.

Best Model Year

The BMW 7 Series from 2020 and onwards are the best model years, they have the highest J.D. Power scores and have the latest features and technology.

Buying a newer model or one within the warranty period is always a smart idea when buying a beamer.

The latest 7 Series models have received good scores from auto review sites and Consumer Reports gave the 2022 model a 99/100 score for its road test, a predicted reliability score of 3/5, and a predicted owner satisfaction score of 4/5.

Standard features on 2020, 2021 and 2022 models include:

  • Heated front seats
  • Heated front armrests
  • A heated steering wheel
  • A built-in dash cam
  • Remote start 

The 2022 model also has the option of a remote-control parking feature as a stand-alone option.

What About Recalls for These Models?

The BMW 7 Series has had a total of 91 recall campaigns since 1999.

You can check if your BMW has been subjected to a recall campaign by entering your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) on BMW’s website on their recall page.

Recalls are manufacturing faults that impact safety, they are repaired by the manufacturer at no cost to the owner.

Here is the total number of recall campaigns for every model year of the BMW 7 Series:

  • 2022 BMW 7 Series: 0 
  • 2021 BMW 7 Series: 5
  • 2020 BMW 7 Series: 8 
  • 2019 BMW 7 Series: 1 
  • 2018 BMW 7 Series: 0
  • 2017 BMW 7 Series: 0
  • 2016 BMW 7 Series: 2
  • 2015 BMW 7 Series: 4 
  • 2014 BMW 7 Series: 4
  • 2013 BMW 7 Series: 4
  • 2012 BMW 7 Series: 4 
  • 2011 BMW 7 Series: 4 
  • 2010 BMW 7 Series: 4
  • 2009 BMW 7 Series: 4
  • 2008 BMW 7 Series: 9 
  • 2007 BMW 7 Series: 14
  • 2006 BMW 7 Series: 15
  • 2005 BMW 7 Series: 0
  • 2004 BMW 7 Series: 0
  • 2003 BMW 7 Series: 0
  • 2002 BMW 7 Series: 0
  • 2001 BMW 7 Series: 6
  • 2000 BMW 7 Series: 2
  • 1999 BMW 7 Series: 1

BMW 7 Series Model Year List

First Generation (1977-1985)

  • 1977 BMW 7 Series
  • 1978 BMW 7 Series
  • 1979 BMW 7 Series
  • 1980 BMW 7 Series
  • 1981 BMW 7 Series
  • 1982 BMW 7 Series
  • 1983 BMW 7 Series
  • 1984 BMW 7 Series
  • 1985 BMW 7 Series

Second Generation (1986-1993)

  • 1986 BMW 7 Series
  • 1987 BMW 7 Series
  • 1988 BMW 7 Series
  • 1989 BMW 7 Series
  • 1990 BMW 7 Series
  • 1991 BMW 7 Series
  • 1992 BMW 7 Series
  • 1993 BMW 7 Series

Third Generation (1994-2000)

  • 1994 BMW 7 Series
  • 1995 BMW 7 Series
  • 1996 BMW 7 Series
  • 1997 BMW 7 Series
  • 1998 BMW 7 Series
  • 1999 BMW 7 Series
  • 2000 BMW 7 Series

Fourth Generation (2001-2008)

  • 2001 BMW 7 Series
  • 2002 BMW 7 Series
  • 2003 BMW 7 Series
  • 2004 BMW 7 Series
  • 2005 BMW 7 Series
  • 2006 BMW 7 Series
  • 2007 BMW 7 Series
  • 2008 BMW 7 Series

Fifth Generation (2009-2014)

  • 2009 BMW 7 Series
  • 2010 BMW 7 Series
  • 2011 BMW 7 Series
  • 2012 BMW 7 Series
  • 2013 BMW 7 Series
  • 2014 BMW 7 Series

Sixth Generation (2015-Present)

  • 2015 BMW 7 Series
  • 2016 BMW 7 Series
  • 2017 BMW 7 Series
  • 2018 BMW 7 Series
  • 2019 BMW 7 Series
  • 2020 BMW 7 Series
  • 2021 BMW 7 Series
  • 2022 BMW 7 Series

Are BMW 7 Series Expensive to Maintain?

A BMW 7 Series will be fairly expensive to own and maintain, according to Repair Pal it will cost you around $1,000 a year in repair costs. German luxury cars typically have above average ownership costs as they are often less reliable and therefore more prone to repairs, and also because parts are more expensive.

ModelAvg. Annual 
Repair Cost
Frequency of
Unscheduled Repairs
(per year)
Probability of
Severe Repairs
Acura RL$5390.410%
Lincoln Town Car$6350.212%
Lexus GS350$5920.69%
Volvo S80$7050.59%
Infiniti M37$6280.69%
Infiniti M35$6050.611%
Hyundai Genesis$5650.614%
Audi A6$9130.312%
Lexus LX570$8320.89%
Lexus LS460$7670.613%
Cadillac XTS$8750.413%
Mercedes-Benz E350$7880.613%
BMW 528i$8250.912%
Cadillac DTS$7570.418%
Mercedes-Benz CLS550$9850.815%
Mercedes-Benz E550$1,0590.714%
Audi A6 Quattro$1,0561.112%
BMW 535i$9771.016%
Jaguar XJ$1,2320.516%
BMW 528i xDrive$9841.413%
Hyundai Equus$9761.020%
Mercedes-Benz SL550$1,0550.920%
BMW 535i xDrive$1,1231.416%
BMW 650i$1,0121.123%
Mercedes-Benz S550$1,2491.020%
BMW 750Li$1,0271.123%
Audi A7 Quattro$1,2511.614%
Audi A8 Quattro$1,2981.120%
BMW 550i$1,0461.125%
Porsche Panamera$1,2522.225%
Avg. Lux. Fullsize Car $9760.814%

Related: How Long Do Genesis G90 Last?

How Long Do the Brakes Last?

BMW 7 Series brake pads will typically last between 30,000 and 70,000 miles. This can vary widely and depends mostly on your style of driving and the traffic conditions you normally experience.

  • You can expect your brakes to wear out sooner if you frequently stop and accelerate in rush-hour traffic
  • Full and complete stops from a high speed are the #1 cause of premature brake pad wear.
  • A sporty driving style will lead to faster deterioration of brakes. A slow and steady style will help them last longer.

How Long Do the Tires Last?

The BMW 7 Series’s stock tires usually last around 40,000 to 50,000 miles or 3 to 5 years. However, they can wear out much sooner. This depends on various factors, such as driving habits, climate, and road conditions.

  • Rotate tires every 5,000 miles to ensure even wear.
  • Check your tire pressure every few weeks to make sure they’re at the correct tire pressure.
  • Have a mechanic or tire shop check your wheel alignment every 6 months.

You may also be interested in our article: How Long Do BMW 3 Series Last?

How Long Do BMW 7 Series Engines Last?

The BMW 7 Series engine should last at least 200,000 miles with routine maintenance.

BMW recommends oil changes every 15,000 miles however some owners will tell you to change the oil more frequently (every 5,000 miles) for improved reliability and longevity.

How Long Do BMW 7 Series Batteries Last?

The BMW 7 Series battery should last between 3 – 5 years. A vehicle’s battery life varies depending on many factors such as climate, driving habits, and battery type, among many others.

  1. Keep your battery tightly fastened: The vibrations of your car can loosen the connections, potentially resulting in short circuits and internal damage.
  2. Limit short rides: Quick car rides prevent the battery from fully charging.
  3. Storage: Keep your BMW 7 Series stored indoors to protect it from extreme temperature changes.
  4. Control Corrosion: Clean the terminals (toothbrush dipped in baking soda and water mixture) and keep them free from build-up.

How Long Do the Spark Plugs Last?

BMW recommends changing the stock iridium spark plug on the 7 Series every 100,000 miles although they may last much longer. Spark plugs are usually inspected every time you take your car in for routine maintenance.

Signs of a fouled spark plug include:

  • Reduced gas mileage
  • Lack of acceleration
  • Rough idling
  • Hard starts
  • Engine misfires

What About Insurance Costs?

The average cost of full comprehensive coverage for a BMW 7 Series is $2,680 per year or around $223 per month. 

Insurance costs can vary from person to person; be sure to shop around to find the best potential deal for your BMW 7 Series.

Tips to Prolong the Life of Your BMW 7 Series

  • Adopt conservative driving habits to keep wear and tear on components to a minimum.
  • Stay up to date with factory-recommended maintenance intervals.
  • Use quality parts and fluids.
  • Carry out repairs straight away to prevent them from developing into larger problems.
  • Regularly wash your BMW 7 Series to remove dirt and grime to protect the paint and undercarriage from rust developing.
  • Check your engine oil, coolant, brake, and transmission fluid levels and top them up when required.
  • Keep your car stored in a garage to help protect it from the elements.
  • Read the owner’s manual to learn the location of important components, what your 7 Series needs and what quantity, and to understand the symbols and dashboard warning lights.

Resources

  1. https://repairpal.com/reliability/bmw/750li 
  2. https://repairpal.com/estimator/bmw/750i/brake-pad-replacement-cost 
  3. https://insuraviz.com/vehicles/bmw/bmw-750i-insurance/ 
  4. https://www.consumerreports.org/cars/bmw/7-series/ 
  5. https://www.carcomplaints.com/BMW/750/ 
  6. https://www.carproblemzoo.com/bmw/7series/ 
  7. https://www.autoblog.com/buy/2022-BMW-750/recalls/ 
  8. https://my.bmwusa.com/safety-and-emission-recalls

Author:

  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...

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