Used BMW 7 Series Saloon 1994 - 2001 review

Category: Luxury car

The BMW 7 Series gives great performance and solid build quality, and it's a wise luxury car buy.

Used BMW 7 Series Saloon 1994 - 2001
  • Used BMW 7 Series Saloon 1994 - 2001
  • Used BMW 7 Series Saloon 1994 - 2001
Used BMW 7 Series Saloon 1994 - 2001 review
Star rating

What's the used BMW 7 Series saloon like?

It's starting to look a little dated now, but this version of the BMW 7 Series is reliable and enjoyable on the road.

The V8 engine has enough power to make for an entertaining drive, and while the 728 can feel sluggish when overtaking, all models have an unruffled, fuss-free five-speed automatic gearbox.


The BMW 7 Series gives great performance and solid build quality, and it's a wise luxury car buy.

  • The 7 Series benefits from a solid chassis, refined engines
  • and an excellent driving position
  • There are no diesel models, the low-speed ride is poor and the running costs are expensive

The 7 Series handles positively around tight bends, and at speed this car feels rock-solid, with well weighted steering.

Later models received side airbags in 1997 and electric steering adjustment in 2001 as standard, but throughout the car's evolution, the interior was always been comfortable and well put together, although the climate control is a little fiddly. Rattles and squeaks are uncommon.

The driving position is excellent, and added to that you get wonderfully supportive seating.

Interior space is ample, but the middle of the rear bench is raised, which means there's not really enough room to carry three adult passengers in the rear comfortably.

Ownership cost

What used BMW 7 Series saloon will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a BMW 7 Series saloon?

A used BMW 7 Series is a lot of car for the money, but none will be cheap to run. There are no diesel engines in the range, so there's no way around the high fuel expenditure: the 322bhp V12 engine will not give you much more than 20mpg, whereas the V6 will return around 25mpg, with the V8's fuel economy sitting somewhere in the middle.

BMW dealerships also have comparatively high labour rates, while the 7 Series has fared poorly in recent reliability surveys, so there is a strong chance that during the course of your ownership you will have to fork out for some – possibly expensive – repairs.

Our recommendations

Which used BMW 7 Series saloon should I buy?

You won't go too far wrong with any of the models. The range was launched in 1994 with the 730 and 740 V8s. In 1996, the less powerful version was rebadged the 735, the 750 came out in 1995, and the six-cylinder 728 was launched in 1996. Then came the Sport version in 2001.

The 750i V12 offers fantastic acceleration, sat-nav and a Teletext TV mounted on the dash, but its running costs make it an unnecessary decadence.

The V8s are both perfectly acceptable, although the engines are not completely bulletproof, and they can suffer bore wear. Also, don't be surprised if repairs are needed to the running gear.

The Sport models, with bigger wheels and tyres, may generate more road noise, particularly in the passenger compartment.

Long-wheelbase versions also offer more space for rear passengers, and they are not quite so bouncy as the shorter models.

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What alternatives should I consider to a used BMW 7 Series saloon?