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Euro 1985 500SEL
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1,498 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I was doing some car window shopping on ebay, and was really impressed with the exterior & interior styling of a 2006 BMW 760 compared to the MB S500 of the same year. There just seems to be a world of difference in the details and craftsmanship, not to mention all the nice features such as a rear refrigerated cool box and rear overhead ventilation controls. So that got me wondering about reliability and quality issues.

Most of us know about the electronic demons MB has had since the W140, but does anyone know if these 7 series BMW's suffer the same issues, or did they do a better job when it came to the electronics? I really could see myself buying one of these in the future when their price goes down a bit more, but I'd like to know from the experienced guys here who know both models what demons inhabit the BMW brand? What to look out for? Thanks!






 

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1986/1990 W126
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14,142 Posts
Yeah they're very nice arent they. Not quite so keen on this style compared to the one it superceded, liked that one a lot. The company i chauffeur for has one of those prior to this one, and an S of the same period too. Its a nice car. Dont think theres been any problems with that one. Theres something about the interiors that dont quite work for me though on a 7 series. The colours and styling, just dont seem to quite know what they're doing. Coolbox is a fantastic idea though. Optional still on an S i'm sure but at what cost.. Bet these latest 7's are amazing to drive.
 

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Euro 1985 500SEL
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1,498 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Yeah they're very nice arent they. Not quite so keen on this style compared to the one it superceded, liked that one a lot. The company i chauffeur for has one of those prior to this one, and an S of the same period too. Its a nice car. Dont think theres been any problems with that one. Theres something about the interiors that dont quite work for me though on a 7 series. The colours and styling, just dont seem to quite know what they're doing. Coolbox is a fantastic idea though. Optional still on an S i'm sure but at what cost.. Bet these latest 7's are amazing to drive.
I agree with you on the styling of this model compared to the 2005 which I liked more, it's just that I couldn't find good pics of a 2005 on ebay..lol. I know what you mean about the interior, they do seem to be a hodgepodge of things, but I guess I am just looking at the overall picture and all the features. I just wondered if they had escaped the same fate with their electronics that has marred MB's image and reliability so badly since the W140 model, and from what I hear, is still going on today sadly.

For example, I was looking at used MB GL's because we could really use a large SUV and I would like to stick with the MB brand, but the more I hear about them the less I like. I have read quite a few posts where the owners say they couldn't wait to get rid of the damn things due to issues, and are now much happier with a Lincoln Navigator or Cadillac Escalade. That really surprised me, as I just thought for some reason "how hard could it be to create a good and reliable SUV?"..but it seems MB can't get that right either..again sadly.
 

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1986/1990 W126
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14,142 Posts
Oh dear, i got the impression the reliability issues MB had suffered were improving. Maybe not then.
I havent heard anything bad about BMW electrics. I had once that did get let down by electrics in an amazingly complicated way that affected the whole car. 735i, it was veery nice until that though, and that was most likely down to people having interfered with it more than quality.
There'll be stuff they're prone to, like most other cars, but theres a chance they havent rested on their laurels like MB might have done?
Shame about the MB SUV's then, i like the looks of the latest ones. Never liked ML's.
 

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1991 560SEC / 2013 GL550
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1,391 Posts
I think BMW 7 Series are garbage, which can be witnessed by their horrible resale value. Especially with a V12, it's going to be expensive to maintain regardless of what make it is. People typically buy them and dump them once the warranty is up. Here's an example of ownership costs for a newer BMW
Total Cost to Own - 2010 BMW 7 Series 750Li Sedan - Yahoo! Autos

I have a newer MB (2009 C300) and it's been great; I have had 0 electrical problems and it's been extremely cheap to maintain. My parents each have a newer MB (2007 GL450 and 2007 SL550). No problems there either, other than the expected not-cheap preventative maintenance (A/B services at dealer).

What exact quality problems are you talking about? There aren't any really well known issues I can think of. For example, the R129 had wiring harness problems where they wrapped the wires in this biodegradable material. After a few years, the wiring harness would get shot. This is like 1993 - 1995 and it also affected E class I think.

The MB S class is much higher quality than the BMW. But here's the thing; even with a W126, the car was expensive with it was brand new. These are $100k dollar cars, even if they sell for a fraction of that cost. The parts are still ridiculously expensive. If you're wanting a rock solid car, get a C class or a BMW 3 series. They both are the most sold car and are probably the highest quality. The cost of ownership is much more reasonable.
 

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'91 560SEC, '98 SL500
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Nightbird - Why were you comparing the 760Li to a S500? The MB equivalent in 2006 would be the W220 S600 which had the Twin Turbo V12 (not talking the AMG S65..the regular S600..if there is such a thing as a regular "S600"). This machine is far superior to the BMW equivalent.

The electrical issues on W140s and up seem to have been sensationalized on the internet. A $100K+ car 5 years ago is not going to be as cheap as the neighbor's Camry. People buy these cars now as the price of admission is relatively low and when there is something that requires replacement or maintenance, they complain about the cost and join some forum and lambaste the company and say their products are unreliable...I tell them go pound sand. I see it all the time on E55 forum, young kids in the 20s sell their Honda buy an E55 for $25Kish and can barely afford to do an oil change on the car.
Yasin
 

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1991 560SEC / 2013 GL550
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1,391 Posts
Nightbird - Why were you comparing the 760Li to a S500? The MB equivalent in 2006 would be the W220 S600 which had the Twin Turbo V12 (not talking the AMG S65..the regular S600..if there is such a thing as a regular "S600"). This machine is far superior to the BMW equivalent.

The electrical issues on W140s and up seem to have been sensationalized on the internet. A $100K+ car 5 years ago is not going to be as cheap as the neighbor's Camry. People buy these cars now as the price of admission is relatively low and when there is something that requires replacement or maintenance, they complain about the cost and join some forum and lambaste the company and say their products are unreliable...I tell them go pound sand. I see it all the time on E55 forum, young kids in the 20s sell their Honda buy an E55 for $25Kish and can barely afford to do an oil change on the car.
Yasin
+1 :thumbsup:
 

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2002 W220 S500 (AMG trims)
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You should read more about the Bimmer at BimmerBoard BMW Forums and the world's best online BMW community. Sharing the knowledge!. I used to own 2 BMW7s - 730i and 750il. The V12 is great but be prepared to mortgage your house. I come to the conclusion that if something doesn't work on the BMWs and they are not critical to safety/operation, leave it alone. I once changed the main computer of the 750il, it reseted everything including the stiffness of the power-steering. You are going to love reading auto-electronics books after acquiring one. But then, my current w220 s500 is not that much better either. Have fun owning OLD LUXURY cars, good for your emotional intelligence!
 

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420SE
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Cars are developing more towards the end of lease throw it away senario. And i think even the BMW and MB models are made that way now. So expensive to buy (beautiful tho to own, ok envy) so have to be leased and after the waranty and lease has expired the car is sold for half or even a third of the cost. But what do MB and BMW care , they are designing the profits on the next ones. thank god for W126's to play around with.
Ive ofter wonder'd why BMW dont do a 2002 recreation ( like they did with MINI) or MB dont do a W126 with a modern drivetrain.
 

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1981 300SD, 1976 300D
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918 Posts
Nightbird, from what I have seen from your complaints re: W126 500SEL maintenance, and from working on late model Euro cars of all stripes, including the 2002-2008 BMW 7 series...

Just go get a Lincoln Town Car. The 500SEL is no big deal compared to a late model 7. On the BMW, when the electric parking brake fails, and the key no longer is recognized... and the classic BMW plastic cooling system woes set in... seriously. If a W126 is repair-intensive in your eyes, then you need to go the way of the FoMoCO Panther, IOW, a Town Car.
 

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Seriously, the 7 series becomes cheap immediately because they just fall apart.

This has been the nature of the 7 series from the first, from what I know, worse as time goes on.

After 1991 all the german luxury cars stopped being engineered to be the best, and became engineered to meet a price and feature point.

That kind of compromise made them into 'keep until the warranty runs out' vehicles. Know I wouldn't have any german car made today out of coverage but the cheapest, and even then it's iffy.
 

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1986/1990 W126
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My chauffeur company just bought their leased 7 series long wheelbase. The lease came to the end & it was offered to them to purchase too cheap to turn down apparently.
Really no problems with it, but its just not in the same league as the S. Sitting in it, its nice enough, doesnt exude class though at all. Some cool gadgets and stuff though.
 

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'88 560 SEL , 01 540i
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301 Posts
O owned a E39 540i for 2 years. Was a great car when it drove, but goddamn it was the most unreliable car I EVER owned. To be honest it really put me off on future purchases of BMW even though I still love the way the look/drive. Its the little things that constantly left me feeling WTF?!! Like the cooling system components for example, all made of bio degradable plastics, including the water pump impeller (which should be metal as is in our benz's). If there is anywhere in a car plastics should not be present, its in the cooling system of a $10K engine. I now own an Infinity, and can tell you the Japs really know how to do it right. Power/luxury/and most importantly RELIABILITY.
 

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the one thing that i've always liked about the 7 series is when stock, they usually have a much better stance than the S class and I love the super wide tires. But as said, while BMW is a great company, regardless of reliability troubles in the 7 series, Mercedes is just better. I can't explain it any more intelligently than that right now, it just is
 

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w201,w124,w126
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The fact someone with a 30yr old S-class is cross shopping a new 7-series, tells you more about the new 7-series than the old S-class.
 

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'89 560SEC, '90 560SEL
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681 Posts
I don't care for the styling on any newer BMW, I think the E46 3-series is the last one I've found attractive. It's a matter of personal taste, but I just can't call anything recent by BMW a thing of beauty. I wish I could say different for MB, unfortunately, it seems the W126 was the high water line, and I'm left wondering if the tide is out for good. Maybe I've become cynical, but neither company has produced anything recently that I would spend my money on. Mercedes used to mean unequaled quality, I think that's why I never find myself tempted any time I ride in a new luxury card. Even though I could easily buy something newer, you can just tell that the focus on techno-wizardry and cost engineering have combined to produce something that's not what a Mercedes should be.
 

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I don't care for the styling on any newer BMW, I think the E46 3-series is the last one I've found attractive. It's a matter of personal taste, but I just can't call anything recent by BMW a thing of beauty. I wish I could say different for MB, unfortunately, it seems the W126 was the high water line, and I'm left wondering if the tide is out for good. Maybe I've become cynical, but neither company has produced anything recently that I would spend my money on. Mercedes used to mean unequaled quality, I think that's why I never find myself tempted any time I ride in a new luxury card. Even though I could easily buy something newer, you can just tell that the focus on techno-wizardry and cost engineering have combined to produce something that's not what a Mercedes should be.
couldn't have said it better myself. I can't be bought with gadgetry. Even if I had the ridiculous amount of money a new S-class or 7 series costs, I'd probably just buy a ridiculously nice SEC or three... or four.
 

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2002 W220 S500 (AMG trims)
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10 Posts
Oh, just heard from someone who has this one-liner:

If you want a big car, buy Mercedes Benz
If you want a small car, buy BMW
If you do the reverse, you cry forever!

Seems to have some truth in that :bowdown:
 
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