5 Reasons To Buy A Used, Previous Gen BMW 7-Series Instead Of A Civic

Purchasing a used luxury saloon is by no means as easy as it sounds. Even if the price is right and you’re getting solid value for money, you must first make sure that you can afford to keep the car running properly.

Just because premium brands such as Mercedes, BMW and Audi charge as much as they do for products like the S-Class, 7-Series and the A8 at retail, doesn’t mean the high costs stop whenever the warranty expires. On the contrary; the older they are, the more care they’ll need – and these cars can be very demanding.

Yet, if you know what you’re looking for and you do your homework, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to find a well-maintained luxury barge. Here, we’re going to be focusing on the fifth-generation, F01 BMW 7-Series, because right now, it easily offers the best value for money in its segment.

Also, a little over three years ago, I wrote a similar article about the W221 Mercedes S-Class, at one point stating the following: “I would have probably written this article about the F01 7 Series if they had slightly better prices on the second hand market. But it’s a couple of grand more expensive than the Merc, and that sort of defeats the purpose here.”

Thankfully, things have changed, as the F01 has taken a massive dive on the used car market these past couple of years, where you can now buy it for pretty much the same price as a used F10 5-Series or F30 3-Series. Meanwhile, the W221 S-Class is also cheaper to buy than before; however, it’s not quite as modern as the BMW.

Reason #1 – You can get a 750i for the price of a 2013 Civic

If you live in the U.S. you can find plenty of F01s similar to this 2009 750i we spotted on Autotrader, priced at just $13,995 with 78,000 miles (125,000 km) on the clock. For instance, we found another solid example at $14,995, only this time it’s a 2011 model, though that didn’t stop someone from buying it.

Now, if you want the facelifted (LCI) 2013MY version, that one will probably set you back at least $20,000, although it’s definitely worth it since it came with a standard 8-speed automatic, upgraded engines, full-LED headlights, improved dashboard graphics, revised kidney grille and front spoiler, self-leveling air suspension and better safety tech like the Collision Avoidance System or the Enhanced Active Cruise Control. Here’s a 2013 740i for $19,899 if you’re curious.

European buyers will of course look more towards diesel-powered versions, like the 730d or the 740d. In the UK, roughly £15,000 should land you a decent example of the former, whereas in Germany it might cost you around €15,000. These would be non-LCI models though – which is still fine and excellent value for money, as long as that’s the car you want. Check out a nice 730d we found in Germany.

Reason #2 – The tech is excellent even by today’s standards

Automakers launch their latest and greatest tech on luxobarges, and then those features trickle down the range. Did you know that the F01 7-Series was the first BMW model to have rear-wheel steering? It also debuted pedestrian recognition for its night vision system. Other impressive features include blind spot monitoring, radar cruise control, lane departure warning, the previously-mentioned 8-speed automatic, hybrid engine (on the ActiveHybrid 7), Driver drowsiness detection and a great deal more.

You can easily drive it today, whether it’s a 2009 model or the 2013 LCI version, and not feel as though you’re lacking in anything significant when it comes to safety and convenience, not to mention comfort.

Reason #3 – Owning a luxury saloon is all types of cool

If you’ve got your eyes set on something like the 7-Series, or the S-Class, A8, LS and so on, then you probably know they can be serious head-turners, even after being replaced by newer models.

Visually, the F01 was a massive improvement over its E65 predecessor, which initially had an awkward-looking front end to go with that extremely controversial ‘Bangle Butt”. That elongated rear boot lid was the stuff of nightmares. Thankfully, BMW followed that one up with a more much elegant design, one that will still look great in your driveway.

Reason #4 – Excellent performance throughout the range

U.S. buyers should probably focus on either the 740i or the 750i, especially if you can land either of them as a 2013MY car. The reason is that the facelifted 750i got a revised 4.4-liter turbocharged V8, good for 450 PS (444 HP) and 650 Nm (479 lb-ft) of torque, whereas the 740i got a new N55 3.0-liter twin-turbo petrol, producing 320 PS (315 HP) and 450 Nm (332 lb-ft) of torque. The latter would definitely be more fuel efficient, so keep that in mind.

In Europe, the 730d remains the most balanced choice you can make as far as purchasing a used 7-Series. Its 3.0-liter inline-six diesel has 258 PS (255 HP) and 560 Nm (413 lb-ft) of torque, and should be able to get you from zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) in around 6 seconds flat.

Still, the quickest overall is of course the 750i, which needs just 4.6 seconds to get to 100 km/h, in the all-wheel drive version.

As for other variants such as the 760i, 750d or the ActiveHybrid 7, those are going to take you way over budget if you’re looking to spend no more than $15,000 or $20,000.

Reason #5 – None of its rivals make more sense as a used purchase

When BMW came out with the F01, it was easily the most modern-looking, efficient and dynamic luxury saloon in the world. The Audi A8 D3 was not aging all that gracefully, and Jaguar had yet to launch their all-new XJ. As for the Lexus LS and the Mercedes S-Class, the former was simply an inferior product and the latter wasn’t as tech-savvy as the BMW.

So for anywhere between $15,000 and $20,000, chances are you won’t find something more satisfying in this segment than the F01, at least not if you’re looking at the big picture. Besides, since you can even find them for less than 15 grand, you might as well not even consider any alternatives.

And one more thing…

Let’s suppose that you’ve find the perfect luxury Bimmer, which fits your price range, looks impeccable and comes with all bells and whistles. Before you sign on the dotted line, you should run a thorough check on its history, see if it’s been involved in any accidents or (even worse) written off by an insurance company, and verify it’s got a clean title. Finally, and we can’t stress this enough, be sure that you can afford the running costs, insurance (this can be a drag) and the odd mishap (a specialist is usually cheaper than an official dealer). And, if the stars align and everything is nice and dandy… then congrats on your new ride!

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  • Kash

    If you’re shopping for a used Civic, chances are you won’t be able to afford the maintenance work on a used, last gen 7 series with over 75k miles on it. There’s a reason those cars are so cheap.

    • Loquacious Borborygmus

      Yes, a $75k new car will still have $75k car maintenance and repair costs to keep it running properly.

  • Blade t

    I would be too worried about repair costs on a high milage car like that..

  • matrem

    Reason six: because you’re a pyro and love lighting money on fire. Which is what ownership would essentially be

    • Kash

      Alternatively, you’re a pyro and plan on tourching said car for the insurance money.

  • Amanda C Hunter

    Great until the transmission decides to have a stroke.

  • Seats & a steering wheel

    Did you say a Lexus LS is INFERIOR to an S-CLASS??? LOL every mechanic and auto elec DISAGREES with you! An interesting article, but anyone with a modicum of automotive knowledge would know that as 2nd purchases of big expensive Euros are absolutely no go zones unless you are prepared for a lot of financial pain. THE ONLY second purchase for the average Joe would indeed be a Lexus GS or LS and even then you’d need to do your homework in terms of maintenance, spare parts costs and weak points.

    • Matt

      ‘Inferior’ can attributed to a number of different metrics – you are only looking at reliability.

    • Marty

      “Did you say a Lexus LS is INFERIOR to an S-CLASS???”

      No, they didn’t.

  • Bash

    I’m not a fan of a civics tbh, but if it’s either the civic or an 2009-2011 BMW. No brainer I’ll drive back home with that civic.

  • brightoncorgi

    Cost of ownership is much different between a Civic and 7 Series. 100K car when new will always have 100K car repair bills.

  • Mr. EP9

    Or 7 series fanboys which is glaringly obvious when you see who the author is.

  • getoffme

    What an utter garbage. One reason not to buy a used 7 series = cost of repair/maintenance.

  • B.Stokes

    A German mechanic friend told me, go V8 when buying Benz and inline 6 when buying BMW. The 740’s are always more reliable even though they may be underpowered.

    • Jason Panamera

      Indeed. Inline 6 are the best choice for 5 and 7 series if you consider reliability and maintenance costs. I heard it from every Beemer veteran. Of course if you live in EU, you can also choose 3.0l diesels.

    • Merc1

      So true. I have a 2013 BMW 650i, from brand new and I can tell you that the only other people I see in the service department with the problems I’ve had are fellow V8 BMW owners.


  • Romanovich

    Gentlemens, I have read all comments, only one answer, this car for man who have incomes which can cover all maintenance costs.
    If not, your car is honda civic.
    This simple as our life.

  • no25

    the stupidity of CS journalists nowadays is embarrassing.

    • Mr. EP9

      Calling them “journalists” is being very generous.

  • Sybill Julian

    reliability nightmares. Dont buy a used luxury car if you aren’t rich enough. Except that old benz from 70-90s era.

  • Sybill Julian

    agree that

  • then keep maintenance costs by selling your organs off course.

  • Cobrajet

    Reason 6.
    You only have one life. What’s the point of having these cars exist, if they are not driven.

  • nastinupe

    Two of my best friend owned this vehicle and the repairs and maintenance pushed them to trade them in… for… wait for it… brand new Honda Civics.

  • Harry_Wild

    For the buyer who has unlimited monetary resources! From engine, transmission, electronic components to electrical problems, etc… keeps on giving and never quits!

  • Stephen G

    There is a reason you can get one cheap. It’s the same reason you can get a Yugo cheap.

  • salamOOn

    ok, change the bmw for lexus, and we could talk…… but advise someone to buy an old cheap used up bmw?

  • mick

    Honestly, do you get extra incentives based on the number of comments on the article? This is a click bait disaster and yes, I’ve been suckered in. I knew what the comments were going to be before I started the article. Used BMWs, especially the 7, are a maintenance nightmare. My coworker bought a used 7, she was so proud. We all went out to lunch in it the first day she brought it in to the office. We had to Uber it back to work. That was only the beginning, she gave it two years and finally unloaded it after countless issues.

  • Miknik

    Apart from the reliability, which has been pointed out here – in the comments – several times, I’d add that this generation 7 series is also a remarkably bland and boring looking vehicle, easily the most boring BMW of it’s era.

    Generally, in a time where quality and style (and often, interesting engines) get replaced by tech gadgets and infotainment gizmos, that then trickle down within a generation to often even B-segment hatchbacks (just look at the picture quality of the 10 y. old infotainment screen), the case for used luxury cars won’t be easier in the future.

  • HaltestelleLuitpolthafen

    If you want a used luxury car and need it to be reliable, you need to only look at Genesis and Lexus.

  • Bucky

    The author gets pay from BMW tell you buy its junks or think you have very low IQ.

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