"After owning 2 of these cars, I feel that I could never find another car that is as awesome as an e38. The car is as fast as a 350z and is awesome on long trips. Plus, it has the most leg room of any other car I have ever been in. The v8 has plenty of power, which some people claim 0-60 in 6 seconds flat.
For more info, go to the bimmerforums in the e38 section, and the helpful people will answer all of your questions.
This car gets a lot of attention where ever you go. The only downside is the repairs, which can be expensive, but it was a $60-100k new, so you should expect it. The car is reliable in the sense that it should not let you down very often, as I have only broken down once, and a second time was when there was a crack in the radiator overflow, but the car had 160k miles on it. 10 years of happy owner ship!
The car I think is also the best looking car ever, which you can modify if you want to make it a dream car very easily."
Pros: "Powerful engine, very comfortable, handling"
Cons: "Repairs maybe costly. High city consumption"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have had several BMW's and so far the E38 is the best. Extremely comfortable, if you have the full functioning seats. I own two 3 series now and will be looking for a low milage sports package soon. Repairs can be expensive but if you are mechanically inclined you can do most of the work yourself. I have to say any BMW engine is as simple as a honda, you just ge to to know it. I put on average 30k every year on my 7 and never left me on the road except for a blown tire. So yes, if you can find a well maintained 7 series and do not mind the maintanence I strogly recommend the vehicle."
"I had always wanted a 7 series or a jaguar and am a bit of a car nut having already driven infinity, stealth, Porsche. Got a 99 jag xj8 with 21K and drove it for 5 years. I loved the jag, but at about 125k miles, it started for feel a little old. I traded for a 2001 740 IL with 72K on the clock. WOW. I couldn't believe the difference. It feels like a new car every time I get in it. The only maintenance beyond normal was power steering hose and radiator at 110K. The ride is incredible, power undeniable and gas milage in the 25 mpg range at 75+ mph. It now has 123K and going strong. I bought 98 740i for my son with 92K on it and it also drives like a new car. I am a believer. The ultimate driving machine is an understatement."
"In the 6 years I have driven the 1995 BMW 740i, I have always been confident that not only would I reach my destination safely, but that I wouldn't be exhausted upon arriving. The car has excellent power and the drive is incredibly quiet. I purchased the car second hand 6 years ago when the car had 24000 miles on the odometer. Other than the usual maintenance requirements (like oil changes), the car has not had any major problems. It has been the best car I have ever owned...I've owned a total of 18 cars."
"I bought my 1996 740iL when it was 8 years old, and had right at 100K miles (now has 146K). I still smile every time I drive it. Had a 1991 525i prior to this, and enjoyed it, too....but it didn't hold a candle to my 7. Perfomance is amazing...luxury a given...and, like many others here, I get about 21/27 MPG! You'll have a hard time finding any new cars that feel as good.
I've driven Lamborghini, Porsche, Ferarri, and many others. While they are a blast, I'll take mine as a daily driver. Same luxury feel, great performance...and you can take 4 or 5 of your friends/family with you. What a deal!
As to the naysayers: This car will cost money to maintain (compared to a Honda Civic), but it doesn't drive/perform/feel like a Honda either (Thankfully!!). You are either prepared for the cost, or you aren't. Another car guy once told me 'If you can't afford the tires, you can't afford the car'. He wasn't specifically talking about tires, of course, but you get the idea. Also, as some have mentioned, there are some great forums for the e38, for you DIY folks. Many of the links I found even include step by step instructions, and pictures! Good luck."