The BMW 7 Series' strong powertrain and capable handling provide a sporty driving experience. We also like its comfortable seats, roomy interior, high-quality materials and impressive fit and finish. Most annoying was the needlessly complex iDrive control system, which we found distracting and judged potentially dangerous to use when driving.
Alerts
There are 4 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Reliability

Reliability indicates how models have performed in the past, providing the basis for predicting how the vehicles will hold up in the year ahead. These charts provide the most comprehensive reliability information available to consumers. Based on information received from our latest subscriber survey, our reliability history charts give you a rundown on how used vehicles are holding up in 17 potential trouble spots, ranging from the engine, transmission, and brakes to power equipment and the electrical system.

Overall Reliability
The 2004 BMW 7 Series has been recalled 4 times by NHTSA. View Recalls

No Detailed Data Available

Consumer Reports obtains its reliability data from a questionnaire that is sent to subscribers. In the questionnaire, we ask subscribers to note any problems with their cars that occurred in the past 12 months. They are asked to identify problems that they considered serious (because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime).

A typical model has about 200 to 400 samples for each model year. For some model years, typically those of older or less popular cars, we do not have a large enough sample size to provide results of statistical confidence.

There are several ways in which a savvy car buyer can still research the quality of a car.

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Recalls
PROVIDED BY
SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC:POWER ASSIST:VACUUM
Oct 01 2010
POWER ASSIST BRAKING PERFORMANCE COULD BE ADVERSELY AFFECTED. IN EXTREME CASES THERE COULD BE A COMPLETE LOSS OF POWER ASSIST BRAKING. AN UNEXPECTED REDUCTION OR LOSS IN POWER BRAKING ASSIST MAY INCREASE THE RISK OF A CRASH.
Summary:
BMW IS RECALLING CERTAIN MODEL YEAR 2004-2010 5-SERIES, 6-SERIES, AND MODEL YEAR 2002-2008 7-SERIES VEHICLES. A CHECK VALVE OF THE BRAKE VACUUM PUMP MAY LEAK A SMALL AMOUNT OF LUBRICATING OIL. OVER TIME THIS COULD RESULT IN CONTAMINATION OF THE BRAKE BOOSTER.
What should you do:
BMW WILL NOTIFY OWNERS AND DEALERS WILL REPAIR THE VEHICLES FREE OF CHARGE. THE SAFETY RECALL BEGAN ON NOVEMBER 24, 2010. OWNERS MAY CONTACT BMW AT 1-800-525-7417.
For more information:
OWNERS MAY ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153), OR GO TO <A HREF=HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV>HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV</A> .
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 10V446000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 198352
SEATS:FRONT ASSEMBLY:SEAT HEATER/COOLER
Dec 06 2004
IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THE HEATING MAT IN THE BACKREST'S SIDE BOLSTER COULD OVERHEAT AND DAMAGE, OR MELT A SMALL HOLE IN, THIS AREA OF THE SEAT COVER. IF THIS HAPPENED, IT COULD LEAD TO AN OCCUPANT BEING BURNED.
Summary:
ON CERTAIN PASSENGER VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH FRONT SEAT HEATING SYSTEMS, UPON ENTERING AND EXITING THE VEHICLE, EXCESSIVE CONTACT WITH THE SIDE BOLSTER THAT IS CONTAINED IN THE SEAT'S BACKREST MAY DAMAGE THE HEATING MAT LOCATED IN THIS AREA. IF SUCH DAMAGE WERE TO OCCUR, WITH THE SYSTEM TURNED ON, THE VEHICLE OCCUPANT MAY FEEL EXCESSIVE HEAT FROM THIS AREA.
What should you do:
DEALERS WILL MODIFY THE SEAT HEATING CIRCUIT. THE RECALL IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN DURING DECEMBER 2004. OWNERS SHOULD CONTACT BMW AT 1-800-831-1117.
For more information:
CUSTOMERS CAN ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S AUTO SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 04V575000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 17905
SEATS
Aug 09 2004
IN CERTAIN CRASH CONDITIONS, THE DRIVER'S FRONT AIR BAG, HEAD PROTECTION SYSTEM, SAFETY BELT PRETENSIONER, AND KNEE AIR BAG MAY NOT DEPLOY, INCREASING THE RISK OF INJURY TO A SEAT OCCUPANT.
Summary:
ON CERTAIN PASSENGER VEHICLES, THE SOFTWARE PROGRAMMING OF THE DRIVER'S SEAT OCCUPANT DETECTION SYSTEM (ODS) MAY NOT BE ABLE TO RELIABLY DETERMINE IF THE DRIVER'S SEAT IS OCCUPIED.
What should you do:
DEALERS WILL REPROGRAM THE SOFTWARE FOR THE DRIVER'S SEAT OCCUPANT DETECTION SYSTEM. THE RECALL BEGAN OCTOBER 13, 2004. OWNERS SHOULD CONTACT BMW AT 1-800-831-1117.
For more information:
CUSTOMERS CAN CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S AUTO SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 04V379000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 3940
POWER TRAIN:AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION:CONTROL MODULE (TCM, PCM)
Jul 14 2004
AS A RESULT, ENGINE STALLING WILL OCCUR AFTER A SHORT PERIOD OF OPERATION. THE VEHICLE MAY NOT BE ABLE TO RESTART. ALSO, A LOSS OF POWER STEERING AND, AFTER REPEATED ACTUATION OF THE BRAKE PEDAL, A LOSS OF BRAKE POWER ASSIST WILL OCCUR. THESE CONDITIONS COULD RESULT IN A VEHICLE CRASH.
Summary:
ON CERTAIN PASSENGER VEHICLES EQUIPPED WITH 8 AND 12 CYLINDER ENGINES, THE DIGITAL ENGINE MANAGEMENT CONTROL (EMC) UNITS WERE NOT PRODUCED ACCORDING TO SPECIFICATIONS.
What should you do:
DEALERS WILL INSTALL A NEW DIGITAL ENGINE MANAGEMENT CONTROL UNIT. THE RECALL BEGAN ON JULY 16, 2004. OWNERS SHOULD CONTACT BMW AT 1-800-831-1117.
For more information:
CUSTOMERS CAN CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S AUTO SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 04V344000
Potential Number of Units Affected: 4102
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