As you mentioned, most of the problems with the 2002 BMW 745s were due
to software glitches. Solving these issues involved the owner
returning to the dealer, where a software update was downloaded to the
car. 2003s will come pre-loaded with the most recent software
available at time of manufacture, and the dealer should also install
any more recent software that becomes available during shipping.
Because of this, you should not experience any software-related
problems that have already been resolved on the 2002 model.
Due to the nature of software development, and the unusual complexity
of the software in the 7-series, you can only expect it to become more
reliable and problem-free over time. The first owners of the 2002
model got the brunt of the problems, and they have been steadily
resolved over time.
Because 2003 models have only been available for a few weeks,
long-term reliability is not certain, and BMW has traditionally
withheld the details about specific internal changes made to the cars
over time. However, preliminary reports from owners have been
"So far soooooooo sweeeeeet. This is the experiance I hoped for in the
"9 days for my '03 & all's well & better than ever!"
"2 Weeks 03 Li. Nary a problem."
It appears that some non-software problems have also been resolved:
(be sure to read the other messages in that thread as well, they
detail even more fixes/improvements)
"Should I buy a 2003 745" is obviously a very open, and personal,
question. I would suggest first test-driving competing cars from
makers such as Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Infiniti, Audi, or Jaguar. Let
them know you're looking at a 745, and I'm sure they'll be happy to
point out why you might want their vehicles over a competitor's. (You
might need to ask them to focus on the *advantages* of their cars,
rather that resorting to bashing the 7-series, as it has something of
a reputation due to the problems you've mentioned.) You'll also need
to reconcile yourself with the unusual styling of the 7-series, and
make sure that you're happy with the cabin layout, controls, and the
way it drives. One thing which may tilt the scales in the 7's favor is
the better-than-average lease rates. BMW compensated for the initial
bad press by offering artificially high residual value on leases,
pushing payments down by up to several hundred dollars a month. The
best rates are to be had on outgoing 2002 models, but you may be able
to get a better deal than you might expect on the 2003s as well if you
are a good negotiator.
Though the signal-to-noise ration could be better, the best source for
current user experiences about the 7-series is the Roadfly message
You can also register there and ask specific questions to owners, if
you so desire.