Hi, all.

I'm in the market for a new (well, used) car and am thinking of buying an F02 (LWB) 3 litre diesel. It was a toss up between the BMW and a Mercedes S class 3 litre diesel, but a local BMW specialist told me the S class's 'aromatic' suspension is problematic and cost a fortune to repair when it goes wrong, which apparently they do, a lot. In all honesty, I was only considering the Merc because of the badge and pedigree. If I'm honest, for me at least, the BMW F01/02 has a nicer/sportier shape and a better driving position/cabin etc. I even prefer the way the bonnet looks when you're driving it, in that you can see it, nice and long, and the drive is practically the same as the Merc from what I could tell test driving three year old versions of each make.

Jaguar XJ was in contention, until I read all the horror stories about the under-bonnet airbags deploying all the time, caused by hitting small animals in the road, pot holes and the like, and they cost 3,000 to sort when this happens, which, apparently, is more often than one would like, so the XJ is out also. Having said that, I prefer the shape of the BMW 7 F01, which doesn't have under bonnet airbags, or 'aromatic' suspension to go wrong every five minutes.

So, I'm totally into a long wheel base version of the 7 i.e. the F02 shape. I'm thinking of a budget of 15,000, which should get me a five/six year old one with 60K on the clock. I know the 3 litre diesel engines and the auto box are capable of high mileages. Local independent specialist near me has an F02 with over 300,000 miles on same engine/gearbox, he reckons they are bombproof.

Reading reviews around the internet doesn't bring up any nasties in the reliability scheme of things. Honest John's 'Good/Bad' section is especially praising of the F01's reliability with just a few BMW recalls and a couple of small things, superb compared to most other cars on that site.

So, after this much research, I'm just posting on here to get opinions of BMW F01/02 3 litre diesel owners, or people who know people who own them to find out if there are any known issue or expensive nasties that are likely to crop up. Of course, I know that BMW's (like Merc, Audi etc) cost a little more to run than a Mondeo (I've owned a few BMW's over the years, just not recently), but I don't want to have to spray a big fat money hose at it every five minutes as well if expensive things are going to keep going wrong.

So, is the F02 3 litre diesel a safe bet in terms of reliability, build quality and the like.

Finally, any buying advice/tips while I'm looking for a used one, anything to look for, any options that are a must?

Thanks all.