2011 BMW 5 Series Transmission

johnbombjohnbomb Member Posts: 7
edited February 2017 in BMW
I have a 2011 535i and experience jerking at low parking lot speeds. Anyone else have this issue? Does BMW have a fix (software update) for the transmission?


  • oozlefinchoozlefinch Member Posts: 3
    edited October 2010
    I experienced the same problem with my 2011 535i along with a slight hesitation when accelerating slowly from a dead stop. Dealer claimed problem was not there.
  • dhldhl Member Posts: 2
    edited November 2010
    Same problem here,pretty annoying!Any hope for a permanent resolution?
  • dhc2dhc2 Member Posts: 5
    I have the same problem. The car now has around 6K miles. I thought the issue was getting better, but I drove the 2001 5 that I gave my son when I bought the 11 again last night. I'd take the 01 transmission any day over the 11. Driving the 01 only highlighted the problem. I am calling my Service Advisor this morning for an appointment. Read on two other sites about a software fix & someone had "medtronics" replaced. Also have heard about a sticking valve that runs the exhaust back thru the engine. In all three cases, the issue was resolved. As you can see from the age of my previous car, I waited for this 5 to be released. You don't realize how anoying this is until you are sitting in stop-and-go traffic. Either this gets resolved or looks like I will have to trade.
  • sambo49sambo49 Member Posts: 47
    Did you notice the transmission issues right from the beginning or did it gradually get worse? I test drove a 535xi 2days ago at parking lot speeds and up to 45 mph and did not notice the tranny issue. I was pretty impressed with the car lest the hesitation on acceleration and steering lack of feedback.
    Good Luck!
  • dhc2dhc2 Member Posts: 5
    edited November 2010
    I did not notice the problem during the test drive. However, who test drives a car in normal driving conditions? I don't or didn't. I was looking at the overall accleration, handling, the comfort, ect. I would not buy this car until I test drove it in stop-and- go traffic. If the problem is there, you will notice it right away. Apparently some of the cars have it and some don't. Also realize that I bought the car in July, so it is an early build. The issue may be resolved in later built cars.
  • sambo49sambo49 Member Posts: 47
    Yes I hear you...Thanks for your reply and good luck with the car.
  • autoenginesautoengines Member Posts: 2
    Here are few reasons which can cause jerking.

    Check the spark plugs for air leaks on hoses....check the Slow Idle Control Valve clean it with petrol.....check voltage is proper and it is important to check the Fuel Pressure Regulator (FPR). correction in above mentioned areas can resolve your problem.
  • jone3jone3 Member Posts: 1
    I just had my car arrive a few days ago (so it is a newer one built to my specs and delivered) and I had the same problems that you are describing.The issue that bothers me most is how heavy and sluggish the car feels after a full stop or a semi stop. I still have my 2001 530 and it drives like a dream compared to the new one. I hope they don't try to tell me that this is how the new one is because that would be very disappointing. Did you resolve these issues when you visited the dealer?
  • mkwordmkword Member Posts: 2
    edited November 2010
    I just took delivery of my 2011 550i a week ago. Been driving the car everyday. Recently took it on a short road trip from LA to San Diego. Haven't experienced any of the problems described here.

    I did order the car to spec. Which meant that mine came straight from the German factory.

    I have heard that in the past people have experienced driving problems with BMWs from other factories ... specifically the factory in Canada. People who order to spec cars tend to get them made at the German factory and haven't encountered these issues.

    Hope everyone gets the problem fixed.

    My 550 drives wonderfully. Steering not as stiff as the 3 series, but overall a fantastic ride. I really love this car.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    I imagine that virtually every BMW assembled in Canada will be suspect. Why? As far as I know, BMW has never assembled cars in Canada, and to the best of my knowledge, they have no plans to do so.
  • bmwconvertbmwconvert Member Posts: 75
    Took delivery of my 535xi last wednesday. Was on lot but newly delivered; built in Germany. I got my first taste of the problem described here while in stop & go traffic last night.

    I'm sensing a few different things:
    1) a hyper-sensitive accelerator which makes it difficult to start the car slowly, as when in traffic. The car either doesn't move forward or lurches forward because I've given it too much throttle.
    2) Feels like the car stays in a low gear, probably 1st, so that when I come off the accelerator it almost bucks back, like a manually transmission kept in 1st and coming off the gas quickly.
    3) The engine's idling roughly, exacerbating the roughness when trying get the car moving slowly.

    The problem's pretty bad. Made for a very unpleasant hour long commute in traffic.

    I contacted the dealer who said bring it in to be checked. Will see what comes back.
  • dklarsondklarson Member Posts: 2
    I too am experiencing the same hesitation with my 2011-535. I took the car to the dealer twice and they refused to acknowledge any problem. The diagnostic check showed no errors and the local dealerships are not allowed to make adjustments without approval from headquarters. The local dealer refused to read this blog or other internet postings as they don't view them as legitimate claims. The dealer suggested that we phone HQ at 1-800-831-1117. I suggest others do the same - perhaps if enough people complain they'll take action.
  • wonmarcowonmarco Member Posts: 2
    edited December 2010
    Okay - This may sound crazy, but I was having the same problem with my brand new F10 and it was really bumming me out. My dealer said it was normal which only aggravated me more. I then stumbled onto another forum where the following reset procedure was posted. TRY IT - IT WORKS!!!

    1) hit start button once to turn on power (Don't start the engine)
    2) then press the accelerator down to the floor for 5 sec
    3) then hit start button once to turn off power
    4) then remove foot from accelerator
    5) then waite for 2 minutes
    4) then start the engine like normal and try it out!

    I am happy it worked but still cannot comprehend why BMW allowed me to struggle with it. Not sure what is going on with them.
  • sambo49sambo49 Member Posts: 47
    has anyone else tried this and did it work?
  • dklarsondklarson Member Posts: 2
    I did try it but unfortunately, it didn't change anything.
  • bmwconvertbmwconvert Member Posts: 75
    Update: dealer service dept checked my car and found nothing wrong. During a test drive with the service manager, he told me that the "computer controlled electronic transmission learns your driving behavior over time". He doesn't deny the annoying behavior I described above does not happen, but believes it will lessen over time as the transmission "learns" the way I drive.

    I'm skeptical of this but must acknowledge that over the last month the problem has gotten better. It's hard for me to determine whether it's because I'm getting used to it, learning myself how to drive the car smoother or the transmission learning to be better behaved itself. Who knows.

    For what it's worth, I drove a 7 series that exhibited similar jerkiness and lag. Why BMW would design their cars to drive this way is beyond me.
  • dhc2dhc2 Member Posts: 5

    I am curious if you have noticed a difference with your transmssion since your last post on the issue? Thanks.
  • wonmarcowonmarco Member Posts: 2
    Update to my earlier message.

    The transmission reset procedure that I described in an earlier post seemed to wear off after a few weeks. I took it into another dealer and let the foreman drive it. He gave me the same story that BMWconvert got-- trans learns your driving style......

    He did give me a few pieces of info:

    It is common for BMW to address these issues in future SW releases.
    The annoying shift characteristics might be because the trans is programed for mileage when it comes out of the factory - as trans "learns", mileage goes down but trans smooths out.

    He recommended that i do not reset the trans again and just let it learn. I must say it is getting better after about 600 miles of stop and go traffic. Good luck everyone.
  • Firebird_EOUFirebird_EOU Member Posts: 250
  • dhldhl Member Posts: 2
    Still having the same problema.We drove 3000miles in July In five countries and didnot notice there???
  • radithamraditham Member Posts: 2
    We went to pick up our 535i on Jan 8th (after 10 week wait). After signing the paper work, when
    the dealer was bringing the car to the front, there was apparently a message to take
    the vehicle immediately to a dealer. So they asked us to come back a day later to check
    that there was no real issue. Turned out that the rear differential was busted. The dealer
    was told by BMW corp to not sell the vehicle, nor fix it.

    After two weeks, the dealer and BMW corp found another vehicle with similar options (one
    extra) and gave it us. The dealer was very nice and put in a lot effort to get a car.

    Did anyone have similar problem?
  • brwndoggybrwndoggy Member Posts: 41
    I know the manual customers are few and far between (less than 5 percent) but having only owned bmw sticks, I just love the way they drive compared to automatic's. And, since the 535 has it's issues (maybe real, maybe not), and it's the only option now for a manual, was wondering if anyone has heard if the 2012 line will come with a stick on the 528 config.

  • nickel2nickel2 Member Posts: 19
    I have a new 2011 528i, purchased in December2010. I have the same transmission jerkiness at low speeds and a very bad lag in acceleration starting at low speeds. The dealer said the car is functioning normally. They just "blew me off". BMW has a transmission problem in this model and continues to deny it. I have just written to customer service in New Jersey. We'll see what happens. Other discussion sites describe similar problems. I am very unhappy with this car at this time. Maybe an 8 speed transmission is just too many gears.
  • 11bmw511bmw5 Atl, GAMember Posts: 11
    What's the current story with the 8 speed AT??? The shifting between 1st and 2nd gear is definitely choppy sometimes and I do feel lag in the acceleration. I have also noticed that it shifts pretty rough on the low end downshifting. It is very noticeable in traffic.
    I think paying 50K+ for an upscale sedan we DO have a right to demand our transmissions work as they should, or maybe I just have unrealistic expectations?
  • nickel2nickel2 Member Posts: 19
    I have had NO RESPONSE so far from "customer service". I have nitrogen filled tires. I receive a monthly email from the dealer reminding me to bring the car in for a tire check. The last time I was told to ignore the email and just check the tires every 6 months. I asked them to check the tires anyway since I was already there and they refused. The Dealer is hopeless. (Irvine BMW, Irvine, Calif.) I will give customer service more time to give me the courtesy of a response. If there are enough unhappy customers, perhaps we should consider legal action.
  • 11bmw511bmw5 Atl, GAMember Posts: 11
    Ok now it is becoming very unpleasant hour long commute in traffic. What bothers me is the gear confusion in the 20-30mph area......I notice it while stuck in traffic, the car jerks back and forth switching between gears. I took the car to the dealer, the diagnostic check showed no errors and dealer said it is all normal. Anyone else experiencing the same issues as I do with my 2011-528?
  • dhc2dhc2 Member Posts: 5

    How long have you owned the car? How many miles have you driven?
  • nickel2nickel2 Member Posts: 19
    I have owned the car since December 24, 2010. The car now has about 5000 miles.
  • nickel2nickel2 Member Posts: 19
    Yes, I have the same problems. Very annoying.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    edited May 2011
    ...are just another reason why BMW should have offered the 528i with a 6-Speed manual. :P
  • legendownerlegendowner Member Posts: 10
    Same here...2011 528i ....very jerky at take off ....please continue to post updates....this is very irritating on car of this caliber.
  • 11bmw511bmw5 Atl, GAMember Posts: 11
    edited May 2011
    I got mine back in February, I have little bit over 3K miles now
  • nickel2nickel2 Member Posts: 19
    Can anything be done for the jerky transmission problems ? I was totally unaware of these problems when I purchased this $60k plus car. I fell like such a dummy. The dealer told me that they have never had jerky transmission complaints.
  • el168el168 Member Posts: 9
    edited May 2011
    Anyone without problems with this car? I am not having the issue of the transmission being jerky and acceleration is very fast!
    But I only have 1500 miles on it- which version software do you have?

    I also got this car from the factory brand new-
  • rrusso1rrusso1 Member Posts: 23
    I now have a little over 6000 miles on my 2011 535 and am very happy with it. Prior to this car I had a 2008 535. When I got this car it took me a while to get used to the transmission. I was told by the BMW service department that it would take a while (1000- 2000 miles of driving) for the computer to adjust the transmission to my driving habits and they were right. Once I got past the 2000 mile mark the transmission functioned extremely well and my gas mileage increased noticeably. I must admit the feel of the transmission is different from my 2008 but now that I am used to it I am very happy with it.
  • sailorbryansailorbryan Member Posts: 1
    I had the same problem with my 2011 535xi. The problem started within the first 100 miles after picking up the car in March 2011. I asked the dealer about the low speed jerky-ness of the transmission (especially starting from a full stop or rolling stop) and they said the transmission was learning and adapting to my driving style. Hmmm....

    Well I drove it another 3500 miles and, if anything, it has just gotten worse. So I brought it in for service this week. At first the technician said they could not find anything wrong with the car. I said look again. The technician still said he could not find anything wrong. Look harder. Then the quality assurance specialist at the dealer drove the car and said it was very noticeable and he could feel his head being jerked back while moderately accelerating from a stop. So now that they confirmed an issue, they could proceed with the warranty work.

    The dealer proceeded to "reprogram" my car. This process took 3 hours and did not take the first time, so they had to redo it.

    I was skeptical when I picked up my car, but I am very happy to report that the transmission is significantly smoother than before. The car does not slam into gear when starting from a stop and the shifting between the gears is hardly noticeable under moderate acceleration. This is the smoothest my car has performed since I took ownership.

    I am back in love with my car again.

    If you have this issue I highly recommend you take it in to get "reprogrammed" and insist that they drive it until they acknowledge the problem. You will be much happier for it.

    I'll scan the service ticket and provide the specifics of what they did so you can request the same.

    Hope this helps.
  • Firebird_EOUFirebird_EOU Member Posts: 250
    while driving would it show the abruptness of the transmission to show the dealer?
    Or if it's easily reproducible just have someone take a ride with you (if you let them drive they might say they can't reproduce it)
  • nickel2nickel2 Member Posts: 19
    Follow up: I sent a letter to the CEO in New Jersey as the local dealer ignored my complaint. Subsequently, BMW had an engineer reprogram my transmission. It was NOT improved. About a month later, the transmission failed. It is currently in the shop. I am wondering if this is a "LEMON".
  • skippergskipperg Member Posts: 1
    "SAILORBRYAN" any update on the details? My 535 is in the shop as we speak and I am getting the run around. Again. My 1999 Ford Econoline work van has better off the line performance.............
  • jpurleejpurlee Member Posts: 1
    I have the same problem which has gotten worse. I took the post about reprogramming to my dealer with my complaint. They of course had not heard about this problem. They did reprogram the transmission for me but put multiple disclaimers on the order stating there was not a problem and only did this because I am a good customer. It did nothing unfortunately. I told my sales person that I would not be buying anymore cars from him and he said there was nothing he could do. This problem makes me hate an otherwise excellent car.
  • carlover46carlover46 Member Posts: 1
    Has anyone had issues with their manual transmission? I have a 2011 550i, manual, and at about 900 miles I was shifting from first to second and the throttle spontaneously accelerated. It kept happening as I drove and I went immediately to the BMW dealership (without turning the car off cause I didn't wan to reset the computer). They flew in an engineer and 3 weeks later I was told they found nothing wrong with the car.

    About 200 miles later the car slipped out of 6th gear and then became increasingly difficult to shift (to the point where it was basically un-drivable). I took it in and they said the transmission was bad and there was a hose of some sort that had slipped off of something. They replaced the transmission (another 2 weeks in the shop).

    Then just today, about 3800 miles in, the throttle blipped again. It redlines for about 5 seconds and then drops back down to idle. This only happens when shifting, and as soon as the throttle goes down, I push the clutch in. If I push the start stop button, the throttle drops back down.

    I actually took a video on my iphone the first time this happened but haven't uploaded it because i didn't want to face hell from BMW and I wanted to give them a chance to fix it. If the video would help I will post it to you tube and you all can take a look.
  • gregoryxgregoryx Member Posts: 44
    what is the status of your problem with the transmission?
  • nickel2nickel2 Member Posts: 19
    The dealer had my car for 20 days after the transmission failed. They said they found nothing wrong. I asked if anything was done to the car. After several phone calls and emails, I received 14 pages of technical jibberish that has no meaning to me. I emailed a request simply asking if anything was done to the car. I am still awaiting a response. I also asked what the computer error message indicated. No response. The transmission jerkiness, etc, is about 50% improved. It is still annoying, but not as bad. I can't believe a BMW dealer would treat a customer as I have been treated. Even customer service in New Jersey talked like they were on my side, but when it came down to actually helping me, they didn't. BMW doesn't want to admit that there may be a transmission problem. From the posts on this forum and others, it seems the company handles transmission complaints such as mine, by just ignoring them. I will post a followup.
  • gregoryxgregoryx Member Posts: 44
    i have a 2010 535xi with about 33000 miles and it has given me virtually no problems and i'm still on my original set of tires. I am due to go to purchase a new 2011 (F10) model because i like the style just a bit better than my current vehicle.

    However, after reading several hundred posts about the problems with the good year run flat tires and how BMW doesn't seem to acknowledge the issue as well as the problem with the transmissions noted above - i am very hesitant about moving forward. in fact, i'm going to sleep on it tonight and will probably request a refund of my downpayment.

    are there any other participants who are equally concerned?
  • nickel2nickel2 Member Posts: 19
    Definitely sleep on it. If I knew what I was in for, I would never have bought a BMW. It has cost me a lot of lost sleep. If you do request back your downpayment, let the dealer know why. Maybe if enough buyers request back downpayments they will realize they have a problem and try to fix it. Money talks.
  • busirisbusiris Member Posts: 3,490
    It's your money, so you should do whatever you prefer.

    Two points, though...

    Do you know if the car on which you have made the option payment comes with Goodyears? If not, it's an irrelevant issue.

    Secondly, you have first hand experience with the model, and according to you, have no issues.

    You would be hard-pressed to find any model that doesn't have some number of transmission complaints, along with just about every other component.

    For example, there are a few hundred transmission complaints on the Mini forum, yet the car's production is well over a million. You may see that as a relatively significant number... I don't.

    I would say that you would be much better looking at manufacturer/model recalls and number of TSB's than forum complaints, unless there is a highly abnormal number of complaints.

    That's my opinion...
  • jayrandalljayrandall Member Posts: 81
    edited September 2011
    Just leased a 2011 535xi ... car is loaded, about 70k MSRP. Anyhow, the transmission in this vehicle has the same issues noted throughout this blog. It is beyond annoying ... all the issues occur at low speeds, jerky take off, no response when flooring the pedal, and just a poor overall experience for such a beautiful car.

    Anyhow, I called my sales person today, notifed him and of course, he said bring it in for service etc. I am doing it tomorrow, but I only have 158 miles on the car, and haven't even had it two weeks! The issue is so obvious. I am going to ask him to take the car back and rip up the deal, it's unacceptable to have this issue in a $70k BMW.

    I just traded in my 2009 Infiniti FX35 .. what was I thinking ??? Why Infiniti aspires to the be Japanese BMW is beyond me.
  • james27james27 Member Posts: 433
    FWIW, they say the transmission computer can take a few thousand miles or more to learn your style. But, do what you wish. My last car was an Infiniti, and I truly hated its transmission, which is the primary reason I sold it. It was replaced at about 1-year, and while better, the rest of the driveline just never was the same - they kept saying, it's within normal parameters.
  • jayrandalljayrandall Member Posts: 81
    Yeah, but which model Infiniti and year? My 2009 FX's 7 spd tranny was much smoother then this BMW 5 series.
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