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BMW X3 hesitation on acceleration



  • miniokminiok Posts: 14
    This issue has nothing to do with the gas pedal. What is happening is that the car acts like it has run out of gas at times. Other times it simply shifts with a jolt. You are fortunate tha tyours doesn;t act that way, but many others wish they had never purchased this vehicle.
  • markdimarkdi Posts: 33
    Adjust your driving style vsaxena? Cmon! I think that something fishy is going on here. Vsaxena sounds like a BMW representative to me!

    We all know how to drive! I am 42 and all of my previous cars where fine. And yes, one was a BMW. I do not think the accelerator pedal is any different than most cars.

    The X3 has transmission problems-period.

    It hesitates from a dead stop, and also while going if you take your foot off the gas, then reapply it, it will sometimes hesitate. Also the downshifting could be quite rough. Mine was in twice already for programming. The first time it seemed okay for 3 days, then got much worse. The second time in...well I just got it back. Seems okay, but I cannot tell yet since I have to wait a week or two.
    Dont jump to conclusions on this after you get your service software update done. It takes a few hundred miles to adapt. I already had it hesitate twice. I will let you know. I have my doubts. If it gets bad again, then I will definitely be looking into Lemon Law rights before the third service attempt. :lemon:
    I hope this is fixed!

    For more of the same topic on hesitation you might want to go to and take a look at their x3 forum!
  • trr1trr1 Posts: 10
    I agree with you - some folks are lucky, some are not. We are not. My wife was ok with the fix until this weekend. She stepped on the pedal to try and change lanes and the car just was not there for her. She moved it to sport mode and the rpm's shot up before the car kicked in - she could not change lanes. We have about 400 miles on the car since the change. Going back to the dealer - what a disappointment.
  • I finally has a chance to test drive the X3 last week. I ask for a non-sport model and I have my wife and kids with me, so it's only a short drive. I can feel the hesitation and 1 time when I ease up on the gas, the engine brake on me and slow the car way down which completely caught me by surprise. Unless there's a proven fix by BMW, I will not recommend or buy the X3.
  • markdimarkdi Posts: 33
    :lemon: This car is a big dissappointment. Definitely not up to BMW standards. I just had the car in twice already for software updates on the transmission, and it is only 6 weeks old!
    The results this time? Seemed great for 150 miles, then it started again. Today I went to make a left turn when the light turned green. It hesitated so bad that I actually thought that the engine stalled! Not impressive! Where is the REAL fix BMW??? Will it be out before I take my car back under the lemon law? Too bad, because aside from this, when in rare times it does work, it is actually a joy to drive.
  • trr1trr1 Posts: 10
    My wife just got chills. We just finished typing up a letter to BMW sales/service because we had the fix May 21st and she had the EXACT SAME ISSUE as you this morning - making a left turn, car choked and felt like it was going to stall in the intersection. The car finally lurched forward to avoid being hit. This car is a nightmare. We will be discussing this with BMW first thing Monday morning. Tell everyone you know to stay away from ANY BMW with adaptive transmission for the foreseeable future! Our car was leased from Rallye BMW, Westbury, New York, 11590. They should not be selling this automobile - someone is going to get hurt.
  • grazynagrazyna Posts: 5
    I am thinking of buying the X3 but the transmission problem everyone is talking about has me worried. I spoke with a dealer who said that 2 customers have brought in their X3s for service on the transmission and the service people have just replaced them, saying that BMW won't tell them (service) what exactly is wrong -- just to replace them. Is there any reason to believe that a new "replacement" transmission will have the "fix" (software) that some folks have mentioned? Has anyone seen any BMW explanation for the problem and how/when it will really be fixed?
  • capccapc Posts: 4
    :lemon: :confuse: :sick: I want back my Toyota Corolla, that was a reliable car it was. Never had a problem with it ever, period. When I wanted acceleration, I had it. With the X3 you simply are in complete suspense, will it accelerate?, will it not....The X3 transmision problem IS a BIG and REAL issue. Stay away from the X3. Never had a luxury car before, but after this experience, I will go back to japanese cars, maybe Acura or Lexus, what a disapointment the BMW X3 is.....
  • markdimarkdi Posts: 33
    This is unbelievable isnt it? I thought I was alone in this, but I see so many people are having very similar problems. I had it in twice already and it is not even 2 months old.
    Today-another near miss. While turning left into Home Depot, it actually went forward briefly, then hesitated right in the middle of the intersection. I had to floor it to avoid other cars from hopefully just slowing down to avoid a collission.
    Weird thing is that it seemed really good just after the second service, then after 150 miles, and now 250 miles later it is getting progressively worse again. SD mode is out of the question-that is so jerky and uncomfortable-what a joke. I hope nobody gets in an accident with this. I only pull out when there is absolutely no traffic-its like russian roullette if you dont. :lemon: :sick:
  • markdimarkdi Posts: 33
    Well is has been 450 miles since my 2 month old x3 has been in for service 2 times for the transmission hesitation problem. To be honest, it is MUCH better than it was, but it still hesitates intermittently. Unfortunately the hesitation pops up in the worst place-right in the middle of an intersection while making left hand turns-did it again yesterday! I guess it would do it on right hand turns as well. THe sd mode in my opinion has gotten worse on this program update-seems terribly erratic and rough.
    I guess I will wait awhile until they get another software update-(or if they do). I think twice before pulling out in traffic, and that sucks, because this is a BMW, its expensive, and it is SUPPOSED to work properly every time! :lemon: :lemon:
  • jacqvajacqva Posts: 2
    Add me to the list of dissatisfied X3 customers. I purchased a fully loaded 2006 X3 in Jan 2006, and have had nothing but problems with it. Besides minor annoying things like having to buckle my briefcase in the passenger seat to avoid painful howling by the seat belt alarm, I have had my “SAV” in the shop 3 times in the first year. The software for the blue tooth phone & GPS had to be reloaded several times because it starts acting flaky and eventually just dies every 3-4 months. The GPS has the WORST user interface I have ever seen. It's missing a significant portion of I66 in the Wash DC area and I was told it was because I66 has HOV restrictions during certain hours and BMW doesn’t want to get sued for telling someone to go down a highway that might require 2+ people in the vehicle. So they just decided to eliminate an entire INTERSTATE and send everyone on back roads??

    As for the Bluetooth phone, if you have a PDA that has your entire address book, you will be clicking forever to find a name in the middle of your directory. It only displays ~10 numbers at a time, and there is no way to jump to a letter, so you have to page through the entire directory 10 numbers at a time (if you have work, home and cell numbers for folks, that counts as three). Oh...if the person you are trying to call is not home and you want to now call their cell phone, you have to start ALL OVER AGAIN. ARGH…

    Also, do NOT buy the iPod adapter! It is worthless. Your entire ipod directory is displayed as “TRK 1”, TRK 2”, etc. You have no idea who the artist is or the song title. I have not used it since the day I had it installed.

    But the main issue is the transmission. I am beyond frustrated because each time I take it in, the service folks tell me the transmission checks out “normal” on their computers. I am convinced that this jerky transmission and high RPMs is the reason I get horrible gas mileage on this vehicle. I am averaging around 14.5mpg in the city and 17.5 on the highway. Now, before you accuse my driving habits for this, I do *not* have a lead foot, this is not my first BMW, and yes, I *always* put 93 octane in the car. I too have had many many passengers in my car make comments on how bad this thing shifts and how they think I should have bought a Lexus, etc.

    Wish me luck…I am about to take the car in for the 4th time in 15 months. Sigh…
    :lemon: :lemon:
  • capccapc Posts: 4
    Hi frustated x3 owners, any of you an attorney? I wonder how do I just return my x3 and get my money back. Going to your dealership is just a waste of time it seems. They will try to convince you is "normal" or will try to "teach you how to drive a good car". Has anyone contacted BMW directly about this??. How about a class action sue against BMW for this?? any ideas how to proceed?
  • trr1trr1 Posts: 10
    We just got the car back after it leaving it at the dealership for over a week - the problem apears to be fixed. They had to re-program the entire car. Apparently there is a specific order which the patch needs to be installed. The first installation of the patch did not help. We forced BMW to flatbed the car from our house as I would not let my wife drive the car anymore. We had a loaner 328xi for the week. The tech foreman test drove the car with my wife. He said out of the 200 Jan production cars Rallye BMW in Westbury sold, 4 have been back for this issue. He has personally fixed each car and claims none have come back since he has applied the patch. Makes you think the tech has to really know what they are doing when working on this issue. I will report back after a few hunded miles of driving.
  • markdimarkdi Posts: 33
    Mine still hesitates, but is much better than it was. Unforunately the hesitation, when it occurs, happens while getting out in an intersection! Not safe!
  • vsaxenavsaxena Posts: 211
    For the past few weeks I have been trying to reproduce the problem all over Long Island and Manhattan. I may have hit upon something.

    BMW has a bunch of advanced technologies which anticipate when you are about to brake. For example, if you ease of the gas pressure to apply the brake, it pre-tightens some of the mechanical stuff to reduce braking time and distance. Similarly of the rain sensitive wipers detect rain, it starts drying out the brakes.

    To improve mileage, it also will try to anticipate when you are trying to brake/stop and reduce fuel flow. During a turn many drivers tend to reduce the pressure on the gas pedal. This is not a conscious decision but happens with everyone. If you are taking off from a stop, and turning, and reduce the pressure on the gas pedal, the car might be anticipating that you are about to brake. The electronic throttle might be reducing the gas flow, in anticipation of the brake. So try and keep constant pressure on the gas pedal during turns.

    Ideally, you are supposed to hit the gas when hit the apex of the turn. I guess BMW is tuned towards that and if you ease on the gas, it anticipates that you are going to stop.

    BTW, this car is mean to be driven in the steptronic manual mode. Lots of fun!!

    Good luck with your X3s folk. I am having a blast in mine.
  • miniokminiok Posts: 14
    Great theory! I can't wait to hear how you explain the fact that it hesitates and stumbles when attempting to accelerate in a straight line after stopping. The hesitation isn't happening only in turns, it happens when not turning as well. So much for that theory.
  • markdimarkdi Posts: 33
    I said it before and I will say it again-I think vsaxena is a BMW REP!

    I am with you miniok. Why should millions of people learn to drive differently because BMW cant program their cars correctly? That theory is blown!

    Well here is my conclusion after the second service and 1200 miles later:
    I have my X3 for just over 2 months now. It was in for tranny software updates twice. The first did nothing. The second actually helped the hesitation, erratic downshifting, and a host of other issues a great still hesitates, and stumbles intermittently while turning or going straight. And it happens at the most unsafe time-when crossing traffic or pulling out. I have to wait until traffic is totally clear (like an 80 year old granny would), before proceeding, or it will choke when I pull out. I had to slam it in reverse to clear oncoming cars, and have had horn blows from angry drivers. Not as often as before, but it still happens a few times a week, if not once a day.
    This is unsafe, and is not acceptable to me. I want it fixed, or a new car, or my money back!

    Too bad, because when it works, it is a real nice ride.

    I REALLY REGRET BUYING THIS VEHICLE! IT IS A PAIN IN THE BUTT TO TAKE IT IN CONSTANTLY-THATS WHY I GOT RID OF MY OLD CAR AND BOUGHT THIS ONE! UGHHHHH!!!!! I actually talked to a rep where I bought it, and he told me that there was nothing wrong with the car, but BMW would reprogram it for me to suit my driving. Isnt that a crock of BS!!! By the way, I could not get a word in edgewise with this guy. Well here goes my adventure with service visit number THREE!!
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Just because someone is knowledgeable about and is a fan of a certain brand of car doesn't mean that they work for the company.

    btw, we do have a BMW rep visit the forum occasionally (bmwna).

    If there's another dealer anywhere close you could try stopping in for another opinion. And you can file a complaint with the NHTSA about the hesitation.
  • markdimarkdi Posts: 33
    That is fine with me. I want reps to read these. But, I do not want them to come up with a million excuses why the car is perfectly fine, when it is not.
    I know there are knowledgeable people on here. I happen to be one of them!
  • miniokminiok Posts: 14
    I think our host has come up with a great idea. If everyone with the hesitation problem would contact NHTSA, maybe BMW would acknowledge the problem and get a real solution instead of "thats normal" or "they all are like that". The dealer I bought from won't even acknowledge the problem and contacting BMW is equally unproductive.
  • markdimarkdi Posts: 33
    My dealer actually acknowledged the problem. The service department was aware of the issue. They where aware that software updates could fix it.
    Although, there was one person I spoke with, and I do not know their title, actually told me that the car was perfectly fine, but BMW would program it for my driving style. I find it hard to believe that I would get my own custom programming! That was nonsense. :lemon:
  • markdimarkdi Posts: 33
    In my state of PA, the dealer has 3 attempts to fix the problem. This is a MAJOR safety issue in my opinion. This is not a minor inconvenience. They have to fix it 100 percent, or replace the vehicle, or refund your money. Simple as that. I already spoke with an attorney, and PA laws will make the car manufacturer pay for the legal costs. It wont cost me a penny. I dont want to go that route. I actually like the car-that is why I bought it! BMW's are nice cars. Apparently they have a problem with this one that they just need to fix. Unfortunately I am not paying for a car with THEIR problems! I just want it to work properly!!
  • vsaxenavsaxena Posts: 211
    Thanks steve.

    Hope you folks are able to enjoy your car as much as I do. I too have felt the hesitation and jerk and it is very easy to explain why it is happening. That is why not doing what causes it to downshift will require some adaptation of the driving habits.

    The manufacturers have to meet their mpg efficiency quotas. That is why they have such tricks like starting from the 2nd gear, or reducing gas when it anticipates a stop.

    Instead of lawyers, NHTSA, etc., why dont you give it a try?
  • markdimarkdi Posts: 33
    You gotta be kidding me? Vsaxena, after reading all of your posts, I have not found anywhere where you said that you felt the hesitation problem until in the last one.
    Cars have been around for years and years, and now you think that thousands of x3 owners should suddenly change the way they drive? Is this precious BMW so utterly ahead of our time? That is absurd! Listen....when I press the gas with constant pressure, without letting up, it still hesitates. I can press it gently, or floor it, and it will still stumble and hesitate at times. I pulled out the other day and it stumbled and hesitated so bad, that I had to slam it in reverse so I would not annoy the oncoming traffic. Did you ever have to do that with ANY car? So much for that theory.
    And as far as mpg efficiency quotas are concerned, this car is not really fuel efficient at all. I did not buy it for that purpose. I only get 16mpg in the city-not very impressive at all.
    I can explain the hesitation very easily-the software program that controls the transmission and throttle control still has issues!
    My car is going in next week for the third time in 3 months of owning it. How can I be happy with my purchase? How can I be enjoying this vehicle?
    A BMW engineer is going to look at it.
  • miniokminiok Posts: 14
    Just what driving habit do you suggest changing when atempting to accelerate away from a light in a straight line? Applying constant pressure in that situation results in hesitation. Any more bright ideas?
  • vsaxenavsaxena Posts: 211
    All I can say is that I am thoroughly enjoying this vehicle and am not affected by the issues which seem to be bothering you so much.

    If I try hard, I can reproduce the transmission behavior you have referred to. Luckily my driving style does not result in that behavior under normal driving conditions.

    I like hitting it hard at the apex of the turn as much as I can; so the hesitation when you slow down during the turn does not come into play.

    I either accelerate slowly from a straight-line stop (so that it doesnt downshift to 1st from 2nd) or put it in S/M1 to let it rock. The downshift from 2 to 1 does take time, since the RPMs have to go up significantly and the engine will take time to react. That is why there is the long "hesitation" before the power kicks in again.

    The reason I am suggesting a change in the driving style is that most likely this is a software issue (as many of you agree). If our software is the same, then clearly it is the driving style which is affecting the reaction of the car.

    We have multiple BMWs in our extended family, including two X3s, and people are very happy with the experience including the X3s.

    If you value silky smooth trannies more than the blend of efficiency and performance which the BMW offers, you should have seriously driven the Lexus. And never buy a new car, especially if it is a new brand, without a good test-drive.
  • miniokminiok Posts: 14
    You are fortunate that you are not affected by the transmissions issue.

    It isn't hard to experience the transmission issue since it happens all the time without regard to dirving style.

    Unlike what you seem to think, the problem happens especially bad whne accelerating slowly from a stop. It isn't as severe with more agressive driving, although still bad.

    We have also had multiple BMW's, have enjoyed them tremendously, but we are willing to admit when they have a problem.

    While you are gloating, keep in mind that we did drive the X-3, it did not have a problem, and BMW is not a new brand to us.
  • vsaxenavsaxena Posts: 211
    Best of luck in getting this resolved.

    As I think more about it, it could be an issue related to sensors. The 2006 5 series had a bad steering position sensor which had to be recalled. When a car has such complex systems, any part of the chain can cause a problem. The 2007 x3 has a new tranny which might be exacerbating the problem. One big challenge with such systems is that if the self-check diagnostics do not detect the problem, it is almost impossible to diagnose except on a test-rig in a lab.
  • jrynnjrynn Posts: 162
    Sorry to hear that a handful of X3 owners have had transmission issues. The transmission in my 2006 X3 3.0 has been perfectly fine.

    The only thing even remotely resembling hesitation that I've experienced has come after my Volvo driving wife has spent some time in the X3's driver's seat where the adaptive transmission has come to expect lead-footed pressure on the accelerator. But the X3 has also quickly "re"-adapted to my style.
  • markdimarkdi Posts: 33
    Plain and simple-there you have it.
    3000 miles on a brand new car. Latest software update. Sure it is better, but it STILL hesitates, and you dont know when it will happen. There is NO performance in hesitation! So I know BMW did not engineer performance into this tranny.
    SD mode is useless because the downshifting is horribly rough and uncomfortable. Steptronic is lame as well, since the tranny program will override your commands. This is a sav. It should not drive like a MACK truck.
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