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BMW X3 hesitation on acceleration



  • gmacpanygmacpany Posts: 3
    Horrible hesitation, horrible steering, just God awful BMW.

    Major mistake in leasing this SUV. With only 300 miles on it taking it in for service this Friday.

  • arthurwarthurw Posts: 4
    Latest communication with my dealer:
    I’m just taking a few minutes to document what we’ve talk about yesterday. My 2007 X3 was brought in to Park Ave. BMW by my son for emergency service on the morning of 4/23/2007 with only a few thousand miles on it. The claim check number on the vehicle was #2318 (I have it). On the evening of 4/22/2007, I was traveling over the GW Bridge when the X3 lost all forward mobility and started to slow completely down in the middle of traffic. I pushed the gas pedal and the engine revved but it didn’t help. I noticed that the D indicator wasn’t showing. I also noticed a transmission waning indicator was amber on the console. I shifted the X3 into S for sports drive and the D came back up (not the S) and the vehicle continued to move staying in one gear until I was able to exit off of the bridge. When I pulled next to the curb and attempted to put the X3 in reverse it wouldn’t move. After turning the X3 off and letting the vehicle rest for 10 minutes, I was able to resume driving and the warning indicator did not appear again. The next morning the X3 was brought in by my son as mentioned above. After several hours, the vehicle was brought out and my son was told that alarms were cleared and adjustments made and that all would be OK. He wasn’t given any service report of the work done… I am amazed that Park Ave BMW claims there is no record of this service. Especially since the X3 hasn’t been right since then. So, after four more visits to your service area and your recent statement that the car is functioning as it should, I started to do some research and here’s what I found and, I think the reason why BMW may not want anything specific recorded about this problem.

    Please follow this URL, The problems detailed about how dangerous the hesitation I am experiencing is explained by numerous other X3 owners and they say it better than I can. I am most upset at the fact that initially Larry W. told me he never heard of any problems with X3s of the type I am having. The best explaination I can give about what BMW did that caused some of my problem from the many postings was:

    “In DRIVE mode the trans software is programmed to start off in second gear as an economy measure to help save gas. BMW did that on purpose. If you're fairly light on the throttle it will stay in Second, accelerate, and eventually shift into Third, Fourth and Fifth. Try it out and count the shifts. (You may need to watch the tach to notice the shifts, this trans can be really smooth at very light throttle and the higher gear shifts may only vary a few hundred rpm)

    But if you put a little more foot into the throttle on take-off (i.e.: from a dead stop) the trans will shift down from Second to First to give you better acceleration. This is what it is supposed to do. It happens in an instant but you can still feel the car start to move, then "hesitate" from the shift, and then take off. If you have a light enough foot it may never even happen to you. If your foot is rather heavy you may notice it more at first but it will "teach" your trans really quick that you want a fast start most of the time.

    Now in SPORT mode the trans ALWAYS starts in first, thus no "hesitation". The drawback to always using SPORT mode to avoid the "hesitation" (gear change) is that it almost NEVER shifts into Fifth gear in city driving. The vehicle has to reach a certain speed before it will upshift to Fifth. That can really hurt your mileage in town if you never get over 35-45 mph. AND your trans never gets a chance to "adapt" to your style in DRIVE mode.”

    Nevertheless, what really sticks out is the concern about how dangerous many of the X3 owners feel the hesitation problem is. I have experienced it first hand and am afraid to pull out of a gas station onto a highway without a very large open window in the road – people honk at me, but I can’t trust the car. Moreover, my wife feels she cannot put our grandchildren safely in it.

    Next, let’s discuss the other issue – I hit the jackpot – I have both of the major, hidden problems that BMW has with this vehicle. The transmission failure I experienced and the resulting inability to shift into reverse. It’s all over the place, Consumer Affairs knows it and it’s been there for several years – good job BMW on the PR front, if a potential buyer doesn’t do their homework on the internet, they’d never know there was a problem.

    By Joe Benton

    January 11, 2007

    BMW owners find themselves facing thousands of dollars in transmission repair bills while the highly profitable German automaker refuses to accept any responsibility for the mounting number of failures.

    The complaints being filed with ConsumerAffairs.Com are similar and describe a transmission that hesitates or refuses to be shifted into reverse.

    Therefore, Phil, please don’t insult my intelligence by offering that an expert take a ride with me in the car so I can show him what’s wrong. You know the problem is intermittent, persistent and for the most part unfixable. Either you get a good one or you don’t. If you get the good one, you are a happy X3 owner. If you get what I have, it’s a well-rehearsed policy line.

    Let me know if you want to try the software fix again – it has improved some but not all of the issues for other owners as far as the hesitation goes. In the mean time, I’m looking for a new group that wants to do a class action against BMW and sending this e-mail to as many interested parties as I can find.

    Who would have believed what BMW is knowingly doing to people.

    Let me know if I should bring the loaner back today or if you want to try and improve the performance of the X3 to a non-dangerous state.
  • arthurwarthurw Posts: 4
    The BMW X3 has 3 separate buttons for the automatic seat adjustments numbered 1, 2 and 3. If the herkey-jerkey transmission adjusts over time to the "driver's style of driving", is that for driver 1, driver 2 or driver 3. I was never told by my dealer that the X3 was designed with only one driver in mind, were you????????
  • sansnilsansnil Posts: 7
    I have the transmission hesitation problem with the new X3 I leased and am trying to find out how to tell what software versions I have installed. Does anyone know?

  • trr1trr1 Posts: 10
    Car Leased in the beginning of Mar/2007

    Rallye BMW, Westbury

    Here is our latest update with our X3 issue. Our car has been in 3 times for the same problem. Rallye Service tried putting the fix in for the 2nd time. They had their head man worked on the car. The head tech stated he had worked on 4 such cars out of 200 sold this year and not one had come back. To top it all off the head tech test drove the car with my wife for the sole purpose of seeing if she was an erratic driver. She noticed this in the notes of the service advisor. I guess this is such a temperamental car that BMW now needs to start putting folks through driving school? 25+ years of driving experience is not good enough to drive an X3. Maybe it’s the shoes we are wearing?
    Well, they are getting this piece of crap back once again. My wife is absolutely livid - she was making a U-turn this morning and for several seconds the X3 went into la-la land, nothing, no engine noise, no acceleration, just stayed nice and quite in the intersection while the gas pedal was being pressed down and traffic was heading towards her. The fix was re-applied about a month ago and the car had been performing better. I had noticed many times where the car would hesitate and buck forward from dead stops or in making turns but not as much as before. It had started to get worse recently. I guess the nightmare of a transmission started to 'adapt'. My wife had been ok with the car as she claimed she did not notice any major issues - until this morning. She immediately called our service advisor and after a few hours of phone tag she finally get through to him. He stated he had to talk with the service manager because there were several other car issues. I don’t know if he meant X3 issues or general car issues. He assured my wife he would call back by the end of the day. No call. I am sure we will be talking with both Service and Sales in the AM as they must be putting their ducks in a row. I am sorry to say I strongly believe they will have no answers.
    All and all the dealership, both sales and service, have been very accommodating - I don’t hold it personally against them that they have to sell and service this crap. This is clearly coming from the top down. BMW North America is clearly aware of this major safety issue yet they continue to sell these unsafe vehicles. We have leased for ~15 years and never had any issues. This is the first BMW we have leased. This car is a nightmare. You folks that feel the need to chime in on how great your cars are should feel very lucky as many of us are suffering months of agony and wasted time with this defective product.
    BMW appears to be waiting for someone to get seriously injured or killed in this vehicle. I will be contacting my Attorney first thing in the morning to see what my legal options are. Its crystal clear there is no fix for this issue. I own a flawless 2004 330XI, what a disappoint.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    While you're waiting for a reply here you may also want to look at Engine Hesitation (All makes/models) in the Maintenance & Repair and section.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • aewcarmanaewcarman Posts: 1
    Has anyone noticed that while the A/C is on the engine makes a horrible sound? I have also had problems with acceleration. I drove in Sport mode with A/C and had the same problem. As soon as the A/C is off the engine sounds better but still has acceleration issues.
  • markdimarkdi Posts: 33
    Well it seems that you are having EXACTLY the same problems as I am. I am going to take this thing in for the 3rd time. I am not going to hesitate lemon law attorney if it does not perform perfectly. You are right-Somebody is going to get hurt with this car! I dont think there is a fix for it!
  • trr1trr1 Posts: 10
    I went passed the dealership and went to corporate. They are active in trying to resolve the issue. The car is in for the 4th time. Gut feel is I will be forced to terminate the lease, I cant belive they will fix this. I asked around my office to see if someone knows someone with an X3. One guy said his son has one. Sure enough, he has the same issue. The car was in a few weeks ago. His wife drove the car since dec, 2006 and never complained. He finally drove the car and noticed it had a several sec delay. The car was leased in NJ. It went in for service 2 weeks ago for the first time. All seemed fine. Today he told me the problem is back once again. Seems BMW blew it big time with this car.
  • trr1trr1 Posts: 10
    BMW cant fix our car. Corporate has authorized a new car for us. At least they stand by their product. We hope there will be no issues with the new vehicle.
  • jrynnjrynn Posts: 162
    "Seems BMW blew it big time with this car."

    If you really believe that, it seems strange that you would accept another X3 as a replacement for your "defective" X3.
  • dan12dan12 Posts: 114
    This probably has been asked before, but does the hesitation develop over time or is it something you can notice on a test drive. I kind of noticed a slight hesitation when I test drove the X3, X5, and 328i. All use basically the same engine and I think all start in 2nd gear by default. The X5 was a bit scary because I really had to step on the gas to get out of the way of an oncoming car. The acceleration delay was a bit of a surprise..

    But I think what I experienced on these test drives is by design to save gas. Does it get worse over time?
  • trr1trr1 Posts: 10
    It may. It did with mine. It also did with 2 other folks I spoke with. It is very inconsistent. The service department said the up and down shifting of the vehicle from different speeds is what enigneering is trying to fix. It seems to be an issue with all implementations of the adaptive transmission. It is a very tempermental transmission, unlike the prior non-adaptive transmission cars. I noticed it on the 3 series loaner cars I have been given.
  • tahoe07tahoe07 Posts: 1
    Let's get it straight once and for all .... the X3 has a faulty transmission. The dealer fully admits this and they state it is a software problem. The car needs to be reprogrammed (reference SB 24-08-07). Even after reprogramming the car, the transmission is not great. The shifting is erratic in turns, in stops and on hills. Before the reprogramming the X3 is a horrendous automobile .... after reprogramming the X3 is tolerable but is surely no ultimate driving machine. I look forward to the engineers finding a fix to this maladaptive transmission. Please report your problems to the :sick:
  • dan12dan12 Posts: 114
    Strange that the problem is so much worse on the X3 than the other BMWs that also have the adaptive transmission. I would expect that all of them have the same software controlling the transmission as well as the same mechanical parts. While the 328i and the X5 3.0 also start in 2nd gear and are therefore slower to start, I don't see lots of complaints from owners on those boards. I just find it a bit strange.
  • davidc1davidc1 Posts: 168
    I was set on getting the X3 for my wife but after reading all the posts on this forum and others, I changed my mind. Can't afford to take the chance since my wife will be driving it w/daughter on board most of the time. Good thing I read all these the day I was to visit the dealer. Thanks everybody for letting me know.
  • arthurwarthurw Posts: 4
    Per BMW: There is a known drivability issue with this vehicle. I am being offered a new vehicle (2008 X3 or other model of comparable value).
  • sansnilsansnil Posts: 7

    That's very interesting! Did that come from the Dealer or BMW Corporate?

    I'm meeting with my dealer's VP of Quality Assurance next week and would love to be able to cite something officially about this as my X3 consistently hesitates and bumps/jerks when accelerating from stopped or low speeds.

  • Sorry for the late response - been away on business. The offer is being handled by the dealer but approval came from BMW corporate.
  • My dealer is going to re-program my X3 next week. I hope it helps! Let us know what replacement vehicle you get and if the transmission issue is solved in it.
  • I was looking at the X3 but the transmission issue has got me to look at the Subaru XT Limited. Faster for $10K less.
  • I got an 2007 X3 with the stick. Don't know if that is an option for you. Mine of course has NO hesitation since it is a stick shift. :-)
  • I am leasing an 05 X3 to be turned back in December. I am thinking about an 08 X3 nut worry about the transmission problems everyone has mentioned on the 07 models. I did not have the problem with my 05 3.0 X3 Was this problem particular to the 07 models???
  • dwgadwga Posts: 1
    WOW! i'm really shocked and disappointed. i had my heart set on getting my first bmw. just was about to test drive and pick out colors.from all the info on this website you all helped me make a informed decision thanks guys.sorry about your headaches.
  • trr1trr1 Posts: 10
    I received my replacement 2008 BMW X3 last week. This was due to the 2007 X3 transmission issues we had since lease inception. Its early going but for 200 miles this car has been awesome! The transmission is like I would expect from BMW. Dont know if the issue was with the 2007's in general or it is hit or miss. The car has a completely different feel to it. I will post once we hit about 1000 miles.
  • We leased an 07 X3 last December. Since then we've only put about 3400 miles on it. I was hoping the transmission would 'adapt' eventually but it has not. While pushing the gas peddle at any time there is about a 2 second lag in the acceleration. The tach will rise from roughly 2k to around 5500 before anything actually happens. Also, while laying off the gas pedal there is a noticeable slow down in the car, as it almost lurches forward, its more noticeable at lower speeds. The lag is what is of most concern. One cannot reliably drive this car in any type of aggressive situation. Be it pulling into traffic or passing on the highway. I also own a 2006 Infiniti G35 Coupe. Driving that car, and the FX35 I am considering, is insanely different than driving the X3. Infiniti has their transmissions worked out, they are head and shoulders above our X3. It disturbs me that a car from a company like this would perform like that. I am going to take it to the dealer tomorrow. It is great that I found this board today as I will reference it while talking to them. Hopefully I can get them to give us a 2008 X3, as we enjoy the car, as long as we're not pushing it too hard.
  • BMW's put out a couple of software updates for the X3's that are affected by the acceleration issue which a lot of folks are having good experiences with. You can go to to the X3 forum and you'll see lots of posts about it. There's an official service bulletin out to the dealers from BMW so they should be able to update your X3 to latest software version through a service appointment.
  • i'm reading alot of 07 trans. issues,are there any 04 or 05 trany issues. i just bought an 04, certified that is and i love it so far. i haven't experienced any issues yet.
  • kesnowkesnow Posts: 20
    The latest version came out in January. I am picking my X3 up today, so I'll see if it helped..... The previous revs made it worse.
  • kesnowkesnow Posts: 20
    An update came out in January, which was just performed on my X3. Picking it up this morning, so we'll see if it helped. Supposed to be for both the engine and DME, which I presume is the engine management module. I'll update.
This discussion has been closed.