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BMW X3 hesitation on acceleration

cincyartcincyart Posts: 15
edited September 2014 in BMW
I have an X3 on order, should arrive any day !
When I test drove an X3 I noticed a hesitation from a standing stop.
The salesman said it was due to the cold and a cold engine.
However, I have noticed this topic on other forums:

Some have mentioned that a computer fix will take care of it. At any rate, I am leasing
a BMW, in part, for their reputation for preformance,handeling,etc.
I'm also a bit troubled about CR recent "below average" reliability rating.

Are there any current owners who can shed any light on this........I guess I'm having some buyers remorse before taking delivery !


  • drjcool1drjcool1 Posts: 45
    I have had my 2007 X3 since December, 2006. Although I am generally very happy with this vehicle, you should be aware that the hesitation that occurs with acceleration is frequent and recurring. While is true that it is exacerbated when cold, it can and does happen at any time. With regard to the reliability rating, that is exaclty why I would only lease and never buy a BMW or Mercedes. I only purchase Lexus and Acura. The X3 handles quite well, however, and it is a joy to drive. Good luck with your purchase!
  • cincyartcincyart Posts: 15
    I'll test drive it before I take delivery, as I recall it didn't seem to be real bothersome,
    but a brand new BMW should be flawless. IMO, thats why they get the big bucks.
  • x3driverx3driver Posts: 18
    I put another post in another part on this. You can look at it there if you want. But I also wanted to point you to another site where this topic has been beaten to death. I can't because this one won't allow it. Anyway, here is one of the postings on the topic, and there are PLENTY MORE!

    It's not my words.....

    I've had my '05 X3 for about 18 months now and I know how it works. He's had his even longer.

    Listen up here folks, here's the deal:
    In DRIVE mode the trans software is programed 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 suposed 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.

    The software that controls the transmission does "learn" your driving habits after some time. That's why they call it "Adaptive Transmission Control". The computer uses throttle position and vehicle speed to determine what gear to be in. It WILL adapt to your particular driving style but it takes a while. Maybe as long as 3-4 months depending on how much you drive it. I noticed that "hesitation" (trans shift to first) for quite a while in my X3. These days it never seems to happen. My trans has adapted

    So guys and gals, give it some time. It will smooth out the more you drive your fantastic X3s as you and the X become ONE
  • cincyartcincyart Posts: 15
    THANKS x3driver !
    Now I'm ready to take delivery of my X3 without any "hesitation" :-))
    This board is terrific ! I hope to return the favor after I have been an owner for awhile.
  • cincyartcincyart Posts: 15
    Fantastic ......... I took delivery of my 07 X3 last Thursday !
    It is living up to the BMW standard of driving for me in every way .... except for
    the adaptive trany issue. Not only do I have the hesitation from standing stop, I am also experiencing it while ascending just about any grade of 25 degrees or more !
    I can only describe it as though the car were out of tune or running out of gas.
    I am noticing this more often as the days go by. This has to be something other than the adaptive transmission issue, can anyone relate to this ?
    I plan I taking it to the dealership tomorrow.
  • x3driverx3driver Posts: 18

    I would be prepared to explain to the dealer if it does that in SD" mode, and/or if it depends on how deep into the gas you are. It sounds worse than ours, ours is only under really light throttle, and only barely noticable......
  • cincyartcincyart Posts: 15 SD "sport" my X3 behaves like I would prefer. This is really two vehicles in one!
    In regular D mode it is very deliberate and refined so to speak, in SD mode it becomes
    a real tiger, almost like driving a BMW 3 series coupe. So far, my average mpg is about the same as using D, around 19.5 mpg in suburban driving.
  • trr1trr1 Posts: 10
    I brought my Wife's new 2007 X3 in for service today for this issue - not realizing there were many complaints about this. We experience up to 3 seconds of delay from a dead stop. BMW service just called me and said there is a software release pending that will resolve this issue. They said 3-4 weeks away. Keeping my fingers crossed.
  • cincyartcincyart Posts: 15
    I spoke to the service dept. at my dealer, he has no knowledge of any such thing.
  • yoscottyoscott Posts: 1
    Well, unfortunately we did not check out this web site before we purchased a new X3. We had it for one week and on Monday we brought it back to the dealer because of the MAJOR Hesitation when starting out. I found that the dealer was aware of this issue and never told us about it. We test drove another X3 and that did not have a problem. But like a silly buyer they had to go to another dealer to find our color and we did not test drive. MISTAKE.
    Anyway the dealer still has our X3 and we have a nice loaner that we will not be returning until they fix our vehicle. We were told today that by the end of the month (april)BMW should have new software that will (hopefully)fix the problem. I would highly recommend that if you have this same hesitiation issue, you should return to your dealer. Good Luck YoScott
  • cincyartcincyart Posts: 15
    Now that we are into May ....... has the software fix come to pass ?
  • markdimarkdi Posts: 33
    I just bought a 2007 BMW X3. I test drove a different one, then took the one of the showroom floor in the color I wanted. I did not notice hesitation on test drive, but immediately noticed on mine. It is a week old and I hate it. Not to mention the stupid protruding plastic door handle that my knee constantly hits. The hesitation is horrible. It does it from a dead stop, and while driving at slow speeds. It is unacceptable to me-I want to return it. The transmission is so erratic, that passengers complain about the rough and jolty ride-it is embarrasing to tell them I spent so much on a piece of junk. I think I made a mistake. This is going to be my last BMW. I should have bought the Nissan Murano! BMW had better get this thing fixed or they will face a major class action suit. Also, I have the starting problem that I have seen others talk about. My 10 year old Jeep that I traded in on this started every single time! This thing failed to start 8 times in the first week. You need to hold it and crank the engine for 2 or 3 seconds like the cars from the 50's!
  • markdimarkdi Posts: 33
    I am taking mine to the dealer in a few weeks. I dont know why I have to wait 3 weeks to do it. I am going to call to reschedule it earlier. I think they are stalling for time. The BMW service advisor is aware of the problem, but is not aware of a fix for it yet. They had better get something together because I will give them 3 attempts, until they are taking it back under PA lemon law. I am very serious about this problem! It is so annoying that I will not be able to stand staying in the 36 month lease! Can you believe that I actually liked the my 10 year old jeep better? It was smoother. I never had a shifting problem with that.
  • cincyartcincyart Posts: 15
    This was just posted on I made an appointment to take mine in next wk.

    This problem has been addressed by BMW. Tell the dealer to refer to SIB 24-08-07. This includes a reprogram of the DME and the EGS.

  • markdimarkdi Posts: 33
    I just had the dealer look at it this week. They reprogrammed it with a new software update from BMW. They said to drive 100 miles or so until evaluating it, but I dont see any change so far in 25 miles. It is still hesitating (although it seems very slightly better), but it is still very rough and erratic in upshifting and downshifting. Also in SD mode, when I let my foot off the gas, it decides to rev to 6000 rpm's briefly and intermittently for no apparent reason. Not happy, but I will see what happens.
  • mike189mike189 Posts: 23
    dear sir,i work for a bmw dealership here in monmouth cty new jersey,bmw has new programing for the hesitation on acell ,and it works ,but please keep in mind ,if you dont know,you know now,all bmws MUST have premium fuel,with as little ethanol content as possible,the more ethanol that is in the fuel the worse the performance,if you log onto circle bmwswebsite at,read about the top tier fuel on our website thank you ,let me know how you make out.please...........mike
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Kind of a circular way to get to

    Let's avoid hyping your dealership please.
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,321
    Thanks for the link. Never knew about this. My station went from Chevron to Shell recently. Both on the approved list.
    Good news for my 545i! :)
  • markdimarkdi Posts: 33
    Mike-The update or "fix" does NOT work! And yes, I do use 93 octane. The hesitation has nothing to do with loss of engine power, it is in the computer that controls how the transmission shifts.

    You press the gas, and goes slowly, then jerks forward. Sure, it might go without hesitation if you "floor" it. This transmission controller works like a 16 year old girl learning "stick" for the first time. It is very jerky on upward and downward shifting.
    Everyone makes remarks about it when in the car, like, "how much did you pay for this", and "I thought BMW was good".The other day, I was driving 40 miles an hour, then let off the accelerator, then it shot up to 6000 rpm's briefly, then back down. Never had a car do that before. I do not like this-every day it hesitates!! Okay-I concede that it is a little better. I think this is a temporary software "patch", but not the ultimate fix.
    My lowest rated consumer reports 10 year old jeep shifted WAY better.
    Mine is going back in again for service!
  • markdimarkdi Posts: 33
    I really think that the software programmers for the ECU need to soften up on the engine compression braking, or eliminate it. Most people do not like it-not only on the BMW-which has VERY strong compression braking, but others like Toyota as well. I feel like I am going to be lunged through the windshield when I lift my foot from the accelerator at 45 mph. And how can this possibly be good for gas mileage, not to mention the REQUIRED 91 minimum octane. hmmmmm. Makes me wonder if the car companies are in the pockets of the gas companies?
    Anyway-they better do something soon, because my car sucks! It is a very frustrating and rough ride.
  • markdimarkdi Posts: 33
    Did you get the software update on your x3? Do you think it worked?
  • kobukkobuk Posts: 5
    Mark, I want to thank you for your comments. It help me with the decision to go or not to go. wish you good luck in your future car hunting. The feeling on X5 is even worse than X3, especially for pasengers - People starts to feel sick after couple turns in a busy local road. Someone might like it but not me nor average family people I guess.
  • Why would BMW allow a product to go out like that? I'm not understanding the concept of spending some 4 months driving around with an erratic transmission. I would be very pissed about the whole thing to be honest. It makes no sense that a premium product would be delivered to the consumer like that. See and several other web sites on the X3 transmission problems and I have my doubts that BMW did a good job here. I planned on getting one, but I have my doubts now. Last year, the X5 had a recall on the transmission and numerous series 3 owners are having a lot of severe issues with the transmission. What gives BMW?
  • markdimarkdi Posts: 33
    I dont know why we all have to be doing field testing for BMW! I am pissed and I hope they are reading these. Do NOT buy an X3 people!! They got major issues.
    Mine is going in for service the second time, and it is only 1 month old! The hesitation is worst than ever now. From a dead stop, and while driving, and cornering, the hesitation and rough downshifting is making me think that BMW is the ultimate piece of crap driving machine!
  • miniokminiok Posts: 14
    BMW service representatives are of no help on the issue. You simply get the "see your service manager" response. I made a big mistake getting an X3. It is indeed the ultimate piece of junk and BMW could care less.
  • kobukkobuk Posts: 5
    Almost reached a deal with local dealer on X3, and it sounds so good. I am glad in the last minute I reviewed this topic and learned what's going on. Of course the deal was gone. Now I start to understand why there are more than 10 X3's sitting on the dealer's lot and why the manager did his best to lure me back. Thanks for all who speak the truth. People interested in X3 be alert - at least be a little patient for the fix before you buy.
  • trr1trr1 Posts: 10
    The fix was installed about 3 weeks ago. Its better but not up to the so called BMW standard. The car is still choppy as hell. If it was my car I would do anything I could to give it back. Its my wife's lease and she loves the whole package but is disappointed about the lack of performance. I would strongly recommend staying away from this automobile. BMW blew it big time with this adaptive transmission implemenation. I have a 2004 330XI which is great - it does not have adaptive transmission. I plan on staying away from any BMW car with adaptive transmission. What a disappointment.
  • vsaxenavsaxena Posts: 211
    I am not sure what the folks who are complaining were driving before they got their X3. People driving V6, especially American cars, are used to flooring it and that is what might be causing th e problem. I have a 2007 X3 and do not face any thing which is unexpected.

    If you like to floor it, drive it in the sports mode. It will Start in Gear 1 and launch quickly. It will not get into the 6 the gear. You will burn more fuel but the car will feel like a rocket.

    If you driving on city roads and are concerned about the mileage, drive in the regular mode. However, if you are in the regular mode, do not floor the pedal every time you start. Flooring it enables the kick down and the transmission shifts down.

    The BMW inline 6 is a smooth engine with a wonderful torque-RPM curve. You do not need to floor it and rev up the engine to get the power. Drive off without flooring it and you will get smooth power delivery and reasonable acceleration for city driving. When you floor it in regular, the car downshifts which takes time (manifests has hesitation) and then launches (which feels like a strong jerk). Dont do it unless you have a traffic related reason to.

    To truly enjoy the car, try the manual shifting mode. It shifts very quickly and you can control the experience very well. :D. The adaptive tranny might be worsening the problem since it anticipates that you are going to floor and downshifts sooner. However, I doubt that it is the root cause. If you are careful about the power you apply the car will work fine.
  • cincyartcincyart Posts: 15
    Who is talking about flooring it ? Those of us who are unfortunate to have gotten an X3
    with this issue are just driving as we always have. When I hop in my wife's Acura, off I go without hesitation, same old method, not flooring it ! My X3 is at the dealer right now for
    the SIB 24 08 07 software update on the tranny. I will let you know if it has helped.
  • vsaxenavsaxena Posts: 211
    I too have an X3 I picked up in 2007. It is unlikely that our cars have different trannys. I have driven the car on the Autobahns and the roads of New York (130 mph and 10 mph average) and do not have the problem.

    One thing I realized that th gas pedal of BMWs offer a lot more resistance than other cars. For example, just today my wife commented that our 7 series requires a lot more effort on th gas pedal than an Accord V6 EX! This is because the gas pedal on the 7er has greater senstivity (i.e. shades of gas intensity) and a harder pedal allows for more precise control. This might also mean that if you are new to driving these cars, you might be putting in more effort than you realized simply because the car reacts differently to the pedal.
This discussion has been closed.