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View Full Version : Some insight from a potential buyer, some info may shock you.


Brocktoon
01-24-2008, 08:23 AM
Hi,

You guys have a great forum here, and as my current lease is soon to expire, I have been on the hunt for a replacement vehicle.

I have read with much interest the rant & rave threads, especially about auto tranny issuse. It seems to me that this is some history repeating... let me tell you why.

First, it may shock most of you to learn that the X3 is not BMW's first stab at a compact, luxury SUV. Back in the day, as you may recall, BMW was the proud owner of Rover Cars (the then parent of Land Rover), and while the body dimensions and basic layout were firmed up by Honda (ther previous owner), the mechanicals, of the Freelander were pretty much a BMW cross parts bin engineering job.

While not much loved in North America, the Freelander, mainly those powered by the BMW 2 litre deisel was highly regarded, and still command a premium on the used market elsewhere. As a matter of fact, the Freelander was the best selling truck in Europe for several years.

Now, when the Freelander finally made it to north america with Rover KV6 power, it came only with the 5 speed Jatco Steptronic from the then current x5. It was even branded as "Steptronic" for marketing purposes.

Guess what? Those cars were plagued with transmission issues, re-programming fixes, hesitation and tranny failures that were not found on the X5, spooky, eh?

For whatever reason, it seems that BMW has some sort of bias in either their approach to engine management/electronics or engineering that is just incompatable with an automatic, compact SUV. Apparently 10 years later, they still don't have it right.

BTW: I have seen some some complaints about slow upshifts when cold. This is "normal" and I'll tell you why. This is not actually a fault in the tranny, it is actually a "feature" of most engine management systems out of europe. The idea is that the gears hold longer when cold in order to "light off" the catalytic converters and reduce NOx emissions when cold. The obviously can't do this on a manual car, but hitting the automatics hard helps the fleet averages. Under attack from Greenies, Porsche actually advertises this as a green feature in europe on the Tiptronic. Some cars don't do this because they deal with the issue differently ie: cats closer to the head.

Anyway, I have owned two Freelanders and I have been happy with them as the price and rate are so heavily subsidised where I live, I was driving them for less than a CR-V, but now, it's time for something bigger, and the X3 looks like a good contender.

Sorry for the long post, I thought you guys might find this interesting.

cbj
01-24-2008, 08:32 AM
Rented a Freelander and took it around Olympic National Park. Perfect off road on dirt roads but not impressed on road. Crappy looking car inside. The X3 is miles and miles better than the old Freelander.

kjboyd
01-24-2008, 08:43 AM
Also, the 5sp Steptronic in the first X3s was just fine. No problems with it really.

Brocktoon
01-24-2008, 08:48 AM
Hey, I'm not down on the X3 or trying to sell you a Freelander, I just think it's strange that both tranny issues:
-started after a cosmetic update
-involved trannies that performed normally in other models

And that the Freelander is X3's 1/2 brother...

M3Addict
01-24-2008, 09:05 AM
I've driven several X3's both on and off road. I experienced none of the problems that you speak of...

Andrew*Debbie
01-24-2008, 09:24 AM
As I've posted before, I don't think the X3 problem is as widespread as this forum makes it out to be. Message forums tend to attract people with a common interest. I've looked at both CR and J.D. Power and the latest published information shows a much lower problem rate than what is posted here. I'm very interested to see the next CR update.


Transmission issues are fairly common and not just with BMWs. Several manufacturers are having problems with the new 6 and 7 speed automatics.



Remember, BMW doesn't build transmissions. They buy them from ZF, Getrag, GM and apparently Jatco. Magna supplies the transfer cases used in all x-drive cars. Not sure about the front transmission, but that is likely Magna too.

I didn't know that Jatco supplied the X5 transmission. Do / did they make any other transmissions for BMW? Jatco transmissions are used in London Taxis. (I have a vintage taxi)


I'm not sure who does the EGS and DME software. Does anyone know if the DTC is BMWs or if was contracted out?

Brocktoon
01-24-2008, 10:02 AM
I've driven several X3's both on and off road. I experienced none of the problems that you speak of...

As the subsequent poster points out, have a look at the number of posts related to the transmission on the first page alone! I don't "speak" of it, you guys do, just wanted to provide what you might find interesting insight. The Freelander boards were lit up like a christmas tree 6 or so years ago with the same complaints, and I just wanted to share the similarity with you, which I found shocking, considering they are both BMW parts bin specials. (I mean this in the most charitable way.)

If you think I'm attacking your car, I don't think you have read my posts very carefuly, nor the many, many others on this topic here.

Brocktoon
01-24-2008, 10:04 AM
anyway, I'm out of here before someone accuses me of trolling, I'm sure that's next.

Evlengr
01-24-2008, 10:44 AM
Thanks Brocktoon--it is actually very helpful.

UncleJ
01-24-2008, 10:49 AM
Brock, interesting take on the Freelander. I can see why the 2.0 diesel would be a great seller, probably would have done well here too if we were allowed such a thing. Never really cared for the looks, but hey beauty is in the eye...etc. Thanks for the background, very interesting.

crazybelgian
01-24-2008, 02:33 PM
anyway, I'm out of here before someone accuses me of trolling, I'm sure that's next.

I don't think you are trolling, but i do think you are wrong about the Freelander having BMW parts/ engineering.

wikipedia:

"The Freelander, wholly designed by the Rover Group after early talks of a co-operation with BMW resulted in disinterest from the German side. Despite this, BMW secretly proceeded with their BMW X3, inspired by the Freelander prototype. It came off the production line in late 1997. It rapidly became the best selling compact 4x4 in Europe, outselling the BMW X3, as well as many other small "off-roaders". In December 2007, Autocar Magazine in the UK reported that early development designs and sketches of the Freelander prototype featured Hyundai badging, suggesting that a tie up between the 2 manufacturers was being proposed in order to globally produce the vehicle."

As far as i remember, the Range Rover was the only vehicle to receive a BMW engine, but I could be wrong of course...

UPDATE: just realized that the 2 liter diesel was a BMW engine, but they didn't offer it until 2001. And that is only the engine, nothing else.

Brocktoon
01-24-2008, 08:07 PM
I It came off the production line in late 1997. It rapidly became the best selling compact 4x4 in Europe, outselling the BMW X3, as well as many other small "off-roaders"..

well, I'll give you 10,000,000 for one example the 1997 X3 it outsold...how can something outsell a car not yet in production? Wiki is not the be-all, end all, you know.

I could fill a page with all the Freelander part numbers that are a direct BMW repacement, but I won't wase my time when I'm up against a 1997 X3... make up your own minds.

:thumbup:

Sonoman707
01-24-2008, 09:14 PM
well, I'll give you 10,000,000 for one example the 1997 X3 it outsold...how can something outsell a car not yet in production?


I wondered about that as well...

kjboyd
01-24-2008, 09:27 PM
it doesn't mean there was a 97 X3, it's saying that over it run life, it even outsold the X3, which is a very popular SUV in europe. hence the portion about rapidly becoming....
keep up people =) or have our trans problems shaken our brains a little too much?