I have also heard a lot of these rumors about BMW transmissions going out, especially in Southern California. People actually joking about "almost time for a transmission" like it was a common thing.
On the contrary, I have worked on these cars for the last 5 years and have literally not seen one come in that needed a transmission. That doesn't mean that they don't break, I'm sure they do, especially with the way a lot of SoCal folks drive. But in my experience (in the Northwest US), I have yet to see one go bad.
With good maintenance and reasonable driving, I don't think you have anything to worry about.
Last edited by jhurless; 01-17-2013 at 11:56 PM.