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X3 F25 (2011 - current)
The latest X3 brings some added style and some new features to the BMW SUV family. Talk about the new F25 now!

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  #1  
Old 04-29-2012, 11:29 PM
bloggins bloggins is offline
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Brand new 2012 X3 with leatherette - smells bad

Hi there,

I am a big fan of the way new BMWs smell. Maybe it's because of the leather interior, but it's a distinct smell which smells better than any other new cars.

I just got a new X3 the other day which had 8 miles on the odometer, (unless they rigged it). The car was also "punched", which the dealer said it was punched in the system to start the warranty early - which I don't understand, but they gave me extended warranty, additional 3 months...

The point of this thread is, the interior of the car smells really bad.

It's like burnt plastic, toxic, stinging-nose sickening smell. I am wondering if it's the leatherette.

I am pretty much regretting not getting the premium package now just because this smell really affects the whole experience of the car. It's great to drive, but it's a bit unbearable and doesn't smell anything like the other BMWs I've been in before.

I've asked the internet about this, and there's little to no info on it, maybe I'm the only one.

-Ben
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  #2  
Old 04-30-2012, 05:16 AM
Want the Thrill Want the Thrill is online now
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Yours is the first post I've heard of this. Something doesn't sound right with the warranty on your vehicle. The warranty starts from the moment you take ownership of the car, not before. Somethings not right with that. I would take it back to the dealer with your concerns. Is their another X3 on the lot that you can sit in to compare it to (the smell)?
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  #3  
Old 04-30-2012, 06:03 AM
Wabbajack Wabbajack is offline
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All manmade materials will off-gas for several weeks or months. I would guess that yes, it's your Leatherette. I test drove a Lexus and they have those really deep dashes like a minivan and the smell from all that plastic made me nauseous. Even though I knew it would off-gas over time I didn't even want to consider subjecting myself to that for any period of time so it was a dealbreaker (not that I liked how it drove but I was just doing my due diligence! .
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  #4  
Old 04-30-2012, 06:46 AM
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Sounds like they punched it to get discounts or rebates from the factory... Which undoubtedly they didn't pass on to you. So really u bought a used car.

Sorry for the smell. I would also see if there is another one to sit in and compare. Good luck.
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  #5  
Old 04-30-2012, 06:57 AM
Glen E Glen E is offline
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they could have reported it under a demo program thinking they were going to use it, or to get a rebate/advantage...if they extended your warranty, you have no problems.....as far as passing a $$ discount on to you, they may have received no cash, but a incentive to get more cars, something that does not involve money.

you should be able to call BMW with the VIN #to see if it's leather. A great leather treatment that smells great is Poorboy's Natural Look - Google it....
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Last edited by Glen E; 04-30-2012 at 07:00 AM.
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  #6  
Old 04-30-2012, 07:38 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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I think KJ nailed it. By all means sit in another new one -- preferably one that is sitting outside in the sun -- and see if you have the same odor. If you don't than there may be something else going on here. OTOH leather just smells better than naugahyde!

Last edited by UncleJ; 04-30-2012 at 07:39 AM.
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  #7  
Old 04-30-2012, 07:46 AM
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sponge_worthy sponge_worthy is offline
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Seriously though, sorry about your issue - you should definitely get this rectified! Don't compromise.
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Last edited by sponge_worthy; 04-30-2012 at 08:02 AM.
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  #8  
Old 04-30-2012, 08:08 AM
NeedWisdom NeedWisdom is offline
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Have leatherette and no smells at all, just picked it up from PCD last Thursday......with the warranty activated, like everyone else has said, there is something fishy going on.
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  #9  
Old 04-30-2012, 08:39 AM
poker838 poker838 is offline
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might have been intended to be a demonstrator or loaner that they've turned around to you (probably never driven on since its only 8mi on the clock). I didn't notice any noxious fumes in the leatherette in our X3 2011. Hopefully if you drive around with the windows and sunroof open for a bit it'll air out.
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  #10  
Old 04-30-2012, 06:13 PM
jdavid2 jdavid2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggins View Post
The point of this thread is, the interior of the car smells really bad.

It's like burnt plastic, toxic, stinging-nose sickening smell. I am wondering if it's the leatherette.
I too have leatherette and I do sometimes notice somethingt of an odd odor. I'm pretty sensitive in general to odors so it bother me a bit, but not enough to ruin my enjoyment of the car. And, once I'm driving and the Climate Control is on, I don't really notice it.
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  #11  
Old 04-30-2012, 11:37 PM
bloggins bloggins is offline
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Thanks everyone for your replies.

@Glen E - i think you're right. They said they punched the warranty to get some sort of advantage from BMW. They increased my warranty by three months, and several thousand miles (don't remember exact). But I didn't lose anything from that I think. I did a google search on that and apparently it's really common among dealers...

@jdavid2 - sorry to hear, could you describe the smell at all?

@Wabbajack - yea good to trust your instincts, nausea + car is not fun.

Basically the problem I have is dealing with is car for three years. There's not really any way to get out of a lease is there?
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  #12  
Old 04-30-2012, 11:42 PM
Glen E Glen E is offline
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Seriously, get some of the stuff I recommended above. It's got a great candy, fresh smell and will handle it. Also. make sure you are not harboring some mold int he a/c system or mats - take out the floor mats and treat hem. Look here:

http://www.autogeek.net/pbnl16.html


also, if it is really bad, get a BMW fac rep to ride with you and smell it....They will address it....
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  #13  
Old 04-30-2012, 11:58 PM
Wabbajack Wabbajack is offline
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It will off-gas and not smell anymore but will take some time. The challenge is not really knowing how long that will take. Shouldn't be more than weeks or maybe a few months. You can accelerate it by leaving it in the hot sun and crack the windows or sunroof open and whenever you can leave the windows cracked (like in your garage at night). And a noxious plastic smell has nothing to do with mold. Totally unrelated.
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  #14  
Old 05-01-2012, 07:46 PM
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Evlengr Evlengr is offline
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Have owned both leatherette and now leather and honestly the only difference is the choice of color, the fun of detailing it, and resale value.

And leather does smell good to me as I grew up with horse stables and always liked cleaning the tack.
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  #15  
Old 05-01-2012, 11:10 PM
bloggins bloggins is offline
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Thanks Glen E, I purchased poor boy natural look. Looking forward to how that changes the situation.

Great advice Wabbajack, I'll take it outside to the desert one day soon, and burn it off

Evlengr does leather or leatherette have a better resale value?
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  #16  
Old 05-02-2012, 05:19 AM
Want the Thrill Want the Thrill is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggins View Post
Thanks Glen E, I purchased poor boy natural look. Looking forward to how that changes the situation.

Great advice Wabbajack, I'll take it outside to the desert one day soon, and burn it off

Evlengr does leather or leatherette have a better resale value?
Leather is always going to have a better resale value just as it is going to be more expensive of an option up front.
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  #17  
Old 05-02-2012, 07:09 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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After a few years it will make no difference at all. The condition of the car rules all. A high mileage rat with xenons and all the toys will sell for less than a pristine cherry stripper with low mileage. Leather is better, but leatherette lasts longer.
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  #18  
Old 05-04-2012, 11:31 PM
bloggins bloggins is offline
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After having the car for one week I am convinced it's not the leatherette at all that's the problem. The smell is coming from the vents. It's particularly bad if the heat is on.

I've been googling this topic and apparently a lot of people have this problem with various models over the years.

When I first step into the car it smells fine. After several minutes driving, even with windows rolled down things just start to smell really bad. I can't even describe the smell. It's just terrible...
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  #19  
Old 05-04-2012, 11:32 PM
Wabbajack Wabbajack is offline
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Then the next course of action is to troubleshoot mold and/or dead animal!

Have you taken it back to the dealer?

Last edited by Wabbajack; 05-04-2012 at 11:34 PM.
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  #20  
Old 05-05-2012, 06:38 AM
Want the Thrill Want the Thrill is online now
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My inlaws had that same issue with a new Toyota Rav 4 they bought. Turned out one of the drain tubes was clogged and not draining properly and the vehicle smelled terrible. Soon as they replaced the tubing, the smell went away for good. Hope that is the case for you.
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  #21  
Old 05-05-2012, 11:37 PM
jdavid2 jdavid2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggins View Post
Thanks everyone for your replies.
@jdavid2 - sorry to hear, could you describe the smell at all?
The smell I experience is something like smelly shoes. Since I keep my hiking boots in the car, I sometimes wonder if it's just them smelling up the car. No one else really notices it and some talk about liking the new car smell. I'm much more sensitive to odors then most though and don't really like the new car smell in most cars, but the X3 has a little more offensive odor than my other cars that I've owned in the past. I really don't notice the bad smell that much these days and I've had my car about 6 months now. Since I live in Southern California it's been exposed to hot Sun quite a bit even through the winter. So, I'm assuming this is just the normal outgasing from a new car and I just dont' like the smell.
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  #22  
Old 05-06-2012, 12:54 PM
bloggins bloggins is offline
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Thanks for the details jdavid2 - yeah when my air/heater is on it smells bad.

Maybe a little bit like smelly shoes, mixed with burning antifreeze, hot plastic, and dust. It's just an all around toxic olfactory assault.

I went to the dealership yesterday, and I opened up all the doors to the x3's they had on the lot, stuck my head in and smelled each of them.

Some of the ones with leather interior smelled really good. Also, some of the leather ones smelled bad, like raw meat.

The leatherettes smelled like mine, smelled fine (weird), which leads me to believe its definitely the vents.

Maybe it's just the new car factor... No idea how they would check if pipes are clogged. Seems like a complex mystery that would require... A professional

Last edited by bloggins; 05-06-2012 at 01:29 PM. Reason: Changed tone
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  #23  
Old 07-11-2012, 12:57 PM
bloggins bloggins is offline
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I'm going to mark this thread as resolved. (is that even possible?)

Went to a service center today - South Bay BMW - they were awesome.

Spoke with a rep, he was extremely helpful. I got in a loaner car - a 3 series.

I turned on the AC, and then turned it off - and it smelled EXACTLY like my X3.

Basically, it's a unique smell. Turn on the AC, at first you can smell it - then turn it off, and you can smell it consistently. It's kind of a wet metal/ plastic undefinable smell. It's not "bad" or "off", it just has a distinct smell to it.

As far as maintaining your AC and vents, you're supposed to turn off the AC (hit the snowflake btn) 5-10 mins before your destination to dry out the system. This helps prevent any moisture from accumulating and growing bacteria and mildew.

I'm going to do whatever it takes to prevent that notorious "sour" smell.
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  #24  
Old 07-11-2012, 04:32 PM
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Leatherette isn't breathable, so the smells might not be surprising
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