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  #1  
Old 08-16-2007, 04:05 PM
bimmertx bimmertx is offline
 
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Avoid New X3's until BMW Addresses Transmission Problems

I have worked patiently for the past three months with my dealership and a BMW technician. Net is my new 2007 X3 has major transmission problems in Sports Mode. BMW pushes performance, but you can't drive it in Sports Mode without getting whipped around and the transmission sticking in one gear.

1) When coming to a stop in Sports Mode, I am jerked around as the transmission shifts down through each gear.

2) When taking a corner in Sports Mode with a gradual decent, the transmission won't shift to the next gear, it just hangs.

BMW should put a team of technicians to review and re-program this transmission. It is a total joke. Buyers, please beware of this and look elsewhere. The rest of the vehicle is very good, but the transmission is so bad I can't recommend it to anyone. I feel BMW is leaving us stranded.
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  #2  
Old 08-16-2007, 04:09 PM
gork67 gork67 is offline
 
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Drive my 07 every day in sport mode, never a problem. I have several co-workers with them too. No issues here. Weird
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  #3  
Old 08-16-2007, 04:23 PM
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I can understand why you are upset, but there are workarounds.

1. Don't use sport mode. For that mater why would you want sport mode to upshift in a corner? Talk about killing performance.

2. Use the manual shifter.


If you are ordering a new X3, don't get Steptronic. We did that. Problem solved.
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  #4  
Old 08-16-2007, 04:58 PM
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just buy manual...
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  #5  
Old 08-16-2007, 05:01 PM
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This issue has been noted among several 'Festers. I have already decided to warn people away from buying an '07 X3 with the automatic. The problem is the programming and possibly the gearing. X3 owners with a manual will attest to how the X3 is otherwise a terrific vehicle.
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  #6  
Old 08-16-2007, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew*Debbie View Post
I can understand why you are upset, but there are workarounds.

1. Don't use sport mode. For that mater why would you want sport mode to upshift in a corner? Talk about killing performance.

2. Use the manual shifter.


If you are ordering a new X3, don't get Steptronic. We did that. Problem solved.
You don't do a "Workaround" for a 40k vehicle. I am taking someone's (wink wink) advice and going to another dealership and requesting a tech to ride with me.

A workaround is for Hyundai not BMW.
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  #7  
Old 08-16-2007, 06:35 PM
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sadly, the Hyundai wouldn't need the work around.
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Old 08-16-2007, 07:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmertx View Post
I have worked patiently for the past three months with my dealership and a BMW technician. Net is my new 2007 X3 has major transmission problems in Sports Mode. BMW pushes performance, but you can't drive it in Sports Mode without getting whipped around and the transmission sticking in one gear.

1) When coming to a stop in Sports Mode, I am jerked around as the transmission shifts down through each gear.

2) When taking a corner in Sports Mode with a gradual decent, the transmission won't shift to the next gear, it just hangs.

BMW should put a team of technicians to review and re-program this transmission. It is a total joke. Buyers, please beware of this and look elsewhere. The rest of the vehicle is very good, but the transmission is so bad I can't recommend it to anyone. I feel BMW is leaving us stranded.
Our April build/May 07 pickup 3.0Si is perfect in sports mode.

What is your build date?
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  #9  
Old 08-17-2007, 07:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evlengr View Post
You don't do a "Workaround" for a 40k vehicle. I am taking someone's (wink wink) advice and going to another dealership and requesting a tech to ride with me.

A workaround is for Hyundai not BMW.

Yes, of course.

But is the OP's programming problem only with sport mode? Just don't use it. Duh. Use manual gear selection for performance driving and plain old D for everything else until BMW gets the patch out. The problem is well known. Writing software and debugging it takes time. There will be a patch.


I also don't understand why he'd want sport mode to upshift in a turn. I'd be in taking the car in if it DID. I'm wondering if some of the problem is a simple difference of opinion in what a sport mode should be. I'd want the car to shift like I was autocrossing. I want the car to give me all it has. Of course if it is sticking at the red line and not shifting, that is a real problem.
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Last edited by Andrew*Debbie; 08-17-2007 at 07:39 AM.
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  #10  
Old 08-17-2007, 08:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evlengr View Post
You don't do a "Workaround" for a 40k vehicle. I am taking someone's (wink wink) advice and going to another dealership and requesting a tech to ride with me.

A workaround is for Hyundai not BMW.
Well said-I rented many cars in the last 2 years during traveling and even the "appliances" (Impalas, Ford 500, Sonata etc. shifted better)-I expect a lux SUV of BMW quality should be at least as good. Now my '07 trans is acting up--Sport mode is brutal at times--and the non sport shifts screwy occasionally. I really miss my Allroad with the tip-tronic 5sp--it always worked..
Trip to the dealer is in the near future--
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  #11  
Old 08-17-2007, 08:16 AM
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My build date is 12/06 and you know if DugO1 and I agree it has to be bad, Lol.

My feeling is that BMW's lack of response only exarcerbates the problem.

People like to know that they are being listened to and not brushed off.

I just expect a 40k suv to run like a 40k vehicle. otherwise I would have kept my Jeep Cherokee.
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  #12  
Old 08-17-2007, 10:03 AM
Tlon Tlon is offline
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For what it's worth, I have all but solved the hesitations and poor shifting in D mode by adding fuel additive every time I fill up (May 07 Build). Both STP Octane Booster and regular STP Gas treatment seem to work well. I hate the idea of paying extra for gas, but it's worth it to me. I've tried a tank without after using it for a couple tanks and the difference, for me at least, is dramatic. Without, the car hesitates. With, it's smooth, at least as smooth as my 330i was.

SP mode is a whole different story. It is still not smooth, but mostly in the ways the OP describes. Any time I try to coast to a stop in SP mode, the car bucks and jerks due to constant and aggressive down shifting. My 04 330i was much smoother in SP mode. On the other hand, there was little difference in my 330i between D and SP mode. SP mode held the shift longer, but that is about it. The shift pattern was basically the same. It wouldn't downshift any more than it did in D mode, which meant I was never in the right gear for passing without going to M mode. My X3 on the other hand is really aggressive in trying to match the gear with the vehicle speed. This has advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages seem to be the jerks and stopping and other things the OP mentioned. The advantages are actually quite helpful though. In my 330i, I would need to use the M mode to get the gear I wanted, either to get up a hill, to get into a passing gear, etc. This meant going between D, SP, and M mode a lot.

In the X3, the SP mode almost always seems to be spot on. I never use M mode now. If I want to get into a passing situation, I just shift into SP mode. The car does a great job finding the right gear most of the time. So, I tend to drive most of the time in D mode, shift to SP mode when I want to be a bit more aggressive in passing, etc., and go back to D mode before I start to come to a stop, normal start, etc. This works well for me, and despite the fact that I wish the SP mode was smoother, I think they've actually probably got SP mode exactly right (at least as it is working in my car). To my mind, it's the power of the engine and the aggressive attempts to find the right gear that cause all of the jerkiness, esp on slowdown and off the line. For example, while my Volvo XC70 might shift more smoothly and have a more linear take off, it also doesn't have nearly the capability or power ratio of the X3 to drive aggressively.

This is all to say that I think some of the issues are not poor design but the balance of a very powerful engine with an attempt to give the driver one driving mode that is more aggressive than the D mode. In my mind, this is a step forward from previous steptronics where there was almost no difference between D and SP. I just don't think you can have a really well-tuned SP mode and make it smooth in all circumstances. This is the difference between a Jeep and a BMW, and it is in fact why this is a $40k car. Three different driving modes for different circumstance, and now, finally, all three modes have some differences. I don't get the argument that a $40k car shouldn't behave this way (hesitations, lack of power, etc., yes, I agree completely...shouldn't do that, but aggressive shifting a sport mode is exactly right). I think, in fact, this is exactly how a SAV should behave. I was always a bit disappointed in the SP mode in my 330i. It became my standard mode because it was mostly the same as D with a little more hold on the gear, but it really was no different. Now, while I don't always drive aggressively enough to warrant being in SP mode full time, it is a perfect alternative mode when I need that driving profile.

My sense is that if you don't want the aggressive profile, drive in D mode. Or, do like I do and drive in both, depending on what the situation calls for. I would just say don't expect one mode to drive exactly how you want the car to drive in all situations.

At least, that's my take. YMMV. Sorry for the long post.
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Old 08-17-2007, 12:50 PM
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No really. I hated the sport mode in Debbie's Volvo. All it did was move the shift points up about 5%. Actually we both hated D. We drove the car in S 100% of the time. There was no true sport mode.

BMW has already softened the suspension for the American market. Do we really want them to detune sport mode so that it shifts like a Hyundai?

The X3 is a performance car. If you want something soft buy a Lexus.

OTOH D should be smooth. I'd be complaining if it wasn't.


Tlon, are you using a Top Tier fuel???
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Last edited by Andrew*Debbie; 08-17-2007 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 08-17-2007, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew*Debbie View Post
Tlon, are you using a Top Tier fuel???
I do, well, most of the time. I have Chevron down the street from where I live. Since someone claimed that this helped, I thought I'd try it. Like the person who wrote that post, top tier gas seemed to help for about one tank of gas, but then the car went back to the way it was. The additives seem to help more consistently, regardless of whether I use top tier or not. STP's site claims the following:
All engines develop combustion chamber deposits that can lead to your engine needing higher-octane gasoline than recommended by the manufacturer to operate efficiently. This concept is known as Octane Requirement Increase; or ORI for short. This can cause the "knocking and pinging" sounds you may hear when accelerating. The problem is that knocking and pinging may not be audible to the driver, due to many modern engines being equipped with knock sensors. These sensors detect knock and adjust the vehicles timing to make it stop. These adjustments lead to a quieter engine, but do come at a cost, since they can result in slower acceleration and poor fuel economy.
This seems about right to me and may be why people are experiencing hesitations and why the reprogramming doesn't help. It wouldn't surprise me if BMW expects 94 octane in the X3 (isn't that what is commonly available in Europe?), which would mean the gas in the states wasn't quite up to that level to make the car perform as it should. Again, just a theory. If I'm wrong, it's costing me $3.99 at each fill up, but I'll gladly (well, maybe not gladly) pay the $3.99 to have a smooth driving car and the illusion that I've solved the problem. Plus it's cheaper in my mind than taking my car back to the dealer every two weeks to work out a problem that they think is well within normal performance of the car.
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Old 08-17-2007, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Evlengr View Post
You don't do a "Workaround" for a 40k vehicle. I am taking someone's (wink wink) advice and going to another dealership and requesting a tech to ride with me.

A workaround is for Hyundai not BMW.
You have a valid point. Spending $40K on a car and dealing with a workaround is not an interesting prospect.
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Old 08-17-2007, 02:26 PM
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just buy manual...
+1 I did and will continue as long as they offer one in the USA.

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Old 08-17-2007, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Tlon View Post
This seems about right to me and may be why people are experiencing hesitations and why the reprogramming doesn't help.

That is entirely possible. Poor quality gas sold in the US has caused all sorts of driveabilty issues in the past. Symptoms I've seen posted here sound a lot like what happend with our 325i when we got a bad tank of gas. 260HP from 3.0L requires a very high performance engine. Knock sensor is bound to kick with junk fuel. That's why I asked what kind of fuel you are using.

The octane ratings used in Germany aren't the same as the pump stickers here. I'm not sure what 94 Oktane works out to.

$3.99 a tank is a small price to pay. Gas is about $7.00 / gallon in Germany.
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Old 08-17-2007, 03:28 PM
bimmertx bimmertx is offline
 
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March 07 Build. I had in in the shop in June and July.

You shouldn't have to shift from D to Sport and back to D because Sport does not work properly.
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Old 08-17-2007, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by bimmertx View Post
March 07 Build. I had in in the shop in June and July.

You shouldn't have to shift from D to Sport and back to D because Sport does not work properly.
Agreed. But my point, at least in my case, is that it does in fact work properly, just not as some people are expecting it to work. In other words, SP mode is not as smooth as some people would like but it does shift as a sport shifter should. At least mine does, and I have the same issues as the OP. Just my opinion, of course. I'm not suggesting that if the car loses power or something else egregious that it shouldn't be fixed. I'm suggesting that the behavior described by the OP seems to match my experience and to me seems to be exactly how it was designed to work. It was frustrating at first, but as with any performance car -- even and maybe especially manual transmissions that have different clutch movement, etc. -- you have to learn how to drive it. In my case, that means using SP mode as it seems to be intended. You shift to it when you need it. I could drive in it all the time, but I'd be driving with a transmission profile that expects me to be on a track not in traffic in DC.

And, I disagree that you shouldn't have to shift from SP to D, since the entire purpose of the different modes is to give you a different driving profile. It used to be that all this meant was a longer hold on a gear. It now means that the computer tries harder to figure out which gear you should be in and shifts for you. This sometimes means aggressive downshifting and a somewhat jerky slowdown, which is exactly what you'd get in a manual if you downshifted for each stop. Getting a manual transmission won't fix this particular problem. Again, just my opinion. I don't mean to suggest some folks are not having very real problems.

Last edited by Tlon; 08-17-2007 at 06:52 PM.
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Old 08-17-2007, 07:39 PM
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I would have gotten a manual but everything you hear about Washington DC traffic is true. My standard commute is 90 minutes (one-way) and on bad days as much as 2 hours.

Getting a vehicle that has both a sport and drive mode was supposed to be a healthy compromise.

However, I cannot constantly switch between SD and D trying to second guess how the tranny will respond.

Entering a traffic circle in DC is harrowing enough to wonder hmmm shall I put it in SD and have quick acceleration but have it slam me when pulling out of the circle.

Or, do I put it in D mode and wonder if it will accelerate fast enough to get me in the circle with out being t boned by a landscapers truck, but be able to gently exit the circle.

Now seeing since most of Europe uses circles that are as insane BMW must be able to accomadate this driving requirement.

And constantly adding fuel additives is actually bad for the engine since it radically changes the fuel compression ratio and eventually wears the engine components faster IE rings, cylinder heads, etc... almost as bad as putting in too low an octane.

Again there seems to be a consistancy in the mfg date and bad performance which means it can be (and has) been corrected.

At this point it means BMW needs to just buck up--admit the problem and fix it. Right now it has already cost them the sale of a 528 to my wife.
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  #21  
Old 08-17-2007, 08:58 PM
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I'm sorry to hear about this for you '07 owners. Its been popping up here aswell as the X3world.com forums. At the moment BMW has two major issues that should yield a recall: The 335i fuel pump and the X3 transmission. I am just happy that I have one more year on my E60 lease as the X3 was a likley replacement.


Good Luck...
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Old 08-17-2007, 09:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evlengr View Post
Entering a traffic circle in DC is harrowing enough to wonder hmmm shall I put it in SD and have quick acceleration but have it slam me when pulling out of the circle.

Or, do I put it in D mode and wonder if it will accelerate fast enough to get me in the circle with out being t boned by a landscapers truck, but be able to gently exit the circle.
Couldn't agree more. I drive in D mode 95% of the time and never second guess the transmission. The occassions I put it in SP are usually when I'm in a higher gear and want to downshift smoothly but not necessarily hit the gas to the kickdown point. For example, going up a hill or passing a car. SP mode does this well. If I had to play with the shifter that much I would have got a manual. I drove one for 20 year and prefer them but am also in DC traffic.

Quote:
And constantly adding fuel additives is actually bad for the engine since it radically changes the fuel compression ratio and eventually wears the engine components faster IE rings, cylinder heads, etc... almost as bad as putting in too low an octane.
Would love to hear more or read some research on this. I didn't find anything in an albeit quick Google search. The only thing I could find suggested that older fuel additives had problems. In any event, this would seem to bode poorly for top tier gas stations that include fuel additives in their fuel.

Quote:
Again there seems to be a consistancy in the mfg date and bad performance which means it can be (and has) been corrected.
You may very well be correct, but it seems as if very few people are saying that this has been completely corrected. I've got a May 07 build -- supposedly a good build date -- and it still exhibits the problems, at least it did without a fuel additive. No one who has had the SIB seems to claim the fix has lasted very long. Are you sure this is fixed in the way people seem to think it can be fixed?

Believe me, I'd love to have a solution that worked consistently. In any event, I'm actually now enjoying my car more than I did in the first two months, and while it may be an illusion the fuel additives seem to have helped. If this means long-term engine wear, well, this may be what BMW will have to solve when I bring the car in under warranty. Maybe that's the best way to get them to solve the problem.
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  #23  
Old 08-18-2007, 01:29 AM
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No offense intended to you personally bimmertx, my reply has more to do with everyone's complaints in general. Your post just happened to hit me tonight . I do hope some of my comments will help you understand what the X3's 3-mode automatic transmission is all about and I do acknowledge there are some glitches in it. Namely the "Holds gear too long uphill" one. I had that one myself but my '05 trans "adjusted" itself and doesn't do it anymore. I've had NO software updates, ever. I've always used Top Tier premium gas but NO additional additives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmertx View Post
...but you can't drive it in Sports Mode without getting whipped around and the transmission sticking in one gear.
You're in SPORT mode... what did you expect? It's going to hold gears longer, upshift later and downshift earlier. That's what it's SUPPOSED to do. Try using drive mode, it's much smoother for cruising around and you'll get better gas mileage too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmertx View Post
1) When coming to a stop in Sports Mode, I am jerked around as the transmission shifts down through each gear.
Again, you're in SPORT mode... what did you expect? THAT'S WHAT IT'S SUPPOSED TO DO. It's going to downshift earlier, at a higher rpm and you're going to FEEL it. If you ask me it's very similar to downshifting a manual and using engine compression to help slow the car down. Very SPORTY in my opinion (Hence the term "Sport Mode"). If you want smoother stops, use Drive mode, that's what it's for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmertx View Post
2) When taking a corner in Sports Mode with a gradual decent, the transmission won't shift to the next gear, it just hangs.
Boy, this is getting repetitive.... (I'll change it up a little...) What did you expect? YOU'RE IN SPORT MODE.

That's probably because it's expecting you to push it (accelerate) on through the corner before needing it to upshift or it's using engine compression to slow the car in the descent while maintaining sufficient RPM for a hasty exit. That's what SPORT mode was designed to do. When driving a manual you don't really want to be shifting gears in the middle of a corner, especially a hard one. It can upset the car and in certain conditions could even cause you to lose control. You should already be in the propper gear when you enter the corner. I can't imagine wanting to up or downshift in the middle of a corner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmertx View Post
BMW should put a team of technicians to review and re-program this transmission. It is a total joke. Buyers, please beware of this and look elsewhere. The rest of the vehicle is very good, but the transmission is so bad I can't recommend it to anyone. I feel BMW is leaving us stranded.
This IS an AUTOMATIC transmission we're talking about here. It's controlled by sensors and a computer. It can't read your mind or react as quickly as you could manipulate a manual trans. You just have to learn how to use it. Otherwise, buy a manual. Thank God they're still available here in the US.

I'm really tired of all this bashing of the X3's automatic transmission. First of all it IS an automatic. Can you name a car with one that's better? If so you should have bought that one. Secondly, it has ADAPTIVE software that takes quite a while to adjust to a particular persons driving style. My '05 took over 850 miles to really start to smooth out. For those that share the X3 with someone elsethe matter is complicated even more (Two different styles). Now I have 18.5K on the clock and have no problem getting the trans to do what I need. Thirdly, and in support for the trans, for being an aotomatic I think it comes very close to working like a manual does. My biggest gripe is too long of a delay when shifting in manual mode. I have to adjust MY timing for shifts to compensate for the lag. But it works.

I think most people that complain about the automatic do not give it enough time to adapt or just do not know how to use it properly. Nor do they know what the different modes are supposed to do or be used for. Even with 3 modes the automatic trans is still a compromise. Similar to a person trying to drive a manual for the first time it takes a while to get use to it. It will never give you the total control that a manual does and one has to learn how IT works to take advantage of it's capabilities.

All that being said I'm going to try to NEVER look at another thread about automatic transmission complaints on the X3.

Have a good weekend everyone!
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  #24  
Old 08-18-2007, 07:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tlon View Post

Believe me, I'd love to have a solution that worked consistently. In any event, I'm actually now enjoying my car more than I did in the first two months, and while it may be an illusion the fuel additives seem to have helped.
I wonder if the computer has adapted the shift points to your driving style?

I also wonder if that's why the SW patch doesn't last long for some people -- the transmission adapts and they don't like the new shift points.


========

Back to the OP and others. Maybe people don't understand why Sport Mode shouldn't upshift in a corner. If you are taking a corner at or near the limit of traction, it is important to keep the weight of the car balanced correctly on the 4 tires. In part you control this balance with the throttle. More throttle shifts weight from the front to the rear. If the car upshifts it is going to upset this balance and your car is going to slide.

Coming out of the turn you usually want full power and you want it right away. It isn't going to be there if the computer shifted up a gear.


======

No good is going to come of this. Along with fixing whatever is really broken, BMW is going to de-tune the transmission. At least we can still get a manual.
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  #25  
Old 08-18-2007, 09:18 AM
HGX3.0 HGX3.0 is offline
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Ishniknork - I had a 2005 X3 also - and never had transmission issues.

I now own a 07 and there definitely is a problem. I use to drive the 05 in sport mode all the time and never suffered the irratic shift points and rough downshifts I experience in the 07.

I'm sure people are tired of hearing all the complaints about the 07 transmission - I am too. I wish BMW would fix the problem then the complaints would stop and the bashing would stop.

I consider myself a bimmerfreak - heck it's my 3rd BMW in 6 years. No car is perfect, but the transmission issue makes the driving experience less than "ultimate".
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