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I've had a very bad experience with my 2005 X3 3.0. I've almost 29,000 miles and have driven very few of those with all systems go. Repetitive service visits are required to fix every issue. The car is not a joy to drive so much as it is a pain in the ass to get fixed all of the time. I'm posting this as fair warning to those who may be considering an X3. If you don't mind spending a good amount of your working days on the phone with BMW service, by all means go pick one up.

BMW North America has referred me to the dealership for all issues. The head of service can help to a point. They did cut me a check for one month's payment. I appreciate it, but the car has continued to suck since then.

Currently, I enjoy a good half-inch of water puddled on the floor of the car after every major storm. The car has been in three times for this issue with no resolution. This fourth time, they let me know that apparently the sunroof drains on the original sunroof have been found inadequate to handle large volumes of water. So, I had a new sunroof installed this week. It happened to rain that very night, and I had another nice puddle. I'm thinking of getting some ducks. BMW was nice enough to send someone to pick up the car Wednesday and throw some epoxy on there. They dropped it off and since they left the radio CRANKED, I know that they weren't able to hear the wind whistling through. They failed to adjust the roof, and there is substantial, extraordinary noise. They will be by again tomorrow to make adjustments. I'm now a little freaked that the airbags won't work or will be screwed up from all of the water getting to areas where it shouldn't ever be. As a bonus, the fabric cover on the windshield pillar airbags is starting to fray and separate from the point where it joins the dashboard. Also, the kid who dropped the car off was nice enough to leave lots of greasy fingerprints on my rearview.

Beyond that, here are some other things that have broken (the car has got to have 200 miles on it from service visits):

The airbag warning light was on, the horn didn't work, nor did any other buttons on the steering wheel. The nav screen was black all of the time. It was fixed, but then stopped working on cold days. Replaced.

One front speaker was blown out or had a loose wire. This required four overnight service visits to repair.

Rearview mirror replaced twice. The day/night thing didn't work, and it was replaced with the wrong one.

Ski pass-through broke and the door flapped around. I had to go pick up the part since a piece of plastic the size of a quarter couldn't possibly be mailed to me.

The key remote lock / unlock didn't work 1/2 the tiime. BMW Service says this happens all the time due to interfernece "in cities". Now that I've moved out of downtown Boston, it works fine.

Sunroof wouldn't shut and had to be reset. Now of course I have a new one that makes noise. Also, the old one developed a rattle after a few months of driving, where hard bumps would make a loud glass on metal noise. I'm not making this stuff up.

Sirius radio took one month of visits to install, as they had never sone it before and needed to be trained. The sirius was wired incorrectly. A good bump in the road would knowck out signal for several minutes. This let me listen to the noise from the sunroof though.

Door seals replaced several times

Wiper malfunctioned on passenger side 2x

Rear power window had to be fixed due to inoperability

Rear defroster broke

New TCU
 

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Did you buy this car new? :dunno:

Your post is incredible. I never heard of a car with that many issues unless it was flooded or in a major accident.
 

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BMW Free!!
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Wow!! Sorry to hear about all of your problems with your X3. Makes me a bit nervous since I'm about to pick up my 2006 X3 which I ordered in May. Thankfully there have not been many other X3 owners with the number of problems you have encountered. Since this will be my third BMW, I'm sure a few little things will come up with the X3. I just hope my list doesn't resemble yours in a years time. Good luck getting everything sorted out. :)
 

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wow. sorry to hear about your experiences with your X3. i take it any lemon laws haven't applied here?
 

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Tar Heel Faithful
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Sorry to hear that your X3 hasn't performed up to typical BMW expectations. I know people who buy BMWs expect the very best, and sometimes various individual vehicles just dont seem to ever work right. Sounds like a lot of problems........i'm taking it lemon laws never applied.

Overall I'd say (based on forums the complaints I hear around the place) the X3 isn't unreliable, however. If you think the X3 as a model is problematic, may I direct you to the E60 5-series forum? I mean, they have a dedicated sticky thread about the steering/alignment issues!!:yikes:

(Btw our X3 has had one very minor problem in our 30k and 2 years which was fixed under warranty. No leaky sunroofs, creaky door seals, etc... Considering how heavily optioned ours is, I'm counting my lucky stars.)
 

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Your X3 certain has had more than it's share of problems. You have a right to be upset, especially if they aren't fixed on the first visit. How long have you had the leaky sun-roof? Water getting in certainly could cause all sorts of electrical glitches and lead to countless other problems.

Does your state have a lemon law? In NC if the issues could be safety related, and they can't be fixed by the dealer, you can sue to get the car bought back or replaced. I had to go that route with a '90 Thunderbird. The dealer finally fixed the stalling problem after a month in the shop. That was one week prior to their deadline.
 

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California boy in Canada
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Sorry to hear about your problems, but probably 99% of X3 drivers are perfectly happy with their vehicles. Sounds like you got a lemon, unfortunately. Ours has been 100% A-OK.
 

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Powder Days
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Sorry for all of your problems but ny X3 has been perfect except for the crappy door seals. Hope your state has a lemon law.

Cheers
 

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Brent P said:
Sorry to hear about your problems, but probably 99% of X3 drivers are perfectly happy with their vehicles. Sounds like you got a lemon, unfortunately. Ours has been 100% A-OK.
I just past the one year mark with my 2005 X3 - not a single problem so far (keeping fingers crossed)
 

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I have a friend that had a first year 7-series and he got BMW to take it back under the lemon laws in California with surprisingly little resistance. He had far, far fewer problems than you have had. Check into it, sounds like you deserve it...
 

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Quality is poor

My problems aren't as severe as yours (no puddles in my car) but I guess I'm one of those 1% who also have had too many quality problems, too many trips to service. I really think the quality isn't up to snuff. Or perhaps we're just unlucky. I've owned several cars and never had this many problems.

- Key entry not working in some areas of the city (replaced mirror)
- Sirius took several tries to get working many months after buying
- Bluetooth module just froze and stopped working (had to disconnect battery)
- Door creaking problem. Fixed once, returned last week to have it done again. Was told this problem will keep returning. Yeah!!
- Leather? seats with heat absorbed the color of my belts - the only way to remove the stain also removes the grey leather dye
- Door windows deciding they want to be 4" down - I keep forgetting this and coming back to my car to find the rear passenger window down and my car open to theives. Service said they couldn't replicate. And of course the next day, raise the drivers window, both rear windows go down 4".
- The dashboard lights have oddly turned on/off a few times like a ghost is in there.
- The passenger airbag light keeps going on/off when people are in/not in the passenger seat. I wonder if they're protected if I get into a crash? Dealer fixing - ordered something or other.
- Unacceptable noise and shaking with moon roof open and moderate speeds (what's the point of having it?)
- Door molding starting to peel away on the drivers door (waaaaaay cheap). Dealer is fixing it.
- Cloth headliner pulled away from dashboard on the front passenger pillar
- The break dust problem is terrible. They should make the wheels all black so you can't notice, change the material of the break pads, or redesign them in such a way they don't have the problem.

I like the handling. I like the appearance. I don't like it well enough to visit service so often.

:(
 

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Paul in SF said:
My problems aren't as severe as yours (no puddles in my car) but I guess I'm one of those 1% who also have had too many quality problems, too many trips to service. I really think the quality isn't up to snuff. Or perhaps we're just unlucky. I've owned several cars and never had this many problems.

- Key entry not working in some areas of the city (replaced mirror)
- Sirius took several tries to get working many months after buying
- Bluetooth module just froze and stopped working (had to disconnect battery)
- Door creaking problem. Fixed once, returned last week to have it done again. Was told this problem will keep returning. Yeah!!
- Leather? seats with heat absorbed the color of my belts - the only way to remove the stain also removes the grey leather dye
- Door windows deciding they want to be 4" down - I keep forgetting this and coming back to my car to find the rear passenger window down and my car open to theives. Service said they couldn't replicate. And of course the next day, raise the drivers window, both rear windows go down 4".
- The dashboard lights have oddly turned on/off a few times like a ghost is in there.
- The passenger airbag light keeps going on/off when people are in/not in the passenger seat. I wonder if they're protected if I get into a crash? Dealer fixing - ordered something or other.
- Unacceptable noise and shaking with moon roof open and moderate speeds (what's the point of having it?)
- Door molding starting to peel away on the drivers door (waaaaaay cheap). Dealer is fixing it.
- Cloth headliner pulled away from dashboard on the front passenger pillar
- The break dust problem is terrible. They should make the wheels all black so you can't notice, change the material of the break pads, or redesign them in such a way they don't have the problem.

I like the handling. I like the appearance. I don't like it well enough to visit service so often.

:(
I think expectations are key here to how people perceive their car. Obviously, major problems like flooding are real issues that need to be fixed. Even though I claimed that my car had 0 problems, and I never took it back to the dealer except for the normal oil change, I also experienced some of the things above. I have the brake dust problem, which is considered "normal" for the car - pain to clean, but I love the powerful brakes. My remote doesn't work sometimes (it reliably does not work when I park in a certain area of the city) but I consider that more a limiation of the technology than an actual defect of the car. Leather seats stain, thats just a fact of life (although of course some manufacturers may be better than others). Like any car, my car (with or without moonroof open) is not 100% rattle and shake-free, but it seems acceptable to me. Is yours worse than mine? Possibly, no way for me to know. In short, coming from Fords and Hondas, I think the BMW X3 is a great car with minimal "real" problems, and would definitly buy one again.
 

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The only "real" issue that we've had with our '05 X3 3.0 is that sometimes the NAV screen will stick and not flip up. Pressing the open button or the selection knob opens it right up.

There are certain parts of town where the remote reliably doesn't work, too, but I can't blame BMW for that.

The sunroof noise issue is mostly an issue of acoustic physics. At certain speeds, with a certain size opening (port), the cavity of the cabin will resonate and act like a subwoofer enclosure. If you just crack one window slightly, you won't get the booming. You will experience a similar phenomenon if you drive at moderate speeds with just the rear windows open.

All BMW brakes throw dust like no tomorrow. That's the price we pay for very good, very quiet braking. Get a wheel brush and some good wheel cleaner and give them a wash every couple weeks.

Anyway, we love our little trucklet.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for all of the replies. Very good to know that the problems with my vehicle are out of the My expectations are in line with BMW. At this point, I come out in the morning and prefer to drive my GMC Envoy to work. It works just fine.
 

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Just get a KIA
 

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BupBup said:
Thanks for all of the replies. Very good to know that the problems with my vehicle are out of the My expectations are in line with BMW. At this point, I come out in the morning and prefer to drive my GMC Envoy to work. It works just fine.
Wait wait... :)

Some of the problems you've had (sunroof, door seals, remote locking) have had fixes issued from BMW (new redesigned parts). It's possible your dealer wasn't aware of these improvements and has installed the old part numbers.

Anyway, I was going to say that to me it looks like part of the issues may be with your dealer. My dealer usually takes just 1 visit to fix 1 problem (2 visits if the part is not in stock). :dunno: I have found dealers to greatly vary in their capacity to solve problems - even different service teams inside the same dealership differ to a great extent.

If I were you and wanted to keep the car, I'd first try to change dealers with a more reputable one in your area. If they cannot fix ALL the issues within an agreed-upon timeframe (say 2 weeks), then work with BMW to buy back the car from you and offer you something else. If you approach this calmly and professionally, it can happen.

And most of all, good luck to you! :thumbup:

Edit: Don't let this bad experience sour you to all BMWs forever. You may have had bad luck on this particular example, but please believe me they are not all like that. And the driving joy brought by a bimmer is very hard to replicate at their price points...

adc
03 330 ZHP
05 X3 3.0 ED
 

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My Other Car Is A Bus
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BupBup said:
Thanks for all of the replies. Very good to know that the problems with my vehicle are out of the My expectations are in line with BMW. At this point, I come out in the morning and prefer to drive my GMC Envoy to work. It works just fine.
Yikes! I don't think I'd prefer to drive anything instead of my X3, except maybe a newer and more loaded X3. This is my first BMW and I have been very satisfied. Nothing else handles/ drives like it. I am not much of a spirited driver, but I do enjoy comfort,convenience and luxury features. I most recently had a lincoln continental (2002) and was not at all impressed with it. Yes I have the door creaking, and had the seals replaced, and it came right back (never really went away). I hardly notice it-honestly. I have not had any other issues, and can't see anything that compares to my X3. You really should try to follow up with BMW NA as others have suggested. Maybe you could sic the tv news on your dealer, or at least mention that you're thinking about it.
 
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