2018 BMW M3 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical system, poor vehicle structure and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

The 2018 BMW M3 offers exceptional power but has room to hold the family. The company hails the “M” lineup by saying, “performance is in the details,” but looking at customer complaints, it’s clear that the details point to defects instead. This high-performance car features a faulty electrical system, defective powertrain and poorly designed structure.


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NHTSA Complaints for the 2018 BMW M3

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Power Train
Unknown Or Other

Problems with the Electrical System

On a luxury model, such as the 2018 BMW M3, it only makes sense that the electrical system would be high-tech and capable, yet that’s not what customers think.

One NHTSA complaint illustrates some of the problems by saying, “I have a 2018 BMW M3 that is about 12 months old. There was a Sirius XM (satellite radio) trial period of 1 year, and now that it is about to expire, there is an advertisement in my navigation window that comes up every time I turn on the car, that has to be cleared via pressing ‘OKAY’ or else it doesn’t go away. The safety concern is that if I turn on the car and go into reverse, the reverse camera will show but gets interrupted by the Sirius XM advertisement, and doesn’t come back until the advertisement to renew is manually cleared out. I almost reversed over a pedestrian in a parking lot when this happened the first time. I have spoken to BMW and Sirius and both parties point fingers at the other side although the problem is definitely a BMW problem… The worst part about this is that BMW is saying this is not a warranty-covered issue and that I need to pay my BMW service shop $188 to have them ‘diagnose’ the problem. They need to address this issue immediately.”

Looking through the automaker’s communication, it’s clear that there are lots of electrical issues. Even Service Bulletin #B650709 discusses how the navigation system reports missing or incorrect map data. Because the route guidance is inaccurate, the company claims it becomes irritating to the customer and makes it impossible to find various addresses. Anyone spending this kind of money to buy a luxury car should be able to rely on the navigation system. Even cheap cars have perfected this technology. Obviously, BMW didn’t pay attention to these “details” when manufacturing the M3.

Problems with the Powertrain

The powertrain consists of numerous components that must work together to propel the vehicle forward. When something is defective in this system, driving becomes cumbersome and sometimes impossible.

That’s what is shown with this NHTSA complaint. “Crank hub will be prone to spin and therefore will destroy engine which will require a full engine replacement.”

Does anyone driving a new car really want to deal with an engine replacement? Not particularly, and it’s not what BMW customers expect from the company, but it appears that they should start. Other powertrain issues have been discussed, as well. Service Bulletin #B310318 talks about a cracking noise that comes from the front of the car while parking or turning. It turns out that there are loose connections as part of the front axle and front end components. To fix it, the technicians must tighten the connections and lubricate the bearings. This seems like one detail that shouldn’t have been overlooked before the cars left the factory. Tightening connections is a basic function that should never be forgotten, especially if the automaker is paying attention to the “details.”

Problems with the Vehicle Structure

On a higher-end vehicle, everyone expects top of the line materials as part of the construction, but that’s not the case with the M3.

One Cars.com review states, “The M3 bombards its own doors and side panels with road debris. After ~5000 miles you’ll have more rock-chips on both doors(!!) than you ever had on any car combined.”

This isn’t the only structure-related issue. Service Bulletin #B513016, right from BMW, talks about how the tailgate can open on its own, even when it is locked. This doesn’t just leave cargo at risk but could cause injury if the tailgate opens while a user is nearby. If “performance is in the details,” then this model should be listed as a clunker because it’s just an overpriced lemon, with all details going unnoticed.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes BMW pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones

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