2019 BMW 540i Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Door latch and electrical system issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

By Brian Jones | Updated on

By Brian Jones | Updated on

When consumers are in need of an executive model, the 2019 BMW 540i seems like an obvious choice. After all, the company claims that this car is “more than a statement – a work of art.” It’s a work of something for sure, but not precise craftsmanship. Owners are complaining about the electrical system, wheels and structure.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2019 BMW 540i

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
3
Power Train:automatic Transmission:lever And Linkage:column Shift
1
Air Bags
1
Vehicle Speed Control:accelerator Pedal
1
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
1
Fuel/propulsion System
1
Vehicle Speed Control
1
Electrical System
1
Power Train
1

Problems with the Electrical System

The BMW 540i seems to follow Murphy’s Law when it comes to the electrical system. The internet is riddled with complaints from unhappy customers.

Here is one review left on Edmunds. “I have had issues with the backup camera. It works about 75% of the time. The dealer cannot find anything wrong with it. Even after I showed them a video of it not working. There is a message on the dashboard that says Emergency call system malfunction. This blocks out all other information from being displayed including the odometer. The dealer said this is a battery that is back ordered in Germany. They have no idea how long it will take until they will get it. I am trading this car in by the end of the year. I will probably get another Mercedes with a bigger engine.”

It turns out that the backup camera was part of a massive recall. NHTSA Campaign Number 19V684000 states that there is no back-up camera image because of a defect with more than 250,000 vehicles. When this occurs, it increases the chance of an accident. While waiting for repairs, customers could use the space to hang up some real works of art from the kids instead. Then, the tagline might make a little more sense.

Problems with the Tires

Premium vehicles are meant to be built with high-quality materials that are going to last. Otherwise, customers could save a lot of money by choosing a cheap brand. Yet, the BMW 540i can’t seem to get its act together, especially with the tires.

Just look at what this Edmunds review says. “We leased this car new and have had a terrible time with the tires.  4 flat tires in 4 years!  At $400 each, this car just isn’t work the money or the hassle.  All BMW’s now have run flat tires which can’t be patched so we plan to switch to another luxury brand as soon as we can get out of our lease.”

The company hasn’t issue many communications that the public can assess, so there’s nothing talking about the run-flat tire situation. All that consumers have to go on is what current owners are saying, which isn’t positive. One would think that BMW would want to defend its stance, but the camp has remained silent. The lack of communication only further adds to the tagline, “more than a statement.” Sometimes silence speaks louder than words.

Problems with the Door Latches

There’s no reason to believe that a luxury vehicle would suffer from structure-related issues, but this model surely does.

Read this Cars.com customer review. “Very disappointing in reliability and quality. I had to bring it back twice because of a driver’s door that would not secure while in motion. This was in the first month of ownership!”

With this review, it’s clear that it can be difficult to secure the door, but the communications from the automaker suggest otherwise. Service Bulletin #B511319 states that some doors may not open during cold weather. It does go on to state that once the door is opened, it can be difficult to re-latch. It turns out that the problem is caused by a leaking seal in the outer Bowden release cable that allows water to infiltrate the latch and freeze. It’s no wonder that customers are switching to Mercedes. No luxury car owner wants to drive a car that’s more focused on being a “work of art” then it is being structurally sound. Between the tires and the latches, this luxury model is literally falling apart.

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Complaint Data

CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateNov 11, 2022
StateFL
Description
Radiator grill does not open when running. It remains in the close position. It started with the engine symbol that appeared on the dash.
CategoryPower Train:automatic Transmission:lever And Linkage:column Shift
DateSep 20, 2021
StateCA
Description
The contact owns a 2019 bmw 540i. The contact stated while driving 60 mph, the contact pressed the button on the gear shifter and the vehicle inadvertently shifted into neutral. The contact then shifted back into drive. The contact continued driving with no further issues. However, the contact concern was that there should be no reason for the gear shifter to change gear with little to no pressure on the gear shifter from an inadvertent touch of the button on the gear shifter. The contact took the vehicle to the local dealer to be inspected however, the mechanic was unable to duplicate the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 43,500.
CategoryAir Bags, Vehicle Speed Control:accelerator Pedal
DateJun 15, 2021
StateFL
Description
The contact owns a 2019 bmw 540i. The contact stated while driving at various speeds, the vehicle stalled without warning while depressing the accelerator pedal. The contact stated that while attempting to park the vehicle, the failure recurred. The contact continuously depressed the accelerator pedal and the vehicle lunged forward and collided with a barrier and crashed into his neighbor's vehicle. The air bags failed to deploy upon impact. The contact was not treated for any injuries. A police report was not filed. The contact had taken the vehicle to an independent mechanic who discovered that the lower section of the accelerator pedal was fractured. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and agreed to pay for a portion of the repair. The contact received a letter that stated that the manufacturer agreed to pay for the accelerator pedal replacement however, by accepting the payment, the manufacturer would absolve themselves of any responsibility for any damages caused by the defective accelerator pedal. The contact had not agreed to the terms of the agreement of the letter. The vehicle was repaired out of pocket. The failure mileage was 18,000.
CategoryForward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
DateMay 09, 2021
StateNY
Description
Vehicle was travelling at 50 mph, clear dry weather, no traffic in front or in rear and collision avoidance braking system activated without cause
CategoryFuel/propulsion System, Vehicle Speed Control
DateDec 02, 2020
StateAL
Description
On friday, 11/20/20, driving on interstate at about 60-65 miles speed, suddenly within few seconds, the speed dropped down to 35-40 miles without any braking action by me. It scared the hack out of me. I barely managed to get off the driving lane. While in my car, bww sos on-call ( don't know exact name) called, and asked me if I was ok. Then, the operator got roadside assistance or their mechanic online; he tried to diagnose the problem. He said it would need to be towed in to the dealership. The operator arranged for the towing truck; the car was towed in to 'global imports bmw' dealership. The service man tested the car the next day, and mentioned that his test did not reveal anything but thought that this was an unique situation that required bmw's engineer's assessment. Then the dealership wanted/ kept the car overnight, drove, and tested it the next day. That's when they found that the throttle body actuator was faulty. They replaced. I had a similar problem, on a smaller scale, early this year. I had taken the car to the same dealership back then. They didn't find anything unusual at that time. The service advisor mentioned that very likely that problem in early 2020 may also be due to faulty throttle body actuator.
CategoryElectrical System, Power Train
DateMay 13, 2020
StateCA
Description
My check engine light came on for chassis stabilization and drivetrain malfunction. I took it to the dealership and they told me they repair would not be covered under warranty. Dealership alleges a rodent gnawed on a engine wiring harness. From what I gather from the dealership this occurs frequently. The manufacturer is aware of this problem but has failed to make necessary design changes to make these wiring harnesses inaccessible to rodents. My case is not the worse case scenario but a fire could have started, my vehicle could have become inoperable and cause an accident while operating the vehicle. I would like to request fmvss be updated to address these product design defects. A wiring harness that can potential disable regular functions of the vehicle could result in death should not be easily disabled by a rodent. *tr
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateMay 06, 2020
StateNY
Description
I purchased four (4) michelin pilot alpin pa4 tires in 245/35/20 for the front and 275/30/20 for the rear. I subsequently hit a pothole and had the front driver's side tire blow out. I then had the tire replaced. A couple months later, I hit a pothole on the highway with the front drivers side tire, which again caused the tire to blow, but this time damaged the wheel beyond repair. The passenger side tire was also found to have two bubbles in the sidewall even without having been struck by a pothole. I have hit potholes with the same car with different tires and have never had a blowout or wheel damage. Considering this has happened twice, I believe these tires are defective and unsafe. I have attached photos of the second blowout. I have also attached the invoices from the two incidents. The totals do not include the total damage as indicated in the itemized breakdown, as I did not yet replace the cracked control arms at

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,005. 76. *tr
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateDec 24, 2019
StatePA
Description
This car is currently subject to a ntsb ordered recall related to the back up camera and the lighting level (night vision) of the rear safety camera. After my bmw dealer "fixed" it last week, it is noticeably darker than when the car was new and hence less safe under nighttime driving conditions. I have taken the car back and the service manager has indicated this is the dictated fix; I do not believe this is (a) safe or (b) sager than when the car was new in october 2018, but is less safe. I suggest a ntsb investigation and additional fix. This occurs at night, in a dark area and while the car is both stationary and slowly backing up. The date below is the most recent date taken to the bmw dealer in bala cynwyd, pa 19004 - bmw of the main line.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 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.

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