2021 BMW X3 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical system & Glass issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Differential Problems? Read about our X3 Rear Differential Failure Investigation.

Launched in 2003, the BMW X3 is a compact luxury crossover SUV that BMW markets as a sports activity vehicle (SAV). Seen by BMW as a competitor to the Audi Q5, Mercedes Benz GLC, Volvo XC60, and Land Rover Discovery Sport, the 2021 model is a third-generation X3 with a makeover.

As popular as the X3 may be, it continues to elicit complaints from owners year after year. You can read some of the complaints by Edmunds users in our article 2020 BMW X3 Problems and Top Complaints. While 78% of the Edmunds reviews about the 2021 model are good, 13% give the SUV only one star out of five.

In this article, we focus on formal complaints to the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). There are currently 20 complaints on record, one more than for the 2020 model and 30 less than for the 2019 model.

The explanation may be that people sometimes lodge complaints when their vehicles are one or two years old. For instance, 10 of the 50 complaints about the 2019 BMW X3 are dated 2021 and 6, 2020. Most of the NHTSA complaints about the 2021 X3 are dated 2021.

Click on other model year to view more problems:  2019    2020    2022

Most Common Problems with the 2021 BMW X3

The most common problem mentioned in complaints about the 2020 BMW X3 is related to the electrical system. Electrical system problems still rank at the top of the list for the 2021 model, with 4 complaints. Vehicle speed control issues and exploding sunroofs and windows also have 4 complaints each.

Exterior lighting problems have 3 complaints while steering and engine problems have 2 each. There is 1 complaint each relating to the fuel/propulsion system, seats, service brakes, the structure of the SUV, suspension, tires, and visibility/wipers.

We’re going to look at the three most common problems.

2021 BMW X3 Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Unknown Or Other
Electrical System
Vehicle Speed Control
Exterior Lighting
Service Brakes
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking

Electrical System Problems

There are two issues mentioned that relate to the electrical system:

  1. Two complaints describe how drivers’ cars shut off. The one driver describes how she suddenly had no steering, no brakes, and couldn’t turn the hazard lights on. Her child was with her, which was particularly scary.
  2. Two complaints say their vehicles are covered by a battery recall, but the parts aren’t available.

There are two recalls that affect the 2021 BMW X3. The one states that debris could result in a short-circuit, which might increase the risk of fire or injury. The other specifies a short-circuited hybrid battery that may increase the risk of a fire.

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Vehicle Speed Control Problems

The vehicle speed control issues are varied. Two state their frustration with the fact that speeds are only displayed in 10 mph increments. There is an option to spend $1,000 on a fully digital display, but the complaint is that they weren’t aware of this when they bought the car. Also, drivers consider an accurate speedometer to be a safety issue, not an optional extra.

Another complaint describes how a vehicle accelerated quickly to more than 90 mph after it was set in cruise control to 75 mph. “When this happened, I did not have my foot on the gas and didn’t press any of the cruise control buttons except to disengage it when it dangerously accelerated on its own.”

Another complaint states: “As I was pulling up into a parking stall, my vehicle accelerated on its own causing my vehicle to collide with a brick wall.”

Exploding Sunroofs & Windows

When any part of a car explodes, there’s that horrible feeling that people may have been injured. Luckily, no injuries are reported. But the stories these BMW X3 owners tell are chilling.

The 3 incidents involving sunroofs all happened while the cars were on the road. Two of the reports state that they thought someone was shooting at their cars. Both their sunroofs exploded without any warning.

“There was a very loud boom almost like a gunshot,” one owner says. Another reports: “I thought maybe someone was shooting at our vehicle on the freeway.”

The complaint that a rear passenger window exploded is from someone who was driving the car for the first time.

All complainants specify that their cars were not hit by rocks or stones. But, by all accounts, BMW is not accepting responsibility.

What to do if your 2021 BMW X3 is a lemon? Your Lemon Rights

If you think you have bought a lemon and you need help sorting out the issues, you need a specialist consumer law firm that specializes in handling lemon law cases. Lemberg Law substantial experience negotiating cash settlements, buybacks, cash settlements, and replacement vehicles for clients who have found they bought a lemon.

You may have bought a lemon, but you certainly don’t have to keep it. Call us and we will assess your predicament. The law makes BMW pay the legal fees, so you’ve got everything to win.

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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