2021 BMW X5 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

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

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

First produced more than a decade ago, in 2000, the BMW X5 boasts 4 generations, with a choice of engines, mild hybrid diesel, diesel, gasoline, and hybrid. Often described as a revolutionary SUV, it has also earned the dubious title of the most complained about BMW vehicle.

Research shows that from an initial 33 problems reported to the National Department of Transportation (DOT) in 2000, complaints peaked at 394 in 2011. They weren’t much better in 2012, with a total of 354 complaints. Numbers have reduced since then, but those complaints don’t just disappear.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019   2022   2023

Most Common Problems with the 2021 BMW X5

By March 2021, NHTSA records show that there had already been 11 recalls of 2021 BMW X5s. There haven’t been any recalls since, but the 6 of the 28 complaints are from January and February 2022.

One injury is reported in the complaint documents, allegedly due to an electrical system issue. Additionally, two vehicles with electrical system faults exploded. One set fire to a BMW 5X owner’s house. The house was saved, but the SUV “is nothing more than a burnt shell, a total loss.”

Looking at the NHTSA complaints, it’s clear that the most common problems relate to the electrical system, the powertrain, and the engine. Each of these has 10, 7, and 6 complaints each, respectively.

Other complaints are varied. There are 2 each for airbags, back-over prevention, the fuel/propulsion system, lane departure, and the structure of the vehicle. Exterior lighting, seat belts, service brakes, vehicle speed control, and visibility/wiper each record one complaint. There are also several complaints listed in the category Unknown or Other.

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

2021 BMW X5 Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Power Train
Unknown Or Other
Air Bags
Back Over Prevention: Rearview System Braking
Service Brakes
Back Over Prevention: Warnings
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking

2021 BMW X5 Electrical System Problems

There are a total of 10 electrical system faults reported to the NHTSA, 1 specifically about the 2021 BMW X5 Hybrid. This complaint relates to a recall and states that the parts required are not available.

While this complaint doesn’t provide any details, others do and some are alarming. For instance, one BMW X5 owner complains that their X5e plug-in hybrid shuts itself off when the driver’s door is open. This, they say, leaves anyone who is in the car “at risk of serious health problems or even death!” They add that the X3e does stay on when the driver’s door is open.

This person’s father ended up inside the car in what is described as “unsafe and deadly heat.” In an attempt to get out of the car he fell and hurt himself.

“The manufacturer has been contacted several times and at times they say this should not be happening.” However, “dealers are saying that is how the vehicle is designed.”

One of the complaints that combine a powertrain, electrical system, and engine problem states that the dealership blames a software issue.

This owner states that his concern relates to the intense heat that is created, which may cause a fire. In the light of several BMW X5 fires, it seems to be a valid concern.

One of the owners whose SUV did catch on fire states that it was “very upsetting and disturbing that the new vehicle randomly burst into flames while sitting in (the) garage.”

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2021 BMW X5 Powertrain Problems

One of the 7 powertrain issues saw the car crashing into two “different” trees. Additionally, the airbags didn’t deploy. Even though the driver said while he was shifting gears into drive the car began to “reverse independently” while he was pushing on the brake pedal. BMW maintained it was human error.

Another complaint says that the vehicle simply won’t accelerate in hybrid mode. Another says that the car started “shaking on the highway and suddenly lost power.” This was shown as a powertrain malfunction error.

2021 BMW X5 Engine Problems

One of the engine-related complaints to the NHTSA says that after a drivetrain malfunction, there was an alert when he tried to turn the engine on.

“These alerts came on immediately. I called BMW. They said (the) car should not be driven.” So, the owner had the car towed away. The explanation is that the problem relates to the recalled battery.

“They have no idea as of today (29 November 2020) how to fix it. They said this problem is happening all over.”

What to do if your 2021 BMW X5 is a lemon? Your Lemon Rights

It can be disconcerting to find yourself with a vehicle that you suspect is a lemon. But you don’t have to be stuck with it. Lemberg Law is a specialist consumer law firm specializing in lemon law cases.

If you suspect you’ve bought a lemon, call us as soon as you are able to so that we can assess your problems. We have successfully negotiated many cash settlements, buybacks, trade-ins, and replacement vehicles.

Call our Helpline today. The law makes BMW pay, so you don’t have to worry about legal bills.


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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