2022 BMW X3 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical system, brake, and powertrain issues are among the top complaints to the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

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

The 2022 BMW X3 is designed for the luxury-minded consumer who is looking for something exciting. The automaker claims it provides “a bold outlook,” but some owners aren’t so sure.  Complaints range from an X3 being engulfed in flames for no apparent reason to problems caused by shoddy camera brackets. Powertrain and brake-related complaints highlight safety issues while electrical problems are mostly annoying.

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Most Common Problems with the 2022 BMW X3

The most common problems owners of the 2022 BMW X3 are complaining to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about relate to the electrical system and powertrain. Brake issues and forward collision-avoidance problems are also high on the list.

Additional components and systems that owners report problems about include backover prevention, the engine, lane departure, structure, and vehicle speed control. Many complaints are listed in more than one category, largely because owners aren’t certain what causes specific problems.

One of the most alarming complaints is listed as an unknown or other problem. Lodged with the NHTSA by an owner from Michigan, it describes how a 2022 X3 with less than 200 miles on the clock burst into flames and “melted.” The SUV was only a month old when he noticed sparks, some of which were coming from the hood. As he got out, there were flames coming from under the car. The “police and fire department showed up within 10 minutes” and put out the fire. But, “unfortunately the whole car (had) melted by then. I’m glad I escaped unhurt. A few minutes more (and) I could have been seriously hurt or dead.”

There are also 2 recalls for the 2022 X3, one because an internal transmission leak in the powertrain might cause rollaway. This increases the risk of a crash and injury. The other is a gasoline fuel system issue that involves a possible crack in the fuel rail that could cause a fuel leak. This can also increase the risk of a fire.

2022 BMW X3 Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
Unknown Or Other
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
Lane Departure: Warning
Power Train
Electrical System
Service Brakes
Lane Departure: Assist

Powertrain Problems

Complaints about the 2022 X3 powertrain range from lack of acceleration issues to a broken rear axle in a car with only 20K miles. Here are a few of these complaints:

Life-Threating Failure Reported

When the 2022 BMW X3 belonging to an owner from Tennessee went into “limp mode,” the vehicle was shutting down in heavy traffic while traveling at more than 70 mph.

“When I went to accelerate and merge right into the heavy traffic, my BMW dash lit up red and the acceleration was shut off leaving the car coasting. I could not accelerate, (and was) stuck in my lane. The car started slowing from 70+mph traffic down to 60 mph, 55 mph and I was able to get over into exit lanes at 45 mph with (the) car still decelerating up (the) exit ramp. I pulled off to the exit ramp onto the side of the road into the grass/pavement to safety.

“The BMW’s failure to operate was a life-threatening incident for me, my wife and mother in the car in the middle of very heavy traffic. In addition, all on-coming vehicle traffic was put at risk of life threatening injuries with a high risk of rear end multiple collisions.”

The owner could see from the dash messages that there were a few minor problems. These related to the “sensor for pedestrians and cameras, and if it proceeded to fail to contact maintenance. However, the car was ok to drive.”

He had the BMW X3 towed to a dealership the next day. It appeared to be a serious (or possibly mysterious) problem because the dealership was told to send it to BMW engineers for investigation. While they were unable to recreate the environment, they did “repairs thought best to resolve (the) issue.”

At the time of the complaint, the owner of the vehicle had not been able to find out what the issue was.

Deceleration Due to Drivetrain Malfunction

In June 2023, the owner of a 2020 BMW X3 was surprised when “the vehicle inadvertently decelerated while the accelerator pedal was depressed. The service vehicle warning light was illuminated.” The error message was “Drivetrain Malfunction.” But the dealer wasn’t able to duplicate the failure, so the SUV wasn’t repaired.

Brake Required to Shift Gears

An owner from Virginia found it was “impossible to shift the vehicle from neutral to drive without applying the brakes” when traveling below 4 mph. It all started when he “accidentally bumped the transmission gear shifter into the “N” neutral position. When I realized this (I was only going 4 mph at the time) I tried to shift it back into drive but it would not work. The vehicle made a sound that I was doing something wrong.

“I tried to shift it again … and it gave me that same warning sound. But this time I looked at the instrumentation panel and saw that the warning text displayed on the panel said that I needed to apply the brakes before I could shift it from neutral to drive. When I applied the brakes the vehicle came to a complete stop because I was going only 3 mph and at that point I could shift the vehicle into drive.”

BMW was unable to explain the issue. As a result, the owner says, “I am concerned that this design fault will one day cause catastrophic injuries.”

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Brake Problems

Apart from the complaint mentioned above that implicates the powertrain, other complaints focus on a loss of brake traction and brake pads that wear excessively much too quickly.

Brakes Don’t Work Properly in the Snow

A major concern of another owner is that the brakes stop working properly when driving in the snow and engaging traction control. “It was truly terrifying,” the complaint states. “I had to stomp on the pedal with both feet to get them to kick in.” To make matters worse, a friend had experienced the same thing with a 2023 model X3.

Complaint About Cheap Brake Pads

Complaining that brake pads normally last 35,000-45,000 miles, an owner states that the brake pads on his 2022 X3 were worn out within 16,000 miles. He confronted the dealership and said, “they admitted that BMW has changed to a different ‘softer’ type of brake pads.”

“This should be considered as a defect and the cars recalled because BMW knowingly changed their brake pads to save money and has been installing cheap brake pads that don’t even last 1/2 of what regular brake pads last.”

He maintains in the complaint that the NHTSA should have minimum standards for car parts. This would prevent BMW from taking advantage of their customers by installing cheap parts to make more money.

“We have leased/owned BMW’s for 15+ years and have never had this issue. Since this was done on purpose by BMW, there should be a recall issued for the defective brake pads that they have been installing.”

Electrical System Problems

There’s every reason to assume that the 2022 BMW X3 comes with every tech feature consumers could want. After all, the price is not rock-bottom and this luxury model is hailed as a tech haven. But there are all sorts of electrical system problems from the instrument cluster not working to the car horn randomly activating.

An owner from Alabama states that the instrument cluster sometimes works but often doesn’t. Problems include front collision and lane departure not working. He is also unable to judge speed accurately. While the complaint states a dealership has been able to reproduce the problem, parts haven’t been inspected. To make matters worse, the dealer hasn’t been able to supply a timeframe to fix the issue. This situation, the complaint states, forces the owner “to drive this car without working instruments.”

Other issues relate to the hatch. An owner from Florida states that the rear hatch opened without warning while he was traveling on the highway. “My car was full of luggage on our return trip to Florida and I could not see that the hatch had opened. We lost boxes that were in the trunk. It could have been a lot worse if we were not notified by passing drivers that something was wrong with my car.”

A more bizarre complaint states that when the door or hatch opens, “the car horn is continuously activated for up to two minutes. No switches or key fob buttons deactivate the horn. The dealer service department thinks it is a defective switch or relay in the steering column.” But they don’t offer a solution.

What To Do If Your 2022 BMW X3 is a Lemon

If your 2022 BMW X3 has recurring problems that affect its value and/or use, there’s a possibility that you have purchased a lemon. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you. And it won’t cost you a cent if you want to take action against BMW.

Lemberg Law can help you get the lemon out of your life. But first we need to assess your problems. Call our Helpline or fill out a contact form so that we can get your details to get started.

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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