2023 BMW i4 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical system, engine, brake, and wireless CarPlay issues are among the main causes of complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

The fully electric BMW i4 Gran Coupe was launched in the U.S. in 2022 to much applause and highly complimentary media reviews. Available in three versions, the 2023 electric sport sedan has followed in its footsteps with only very minor changes and reportedly no waning of interest. But the first model already has six recalls and this one, five. Complaints are also mounting up. 2023 owners are reporting unintended acceleration problems, drivetrain malfunctions, issues with the cell monitoring circuit module, and CarPlay problems that result in erroneous navigation instructions that increase the risk of an accident. 

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2022

Most Common Problems

The most common problem 2023 BMW i4 owners are complaining to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) about relate to the wireless Apple CarPlay app. The problem is that it affects location and navigation information, which can be dangerous. There are also several complaints about a drivetrain malfunction. In terms of numbers, the electrical system tops the list, but complaints are varied. Also, several electrical system complaints are combined with other systems and components including the powertrain and engine.

There is one complaint about a faulty cell monitoring circuit module, which is serious, and has subsequently resulted in a recall. Although there are only two complaints about brakes, both are serious. Unintended acceleration is also a reported problem.

Another single complaint states that the manual charging port door wouldn’t open. This put the driver’s safety at risk as she “could not charge the vehicle and had only limited range left to drive.” She was stuck with her child on a road trip four hours from her home “as darkness was approaching.” BMW roadside assistance was unable to help and she was told to get the vehicle to a dealer.

“A quick Google search revealed this is a known issue to BMW and many have been replaced under warranty, although no recall has been issued. We are expected to just drive with faulty charge door mechanisms until they fail, and just hope and pray you’re in a safe place when it happens or have enough charge to get to a BMW dealer.”

The components and systems that owners of the 2023 BMW i4 models name are the electrical system, engine, forward collision avoidance, fuel/propulsion system, powertrain, service brakes, structure, and vehicle speed control. All the CarPlay complaints are listed as unknown or other problems.

And then there are the recalls.

2023 BMW i4 Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
8
Unknown Or Other
6
Power Train
4
Engine
3
Service Brakes
3
Vehicle Speed Control
3
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
2
Fuel/propulsion System
2
Steering
2
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
1

Recalls

By March 2023 there were already 3 recalls for the 2023 BMW i4. By August there were 5. Of these, 2 increase the risk of injury and the other 3 increase the risk of a crash. Four of these are also in place for the 2022 model that has 6 recalls. One that fortunately doesn’t apply to the 2023 model relates to the high voltage battery. It is an urgent recall that relates to a fire risk and warns owners not to drive the vehicle until the battery has been replaced.

Batter Cell Monitoring Circuit Fault

The one that relates only to the 2023 model and not the launch model is also a high voltage battery problem. In this instance, the recall, NHTSA Campaign Number 23V295000, warns that a small number of vehicles (31) including the 2023 i4 eDrive35, i4 eDrive40, and i4 M50 hybrid electric vehicles are affected. They may have a battery cell monitoring circuit with improperly secured electrical connections. This can result in an engine stall, which increases the risk of a crash.

ECU Software Malfunction

NHTSA Campaign Number 22V944000 involves the recall of 14,086 BMWs, some of which are 2023 i4 eDrive35, eDrive40, and i4 M50s.The problem is that the high voltage battery electronic control unit (ECU) software may cause an interruption of electrical power. If this happens, the risk of a crash increases.

Unlocked Door Malfunction

NHTSA Campaign Number 23V118000 affects only 120 vehicles including i4 eDrive40 and i4 M50s. The problem here is that if there was a service visit, a replacement electronic control unit may have been installed with incorrect programming. The warning is that this can cause the automatic door locking function to fail to lock the doors as intended. This can result in the doors opening if the i4 crashes, which increases the risk of injury.

Faulty Battery Charging Units

Up to 69 vehicles, including 2022 and 2023 i4 eDrive40 and i4 M50s, are implicated in a recall due to improperly manufactured battery charging units. NHTSA Campaign Number 23V449000 warns that the high voltage battery combined charging unit (CCU) may have improperly connected or assembled components inside the unit. This can interrupt electrical power while driving, resulting in an engine stall. This, of course, increases the risk of a crash.

Pedestrian Warning Sound Malfunction

The fifth recall affects 3,431 BMWs including 2023 i4 eDrive40s. During vehicle start-up, the artificial sound generator control unit may experience a fault and it won’t generate the external pedestrian warning sound. If pedestrians aren’t aware of approaching vehicles, they could get hurt. The NHTSA maintains that these vehicles don’t comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 141, Minimum Sound Requirements for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles.

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Apple CarPlay Problems

Since this is the most complained about problem, let’s look at it first.

The problem, as all complainants highlight is that “the on-board GPS sends incorrect information to Apple CarPlay devices, including both location and dead reckoning. This means that any application on the phone, including SOS and 911 calls, sends inaccurate location information when this is occurring. It is intermittent but acknowledged by BMW as an issue.”

This particular complaint also states that even though the CarPlay specifications point to Apple, “all GNSS information comes from the car to the phone,” so “this is 100% a BMW issue.” According to this complaint, this also happens with Android Auto. “There are also reports of this impacting the location BMW thinks the car has, including the My BMW app, which may also impact BMW’s emergency services.”

An owner from Washington adds that when the navigation keeps rerouting, this can be distracting to drivers. “It can also disorient the driver if they are driving in an area which is not familiar to them.

What Happens if You Get the Wrong Data

An owner from California has thought this one through. “In some situations, the car sends the wrong GPS data to CarPlay, and then all the mapping applications in CarPlay (and on your phone) have the wrong location. When this happens, the car is shown way off course, and the navigation app starts giving you rerouting instructions to get you back on course. Of course, these instructions are nonsensical and the locations are sometimes comical — we live near a body of water, and the car is often shown driving through the water. This can only be corrected by rebooting the car’s iDrive system or by disconnecting your phone completely from the car.”

If you get the wrong navigation instructions, these can confuse you and potentially lead to an accident.

“But more importantly, the car is giving your phone the incorrect geo-location. This means that when you look at any map on your phone it shows you are in the wrong location.” He points out that all modern iPhones have an SOS feature.

“If your car crashes, it will call 911 and relay your location. However, it will send the ‘wrong’ location because it only knows what the car is telling it. This problem has been seen in several different BMW models; most often with cars that have iDrive 8. Based on BMW owner community forums, BMW dealers were made aware of the problem as long ago as June 2022. BMW USA has acknowledged the problem, and if pressed will say ‘we are working on a resolution’ but refuse to give a timeframe for a fix. In the meantime, they say ‘don’t use CarPlay maps’. But of course that doesn’t address the phone GPS / SOS issue.”

There is no doubt that this is a big worry for 2023 BMW i4 owners.

Faulty Cell Monitoring Circuit Module

The i4’s high-voltage battery consists of four modules with 72 cells each, and three 12-cell modules. But when it doesn’t work, the owner has a problem. An owner from Georgia complained to the NHTSA because the 2023 BMW i4 wouldn’t start.

He states that the message on the dash read “stop auto train failure contact roadside assistance.” He did what he thought was the right thing and called his car salesman first. The salesman “told me I had to contact roadside assistance myself.” but roadside assistance wasn’t able to diagnose or correct the problem and they called a tow truck. The car was towed to a dealership that day and “has been on the lot ever since. After many consultations with the BMW people in Germany, the analysis was that the cell monitoring circuit module needed to be replaced and the replacement part is scheduled to arrive mid-march, 2023.”

The incident was on December 9, 2022 and the complaint lodged on February 1, 2023. On April 26, 2023, BMW issued a recall due to faulty battery cell monitoring circuits (see Recalls above).

Drivetrain Malfunctions

Drivetrain malfunctions are reported as being engine or powertrain problems. This, of course, is because this type of malfunction is either due to an engine or transmission problem.

The owner of a new 2023 BMW i4 eDrive40 with 1,469 miles received the error message, “Drivetrain malfunction: Driving not possible. Call Roadside Assistance,” at which point, the car turned off. After it happened three more times, he had the car towed to the dealer. After testing it, they “confirmed faults for the high voltage battery and a 30F current violation and sporadic software issue.” This happened on June 8, 2023, but the owner was told a fix was only estimated for August.

“There is a recall for some 2023 i4 eDrive40s (campaign # 22V944000) regarding the high voltage battery electronic control unit (ECU) that may cause an interruption of electrical power, and risk of crash increases. I believe my vehicle should be included in this.”

Another owner experienced the same drivetrain malfunction when she and her child were in the car she’d had for only 4 weeks. But it didn’t switch off. Instead, it decelerated and she was able to “creep over 2 lanes to the shoulder and put the car in park.” She couldn’t restart it, but roadside assistance managed to turn it back on and drive it to the dealer. After 2.5 weeks, they said a software update had resolved the issue.

The owner of a car with 200 on the clock experienced a drivetrain malfunction 2 days after taking delivery. It went into Park mode and “made (the) car inoperable.” This owner did some internet research and discovered reports of many people having the “same issues.”

Unintended Acceleration Problems

Complaining to the NHTSA under Vehicle Speed Control problems, an owner from California states that while turning into a parking space, “the vehicle experienced sudden unintended acceleration and crashed into a post and then into a wall. No warning lights were illuminated.“ Fortunately nobody was hurt in the crash. The contact stated that there were no injuries sustained. A police report was not filed. The failure mileage was 2,098 and the owner hadn’t had the i4 checked out by the local dealer or a local dealer at the time of the complaint.

Brake Problems

One brake-related issue resulted in a California owner crashing while parking in his garage. The car continued to roll despite pressure on the brake pedal and crashed into shelving and the inside back garage wall.

The other brake malfunction occurred in an i4 that was only 2 weeks old. It didn’t cause a crash, but it was a narrow escape. The dealer said they needed to order “a brake booster” from Germany to fix the problem, but couldn’t give a time frame. “I find it unacceptable that a reputable automotive manufacturer like BMW does not have the necessary spare parts readily available for essential safety components like brakes.”

Appealing to the NHTSA to investigate this problem, the complaint states that the “potential risks posed by a brake system failure are a matter of utmost concern and warrant immediate attention and action.”

What if your 2023 BMW i4 is a Lemon?

Could your BMW i4 be lemon? If it is, chances are you’ve had recurring problems that affect the use of your super-new electric vehicle. It is probably also affecting its resale value. If so, it means that you may have bought a lemon. But you don’t have to live with it.

Lemberg Law has been helping vehicle owners who have found themselves with lemons for many years. And we have negotiated many settlements on their behalf. If you’d like us to assess your case, free of charge, contact us by calling our Helpline or filling out a contact form. The law says that BMW must pay the legal fees for lemon law cases, so it’s not going to cost you anything.

 

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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