Electrical system and powertrain issues are the main cause of complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners
Originally launched in the U.S. in 1999 as a 2000 model, the BMW X5 is a mid-size luxury sports SUV that has had consistently good reviews. According to BMW, this new model has “everything it needs to maintain worldwide market leadership in its segment.” Maybe it does, but it has problems too, including electrical issues, battery problems, and acceleration malfunctions. Affected owners are not impressed!
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Most Common Problems
So far, there have only been a trickle of complaints to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) about the 2023 BMW X5, but some are major. The most common problems relate to the electrical system and the powertrain, commonly implicating the battery. Issues range from the X5 not accelerating or losing power to vehicles that accelerate randomly. There are also transmission problems.
Complaints to the NHTSA are filed in 6 categories, the electrical system, engine, fuel/propulsion system, powertrain, suspension, and vehicle speed control. The only relatively minor complaint relates to suspension. An owner from Pennsylvania states that 600 miles, which was two weeks after delivery, the left front air strut broke. There was no warning before the owner heard a loud noise, which was the strut breaking. A warning light came on afterwards indicating an issue with the chassis. BMW towed the car away and replaced the strut under warranty.
2023 BMW X5 Complaint Summary
|Complaint Category||Number of Complaints|
|Unknown Or Other|
|Visibility:sun/moon Roof Assembly|
Powertrain Issues and Acceleration Problems
The first complaint filed under Powertrain was from an owner in Alabama in early December 2022. While driving and shifting from Drive to Neutral, the vehicle lost power. As it turns out, this may well have been an electrical system problem affecting charging of the battery.
The complaint continues stating that the “system” was down and he had to “change to Charging Mode, which shows when (the) power (is) off.” He had to push the start button a couple of times to turn the X5 back on again. After it had happened three times, he took it to a dealership where a BMW service tech updated the software. When he picked the SUV up, there was an error message that stated, “four wheel drive limited.” Then the engine stopped again and the system changed to Charging Mode again. “I had to push the start button to turn it on.” At the time of this complaint, the issue was unresolved.
Lack of Acceleration
Another complaint filed under Powertrain by an owner from Colorado is also regarded as an engine and fuel/propulsion system issue. Like the previous complaint, it is associated with battery problems.
“I was accelerating from a green light in electric-only mode, once nearing 25 mph. I felt a single, strong jolt that caused (the) acceleration to pause.” At this point, the “hybrid mode automatically kicked in and acceleration continued under engine power.”
According to the complaint, several warnings and alerts displayed: Stop Carefully, Power Supply Drivetrain Malfunction Continued Driving possible, Drivetrain Electric Drive Limited. “I was fortunate enough to continue driving the final 1/2 mile to my parking lot at work. After work, the engine started with the same errors as above and attempted to move. But the engine was making strange cycles of revving high and low. I called Roadside and as I idled waiting for a tow truck to arrive, the gas engine began revving high again, then low. Then (it) sputtered, then shut off and would not turn back on, leaving me in the cold.” At the time, there was about half a tank of fuel and the battery was at least 30% charged.
The tow truck arrived and tried to restart the X5 to drive it up the tow ramp. “But the 12v battery ended up depleting in the process so it had to be winched. Jump box (was) required to get it into Neutral.”
Categorized as a vehicle speed control problem, an owner from Illinois states that his X5 was “accelerating on its own. I was able to control the speed with the brakes, but once I took my foot off the brake, the vehicle would accelerate again,” traveling up to 50 mph. “I did shut off the vehicle at a stop light to disengage any possible system. (But) the car continued to accelerate once I let off the brake.“ According to the complaint, when he got home the garage “smelled horribly of burnt rubber from riding the brake pads.” During the incident there were no system dashboard notifications.
The BMW dealership took the vehicle for inspection but couldn’t find an issue. National BMW then sent an engineer out. “They told me there was nothing wrong with the vehicle and it was user error! I refused to take back the vehicle. No-one ever drove the car to try to reproduce the unintended acceleration issue. Overall, (this is) very concerning that the vehicle will (now) be sold to an unsuspecting driver.”
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Electrical System Problems
Electrical system problems are varied, and complaints include a faulty car computer and concern that the electrical system isn’t protected from water spillage. Of course, the lack of acceleration and loss of power incidents are all related to battery issues, so they may also have been electrical system problems.
NHTSA Electrical System Complaints
An owner from Florida spilled a small amount of water on the console of a brand new 2023 BMW X5. It was a silly mistake that shut down the car and led the owner to complain that “the electrical system is not protected at all. It sits under the shifter – right by the drink holders – and because I squeezed a water bottle and some water got onto the console, it shut the car down. I believe this to be a safety issue. Once I got to the dealer the car would not shift into park.”
The dealer confirmed that the water had seeped into the electrical compartment and said that a new part was needed. But there was a 5-week wait for the (unnamed) part so, in the interim, they simply took it out and dried it off.
There is another electrical system complaint, but with very little information. An owner from Washington, DC states that the “car computer stopped working. Prior to this, (the) computer would not recognize either of two keys.”
Battery Draining Overnight
Writing on Edmunds, a 2023 owner tells how he changed from a 2019 X5 “with every package and very reliable,” for a 2023 X5 model with the same perks. After 2.5 months he had done 1,300 miles. During this time, “it’s been at the dealer for repairs twice. In both cases a parasitic system is draining the battery overnight. Today the car was totally dead. This will be my first lemon… Can we blame the lack of parts and qualify workers for the worst car I ever have? Also, dealer and customer service has been going down. I will (have to) think (twice) about getting another BMW after this experience.”
What if your 2023 BMW X5 is a Lemon?
If you are unlucky enough to have bought a BMW X5 with any kind of problems, if these recur or affect your use of the SUV or its value, you might want a lemon lawyer to assess the problem for you.
Lemberg Law has been helping vehicle owners assess these kinds of problems for many years. As a result, 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 you’re not going to have to pay legal costs.