BMW Faults


Do the axles of evil run through here?
Chris Plummer

BMW Reviews; Known faults and adverse comments


The joy of BMW ownership...

Model Known faults and issues Alternatives If you must

1 Series



3 door, 5 door, coupe

  • Trim options not great as standard
  • Poor rear leg and headroom with poor rear access
  • Hard ride
  • Small boot
  • Expensive
  • 2004 car recalled for rear axle control arm
  • Some problems with engine control systems on petrol engines
  • Problems with Electric steering racks
  • 130i
  • 3 Series more

    4 door, touring, coupe

    • Popular with aspiring junior managers, reps and estate agents, so less exclusive than a Ford Mondeo.
    • Lack of power in some diesels.
    • High prices and expensive options - by the time you get all of the gadgets you really want on a car like this, you have to ask whether it is worth it.
    • Electrics can cause problems.
    • "Oh was that a BMW 3 series?" styling is boring, boring, boring.
  • 330i Sport (preferably as a "Touring" estate model).
  • 5 Series more

    • Driver fell asleep when he got to the back of the new model.
    • Some late 90s models had engine wear problems - usually fixed under warranty.   Watch out for head gasket wear.
    • Need a degree in computer science, or a friendly 14 year old to work the idrive (when it is working).
    • Touring holds less luggage than the saloon, until the seats are put down.
    • Some problems with run flat tyres - which run flat.

    535d MSport

    Oh go on...treat yourself - get the M5 and enjoy the warmer weather

    6 Series more

    • Great drive, quality, performance and looks.   Unfortunately this makes it popular with 'C' list celebs and car thieves.   Tara Palmer-Tomkinson used to own one.
    • You can look really cool as you destroy the planet.
    • Poor rear legroom (as if that matters to the people that own these) - still plenty of room for the shopping bags.
    • Some 2004 cars recalled for faulty engine management units.
    • All the nice toys, including satnav are extras - but everyone knows where Knightsbridge is anyway.
    • Jaguar XK Series
    • Porsche 911
    630i convertible

    7 Series

    • Expensive to own and run due to high costs of insurance, fuel (except diesels), servicing and depreciation.   But if you can afford one, why would you care.  The company is probably picking up the bill anyway.
    • Older shape popular with chavs and gangsters.
    • Apparently there is a new model...but you can't really tell and who cares anyway?
    • Jaguar XJ
    • Maserati Quattroporte
    • Audi A8
  • 730d SE auto
  • Z4

    • Hard ride
    • Poor headroom and visibility in coupe
    • Light steering
    • Mercedes SLK200
    • Porsche Boxter
  • Roadster 2.5iSE
  • Z4 Coupe
    • Sell your golf clubs - they won't fit if you want to put anything else in the back.
    • Make friends with a petrol station owner - the small tank means you will be paying regular visits.
    • You may not have to worry about what is behind you, but that is just as well as you won't see them anyway.
    • Nissan 350Z
    • Porsche Cayman
    • Audi TT
    • Si Sport


         Q.   What is the difference between an X5 and a porcupine?

         A.    The porcupine has the pricks on the outside.

    • Very expensive
    • Firm ride - get your fillings checked
    • Thirsty
    • Small Boot
    • Only 5 seats
    • Landrover Discovery
    • Range Rover


    • Firm ride
    • Suspect build quality (is this the worst car that BMW makes?)
    • Very dull styling
    • What is it for? Practicality is suspect and off roading is not great.
    • Nissan X trail
    • Freelander
    •  an X5

    Technical Problems

    For more information see BMW Technical Help

    If you are having a problem with a used BMW, then bmwland in the UK is definitely the place to go.

    For a more general review of the cars, take a look at Unixnerd...a self confessed BMW owner.

    Alternatively, to find out more about all technical aspects of BMW ownership and to get a different view, there is an excellent forum run by UK BMW enthusiasts at www.bimmerfest.co.uk.

    Overall Reliability

    In a recent What Car survey based on warranty claims from a major insurer, BMW came a particularly average 10th, down from 7th in 2006 and now behind Rover!

    The best model was the BMW 3 series compact (94-01) and the worst was the 7 series (94-02).   Particular problems were claimed to be axles, suspension and electrical faults.

    BMW also had the 3rd highest labour rate at an outstanding £72.59 per hour!

     ...not really


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    W3C WAI-AAChris Plummer Chris Plummer |
    Email: mail@bmwsucks.com