My experience with BMW
To whom it may concern, the purchase of this X3 was my first BMW. I bought it used from a dealership in Lincoln. It is in new condition however, passenger door did not open from the outside and the dealership promised in writing that would be fixed and license plates mounted. I took the vehicle to Husker BMW in Lincoln myself. I had only driven it about three days when I had taken it there and was especially concerned about how it shifts on the highway. Husker BMW service manager assured me that it is no big deal and a simple software update should fix the problem. When they told me it was finished, I made a special trip from my home to Lincoln (about 60 miles) only to find the passenger door did not open from the outside or inside. When I finally got my BMW X3 back I noticed small tears to the leather interior of the door and scratches on the tinting of the window and no difference in the of shifting characteristics. After a week of waiting for my for a response to several calls made to Husker BMW; I called John Markel in Omaha and made an appointment the next day.
At Markel they seemed more customer service oriented, I felt they were genuinely interested in solving my problem which was comforting because at this point I felt like I was limping along driving in Manual Mode on the highways and in transit tags about to expire along with factory warranty. I myself worked as a mechanic in a Ford and Chevy dealership in Nebraska City and felt the quality control at BMW of Lincoln was very inferior to standards for GM. I am now a Jet Engine mechanic in the Guard and supervise 20 year olds who know to protect a surface if your tool may damage it. I was concerned my experience is the result of my being a new owner of a BMW and being naive or perhaps less important because my warranty was about to expire, but at this point I was afraid to take my new vehicle back to Husker auto group.
I apologized to John Markel for the in transits about to expire however I had the plates with me but had not been to Lincoln yet where they would install them for free (out of state vehicle that needed a front plate). I placed the most emphasis and time on the shifting issue because this bugged me the most and is the only problem that would keep me from wanting to continue being the owner of this vehicle. I was informed they may have to put as much as 100 miles on the vehicle in order to isolate the problem and ensure it is properly repaired. The maintenance representative said she would drive the vehicle home to a small town about 25 miles south of Omaha which I thought was strange mostly because I expected it would be someone with years of experience behind a wrench who would be attempting to detect symptoms of a problem.
I also informed John Markel that it appeared that the fabric on the pillars along the sides of the windshield was faded and wrinkled, I pointed this out to BMW of Lincoln but they must not have seen this as something they fix under warranty. After a few days I got a message from John Markel stating that they found some strange behavior in the shifting and replaced some things, the pillars were replaced and that they had to charge my credit card $91 for license plate holders, I questioned the $91 and she said the front one was chrome. I figured at the time after I get the plates mounted for free, I can return the $91 plate holder and get my card reimbursed, I didn’t care... I was optimistic it would shift correctly.
When I got my BMW X3 back I first noticed it seemed louder as soon as I started it, and that my license plate holder was black plastic, and then I noticed scratches on the windshield along the bottom where it meets the dash from the installation of the pillars. When I got on interstate 680 south I was cruising at 70MPH and without any acceleration, it downshifted just before the exit to pacific street. There are vehicles with half the power of an X3 that never need to downshift going 70MPH on the interstate. Taking HWY50 south to Syracuse with the cruise control set at 60, my X3 downshifted to go up all but two or three hills which amounted to about 28 downshifts in 34 miles. Hwy 2 is a four lane hwy comparable to any interstate in Nebraska with no hills worth mentioning however, from Nebraska City to Lincoln going 70 down HWY2, it downshifts on 3 occasions. Driving on gravel roads (which I have 5 miles of to get to my house) is especially hazardous when it downshifts hard just as I crest a hill trying to keep to the right. When this first happened, it surged pretty hard despite no movement of the gas pedal. I immediately let off the gas because I did not want to go any faster, because of the amplified torque of being in way too low of gear; it activated the 4x4 antiskid measures. For this reason and the sheer annoyance of downshifting for every hill I drive perpetually in manual mode when not city driving (in Otoe county is most the time).
When I tried to contact the John Markel serveice rep, someone else was taking her place and left her a note for since she “understands” my problem. Several days later called again but she was busy but would get right back to me… which never happened. When I called the third time, she was busy and a note was left for her. By the fourth time and thereafter, my purpose was to inform them I was attempting to return the $91 worth of plastic which I removed from my front bumper and replaced with a free one. When I was available to get to Omaha before closing time, I got a hold of a different representative who was expecting me when I made a special trip to Markel BMW. Upon arrival my new representative was with another client so I had a member of Sales show me to parts department where they told me they cannot take back my $91 plastic license plate holder. To keep from throwing it at them, I bit my lip and placed the $91 piece of plastic on the counter for them to throw away and stomped off.
My next goal for this visit was to attempt to find a code so my Bluetooth phone could sync with my X3. The gentlemen behind the service counter were telling me that since there is no card in my owner’s manual, they will have to plug my X3 into the computer to find the 4 magic numbers which will be in the neighborhood of $100 or whatever the minimum labor rate. I explained gentlemen behind the service counter that if I have to pay for anything such as a number, I will go ballistic on you. In frenzy they had a printout of compatible phones and slurry of comforting promises. A guy I had never seen approached me with a note from one of my phone calls to be delivered to Kelly as though to show me they do know my case and are willing to acknowledge it now. He asked me about the shifting problem. I told him it doesn’t matter; I’m trading it in on a Subaru before fall anyway. By the time I drove home and back, my warranty will have expired; which I began to think is what they wanted… just to get me out of their hair.
I like my X3 otherwise but it seems very sad that a vehicle that advanced has such a weird shifting behavior. This thought mystifies me every time I leisurely cruise up a slight incline at less than 40 mph and the engine rpm over 3K. It is very likely I will trade it in on a Subaru because driving in manual really feels like I’m compensating for a mechanical problem on my X3. I would love a manual transmission in an X3 however I shudder to think of taking it to DesMoines IA or Denver for repairs where I would probably find the same sloppy overpriced maintenance.
P.S. I see my customer satisfaction questionnaire has expired, so I’ll try to get it to you best I can.