Hello there and welcome to the BMW Car Club of America.

If you are a BMW CCA member, please log in and introduce yourself in our Member Introductions section.

2011 528i Accelerator

Discussion in 'E60 (2004-2010)' started by Judoculp, Dec 25, 2010.

    Judoculp guest

    Post Count: 4
    Likes Received:0
    Is it the car, us, or a little of both? Our 2011 528i has less than 1,000 miles, so we are still novice BMW owners. That said, neither my wife nor I have been able to adapt well to its accelerator. Specifically, we are having difficulty making smooth, moderately quick starts from a standstill. Slow, rolling starts are not a problem. Neck-snapping, tire-chirping starts are also easy to do.

    I read on a BMW blog from Canada that they were complaining about the 2011 528i accelerator pedal needing too much travel to get quick acceleration. I'm wondering if BMW heard the Canadian complaint and over-corrected on the side of too little travel for quick acceleration for the USA market? We drove Audi's for 20 years and turbo Subaru's the last 3 years. We did not have this problem with those cars.

    Since the system is drive-by-wire and programable, we wondered if modifications were available and/or authorized by BMW?
    • Member

    CSBM5

    Post Count: 340
    Likes Received:3
    Sadly this is a unfortunate fact of dealing with modern BMWs and automatic transmissions. One drive in the 6spd manual version, and you'll see what I mean as the throttle modulation in the manual car is fine and normal.

    There have been many posts over the years about this subject, and as an example, Car and Driver complained bitterly about the issue with the Alpina B7 they tested a few years ago.

    Many have assumed that it has something to do with emissions cycle testing and/or the EPA fuel economy testing cycles -- i.e. programming to meet the test, customer be damned. However, that doesn't explain why the manual transmission versions of the cars have "normal" throttle-by-wire programming.

    I can say that on the E39 5-series those that complained of this issue were able to find relief with the Dinan s/w flash. Later model cars have similar "fixes" implemented by Dinan when they come up with their tuned ECU.

    BMW will not have a fix. They will tell you that it is your fault. (little did you know that it was your fault for not buying the manual transmission version). However, COMPLAIN like crazy nonetheless. Someday they will get the message perhaps, but as long as people line up and buy these cars, I think they will just continue along as is. I recently drove a 2010 328i loaner car (with an auto of course), and it was diabolical trying to manage smooth throttle applications -- insane. I'd go crazy if I had to drive that car everyday.

    Perhaps Dinan will have a tune available for your car sometime in the future where they fix what shouldn't be broken by design.
    • Member

    bcweir

    Post Count: 1,264
    Likes Received:5
    Quite likely, this is part of the transmission programming, and I'd bet, intentional

    As the U.S. and Canada continue to tighten regulations on CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) and emissions, manufacturers are having to find new ways of squeezing even marginal savings on fuel economy. Saving one MPG on one car may not mean much, but if you multiply that savings by the millions of cars auto manufacturers produce every year, it becomes a lot more signficant.

    In the late 1980's and early 1990s, Chevrolet had what was called a 4+3 manual transmission for their C4 Corvette that deployed what was then known as CAGS (Computer Aided Gear Selection). This manual transmission would force a 1st to 3rd gear upshift if the accelerator were at any position less than WOT (wide open throttle) and if the car was traveling at less than 30 miles an hour). Back then, disabling or cutting a wire to the transmission would eliminate this foolishness. But these days, fixes are not so low-tech. Things such as shift points, fluid pressures, input RPMs are now digitally programmed into the transmissions.

    BMW is not likely to have any remediation for you for two reasons: a) they're not going to do anything that would introduce potential warranty, emissions, liability, safety or regulatory issues. Their service bays are already packed with high profit paying customers, and b) barring this being a recall or SIB (Service Information Bulletin), they're going to tell you this is normal vehicle operation and to have a nice day.

    However, all isn't lost. If you don't mind paying for an aftermarket solution, Dinan and other companies likely offer automatic transmission reprogramming services. You may want to check around and see if your vehicle is supported. I seem to recall Bavarian Autosport sells some electronic upgrades that may be just the ticket for you.
    • Member

    CSBM5

    Post Count: 340
    Likes Received:3
    If you inquire at Dinan, note that it is NOT their transmission programming that you want. You want their engine ECU programming since this is where they modify the drive-by-throttle programming to smooth things out and have it function "properly."
    • Member

    bcweir

    Post Count: 1,264
    Likes Received:5
    Go with what CSBM5 said

    It sounds to me like he definitely knows what he's talking about :)

    Judoculp guest

    Post Count: 4
    Likes Received:0
    Thanks for the feedback. My neighbor also has a 2011 528i automatic (his is a few months older). He has had a lot more high-end cars than I, and he too complains about what he calls the "jerky" accelerator action from rest. I guess we will need to approach our dealer together. When I mentioned this problem to our Client Advisor, he told me that the Service Manager was not aware of any complaints (hmm..?). That was before I tried this forum.
    • Member

    CSBM5

    Post Count: 340
    Likes Received:3
    They will all tell you that. Heck, BMW will tell you that even though it is a long standing problem that Car and Driver has complained about numerous times over the years (like that Alpina B7 road test I mentioned).

    BMW has NO fix for this stupid issue. None. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you take it to the dealer, they'll plug it into the GT1, see that no codes are present, and send you on your way (all the time acting as if they've never heard of the problem). On every car (so far) I've heard about, a Dinan tune has cleaned up this junky factory programming. That is probably your only hope.

    I just had a 2011 328i loaner this week -- an automatic. What a nightmare to try to smoothly drive the thing. The very fine tip-in at very slow speeds has been worked on, and it is smoother than in the past, but just beyond that, say trying to go from 10% throttle to 25% throttle is a disaster. It feels like it leaps ahead to 50% throttle no matter how slow and precise and smooth you try to be with the throttle pedal. I'd go crazy trying to drive that thing every day.
    • Member

    eam3

    Post Count: 324
    Likes Received:2
    Too true. When our 535i started showing symptoms (and by symptoms I mean my wife barely made it to the dealer because the car kept stalling) of the dreaded HPFP failure, they acted like it was the first time they'd ever heard of the issue. Naturally a few days later our service adviser told me that it was the HPFP and that it was so weird because they'd never seen that failure before. Suuuure....

    As for the accelerator issue, I used to make it a game to see if I could leave from a standstill in a smooth way. The 535i made it seem to my passengers that I did not know how to drive an automatic :)
    • Member

    bcweir

    Post Count: 1,264
    Likes Received:5
    Client Advisor/Service Advisor isn't supposed to make those decisions

    If that Service or Client Advisor has a nice little framed certificate stating he/she is a Certified BMW Service Technician, I say let him diagnose until he/she turns blue. But until then, the service advisor needs to do his/her job, and stop trying to make diagnoses on cars they have no training on and haven't seen or touched.

    A Service Advisor's sole job is to make service appointments. Let the service professionals make the service decisions please.

    Just because the Service Manager hasn't gotten his/her morning paper yet, doesn't mean the rest of the world has stopped turning. I'm really not interested in what the SM claims he/she does or doesn't know. If you have a car under warranty, and you're not happy with its operation, it's their JOB to correct the issue. If you feel they're blowing you off, let them know you will be ordering a customer satisfaction form directly from BMW North America, and you will fail them across the board unless they fix it. Then watch them fall over themselves to change their tune.
    • Member

    tiFreak

    Post Count: 523
    Likes Received:2
    you forgot about the $100 or more just for the honor of gracing their service bay ;)
    • Member

    CSBM5

    Post Count: 340
    Likes Received:3
    :confused::confused:
    • Member

    BMWCCA1

    Post Count: 404
    Likes Received:10
    Except he keeps praising the manual transmission's car performance in the same area and (jokingly) chastising the OP for not buying the manual-transmission version.

    Except there is no manual-transmission F10 528i offered in the U.S. Maybe next year when the base engine in the series is a 4-cylinder turbo that's quicker than the current I-6.
    • Member

    CSBM5

    Post Count: 340
    Likes Received:3
    I wasn't "praising" the MT performance in throttle tuning -- I was calling out BMW for their poor design practices which force people who buy an automatic to put up with substandard throttle programming. ;)

    ...and I see no evidence that I chastised the OP for not buying a manual. Reread my post#2 where I responded to him and then relate how that is chastising him? Perhaps taking your personal agenda to another forum would better suit this board?
    • Member

    BMWCCA1

    Post Count: 404
    Likes Received:10
    Everything has to be a p***ing match here. No wonder there's no new blood.

    I was only responding to the post that suggested you must know what you're talking about when in fact there is no manual-transmission version of the car the original poster was having a problem with. And a 2010 528i is a completely different animal than a 2011. That's all.

    I spend all day, every day, driving in new BMWs with prospective buyers. Most find the rather linear throttle curve of the normally aspirated BMW models fairly sluggish compared to other cars, particularly the Japanese luxury brands with their degrading curve that starts with aggressive tip-in and ends up with nothing left. I often have to demonstrate to them that selecting the BMW's sport mode in the transmission will increase the perception of more power caused by tip-in response.

    I prefer a linear throttle as much as you seem to, but the market apparently demands an aggressive tip-in to feel as quick as the competition, even though the BMW products are actually quicker (0-60mph). This is a claim often made when comparing the Lexus RX350 to the new 2011 BMW X3 when in fact the 28i version of the BMW is actually quicker than the larger-engined Lexus.

    That being said, compare other makes and you'll probably find the BMW throttle is actually less aggressive than most other brands. I have no customer complaints about throttle tip-in.

    Maybe Judo should bring the issue to his purchasing dealer to see if there's anything abnormal or an adjustment that can be made to accommodate their desire for smoother transition? Lot's of complaining about dealership service from us guys with old cars seems to be keeping folks with the new ones from even asking about simple fixes that might be available.

    [IMG]
    • Member

    DHENRY

    Post Count: 25
    Likes Received:0

    Well-put, BMWCCA1 !
    Own both, and you are SOOO right.
    Don
    • Member

    tiFreak

    Post Count: 523
    Likes Received:2
    dealers have high labor rates and many of them have no problem with charging you with them even if they've done barely any work
    • Member

    granthr

    Post Count: 1,583
    Likes Received:2
    I know the service manager at my local dealer quite well. He is very knowledgeable about these cars and is not just making appointments. I asked him about the HPFP and he just rolled his eyes and sighed. They have been one of his biggest headaches and was willing to talk about it. (mind you they also sell Toyotas! ) I should mention I don't have a twin turbo BMW.

    Regarding throttle response, if you can wait, get the Dinan stage I software when they finally make it for your car. My wifes 03 540iA Sport had poor throttle response when we got it. You had to push the throttle about 20 mm for the car to start to move, then in the next 2 mm if felt as if you floored it. Very disturbing trying to get it on ramps. :( So I got the Dinan software and it solved the problem. The throttle is completely linear now, like my old school cars with MT and drive by cable. :D:D
    • Member

    granthr

    Post Count: 1,583
    Likes Received:2
    One thing to keep in mind when comparing service rate between dealers and independents. Dealers are more expensive because of their capital expenditures which they are not entirely in control of. That big fancy building costs a lot to build and maintain. It is not always their choice to have a big fancy building. BMW like all auto manufactures demand from dealers a certain design and feel for the facilities. These standards are changed from time to time and updates are demanded otherwise BMW will hold back rebates which are key to profitability. Independents have no such demands placed upon them and therefore usually have much lower overhead, and thus can pass lower rates to you the consumer.! :D
    • Member

    CSBM5

    Post Count: 340
    Likes Received:3
    I'm glad that worked out for you so well. My friend with the 540iT and a bunch of the Dinan mods I originally asked about your question was pretty certain when he first got his 540i it had the stupid throttle programming, but he couldn't quite remember. Hence I was really hoping the Dinan tune would solve your issue. When I asked his wife about it recently, she sure remembered! They've both been track rats for years, etc, so she's well up on cars, etc, and she could not believe what a difference the Dinan tune made to the throttle response. Turned it into a real car as opposed to an American car circa 1975 (when after the huge impact on HP emissions regs had, American car makers created convoluted bell-crank mechanisms to create a highly non-linear throttle to make the ignorant believe the car was fast). :)

    DChaffins guest

    Post Count: 1
    Likes Received:0
    I am one of the unlucky ones who has this problem too. I have been complaining to my dealership since taking delivery of the car. I now have driven over 11,000 miles and it has ruined my experience with this car. When I press on the accelerator I have no idea how the car will behave so I am constantly monitoring how the car performs and my driving style. I shouldn't have to do this! This situation is even more disappointing since my '01 5 was perfect. One would expect the 2011 to drive better than a 10 year old car.

    What I don't understand is that there are others driving 2011 5's that say the transmission is extremely smooth. Mine is anything but. Since delivery of the car I have always felt the transmssion was the problem, or maybe the way the transmission responds to the engine. The jerk/hesitation is most noticeable at 0 to 20 mph, and especially troublesome in stop-and-go traffic. It is interesting that I had a BMW Field Rep ride with me a month ago. Before we left the dealership parking lot, he had already said that he felt the problem was with the throddle, not the transmssion. You should pull up the bimmerpost forum to read what others have posted.

    The dealership did perform a reset of the transmission adaptive drive features and there was an improvement. However, the improvement was only tempoary. Others have said they are resetting the adaptive features once everyother week. Are you kidding me? That is hardly a solution.

    I have asked the Field Rep to call me again tomorrow as I the car is behaving like before the reset. I will let you know what he says.

Share This Page