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X5 is Poorly Designed Junk

Discussion in 'E70 X5 (2007-2013)' started by Win22102, Jan 24, 2012.

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    I made the mistake of buying two 2011 X5 diesels (the 4th and 5th BMWs that I've owned). In my opinion, they have a major design flaw that is not covered by warrenty. The problem arose this way. I went through a fast food drive through. The attendant first handed me my change which I set on the center console in front of where the cup holders are, then handed me the drinks which I put in the cup holders, then handed me the food.

    Some of the change then slide down behind/around/under the center console. Now, everytime I turn, brake or accelerate the change can be heard rattling around inside the center console. I now avoid driving the X5 whenever I can.

    I went to the dealer to see about having the change removed. The dealer said they see this problem all the time, it is no covered by warrenty and costs $800 to address. Not suprisingly, I said they were nuts and will not pay $800 everytime something gets inside the console (which undoubtedly will happen again.)

    I asked if I could buy a manual so that I could do the job myself, but the dealer says I have to talk to BMWUSA. I contacted BMWUSA and they told me to talk to the dealer.

    The dealer said on the one hand that the problem is my problem because I should not have set the change there. (Where do you set your changes when it is handed to you?) At the same time, the dealer told me that they have to take the center consoles apart all the time to get change out. Common sense says that if you leave a space in the car for things to get inside of, then things will get into that space. What a money making scam for the dealers.

    I have started to look at other vehicles to replace the X5's with. None of the Mercedes, Audi or Porsche SUV have a console designed so that things can get inside. Only the poorly designed BMW. (Can you spell C L A S S A C T I O N? I can.)

    Does anyone have a manual, or know where to buy one or instructions on how to take the center console apart so I could do it myself? Or should I just give up on BMW's?
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    steven s

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    Typically Bentley Publishers publish service manuals but it takes them a few years on a new product.
    There is a subscription based service at http://www.bmwtechinfo.com/
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    Kinda reminds me of some of the other teeth-pulling efforts it took for BMW engineers to understand the U.S. market better, such as locking 4 of them in an E28 in Death Valley to experience first-hand the inadequacy of the stock air-conditioning system, or how long it took BMW to add cup-holders to their vehicles. I understand your frustration with such a design flaw and being in a situation where a presumably typical behavior has to be modified to something you're not used to, to avoid the issue. Change can be a nuisance if you don't have a handy pocket, or someplace easy for it. It's unfortunate that BMW did not anticipate the likelihood of such a problem, and how annoying in-cabin rattling and clattering from such a thing can be. I don't know that I could condemn the whole vehicle as being utterly worthless, some annoying change rattling in the console doesn't affect the car's functionality for slogging through bad driving conditions, or its crash-worthiness, for instance.

    http://www.ksby.com/player/?video_id=16056 (if you don't want to watch the first 90 seconds, pickup the story at the 50 second mark)

    (ok, so it wasn't an X5, but I think that's a reasonably good testament to both good fortune and BMW's safety engineering)

    I doubt there's anything conspiratorial about the design flaw on BMW's part with the purposeful intent of spurring dealer work & profits. I would be reasonably confident the dealership personnel would rather pursue other activities than resolving such a dumb issue repeatedly for undoubtedly irate owners, and are just charging whatever it takes to pull the center console apart. As for manuals, it's no surprise you get nowhere w/ BMW there - best bet for an answer are the various BMW-centered online forums. A Bentley manual would be helpful, but they don't have one yet for the current X5 series.

    I wouldn't suggest giving up on your X5's solely because of this issue, unless it's too much of a problem for you to overcome. I would, however, write a letter, perhaps with a picture or two illustrating the issue, complaining bitterly, to BMW NA. Unlikely to see a fix quickly though, the best I'd expect would be to see the problem addressed by BMW after at least a full year, and possibly not until some sort of mid-model update after a few years, or perhaps even not at all. The aftermarket for BMW's is reasonably pro-active however, it's possible somebody might design and sell a fix if they see enough of a market for it. Sorry I can't tell you how to pull the center console, not something I have any familiarity with or could tell you how to do. Hopefully someone will pipe up, though!

    Here's a procedure for an earlier model X5, maybe it might have some similarity to yours - http://www.xoutpost.com/articles/x5/interior/9450-removing-center-console-bmw-x5.html

    If the below pic is similar to your vehicle, I've labeled the center console areas that look like might be areas one might throw some change, including what I presume is an in-armrest storage area, although flipping up an armrest in the heat of the moment is obviously less than convenient. In what area are you losing the change, and are any of the other areas capable of containing change without it falling through and causing a problem? Or is it an issue of placing change on top of the sliding console cover and change sliding on that and causing the issue? Is a cup in the cupholder to hold some change an option, or some kind of container on the ledge in front of the NAV display? Around here, leaving change in view in a vehicle is an issue, people will smash windows causing hundreds of dollars of damage (or more) just to grab 57 cents worth of change - potential problem in your area as well, whereby easy concealment becomes an issue?

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    That was an E12. An E28 actually has an A/C system that works.

    Condemn your X5 because you dumped change in the ashtray? Why not use the big bin under the console armrest where you won't cause any trouble, or the door pocket and just enjoy the truck?
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    Oh, ... the humanity ...
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    @Win22102 I know you are upset about this and I would be too, but it seems just a little bit harsh to blame your mistake on the manufacturer. It is like blaming Starbucks for making coffee too hot and not ensuring liquid could ever spill from the cup or Stihl for making the chainsaw blade too sharp without a full protective cover to keep me from cutting myself. Take the other suggestions here, write BMWUSA, ask others for support, but calling this a completely poorly designed product, I think is a bit (actually way over the top) outrageous.

    @MGarrison your take is perfectly prescriptive and I love it. Instead of complaining what is wrong, make suggestions about what would make it right other than to "fix it". If you think that BMW is so blind to our needs, why is it even built in the US to begin with and tested rigourously on our soil instead of in Germany? Think aobut the positives of having the XUV's designed and built here.

    @CRKrieger, thank you for pointing out the obvious.

    Finally, my last rant about this post and an obvious issue in our country. Drive through's are costly, ruining our ability to communicate with others and creating laziness. Most times, going in is faster than driving through. It is also known to take less gas to park and walk in than to sit thorugh a drive through (funny they call them drive through's as much as you stay still in them). Park the car and walk in. You just might run into someone, strike up a friendly conversation and make someone else's day. Just try it.
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    I'm told that change rolling about within the X5 console can be aggravating indeed. If someone was adventurous, he or she could remove the plastic trim piece that surrounds the iDrive controller and shift lever, then remove the shift lever module by unscrewing four torx bolts, then remove the coin or coins from the plastic channel in which they have taken up residence. I have it on good authority that it is about a five or ten minute job, with the biggest trick being prying up the trim piece without scratching or breaking anything. Naturally, I would not recommend performing such work on a vehicle still under warranty (pardon me while I remove my tongue from my cheek):D, and I would add that all advice given here is fictitious; any resemblance to real X5s, living or dead, (especially those currently in my garage) is purely coincidental.:rolleyes:
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    I have the same issue with my 2011 X5... Was only mildly annoying until I read this post... Now will probably obsess about it! Oh well... W

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