Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.

8.7

pretty bad
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
2,964 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2009 BMW M3 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2009 BMW M3 Owner Comments

problem #20

Aug 182010

M3

  • 2,500 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

To whom it may concern, I am very happy to see your organization taking an interest in this issue. It is a very dangerous problem with this vehicle that bmwna is well aware of, but insists that it is "normal behavior" for my car/transmission. I brought the car into the dealer, and they were able to reproduce it, but they were told by BMW that this was "normal behavior." The problem occurs when you slow down- like for a turn, but do not come to a complete stop. The dct transmission seems to have trouble figuring out what gear to select because when you step on the gas to accelerate, there is a very significant delay in the onset of power- up to 2-3 seconds. By this time, the driver is usually really digging into the throttle. The transmission finally picks a gear, which results in the car suddenly lurching forward, sometimes invoking the anti-skip control. The danger in this behavior occurs when making a turn into on-coming traffic after slowing down to around 10-15 mph. After the turn, the car is positioned in the traffic lane, but you have no power to accelerate into the flow of traffic. The oncoming cars are now closing in on your car at a fast rate, and you're basically stuck. This situation is most pronounced in the "auto" mode of the dct transmission, but also occurs to a lesser degree while in the manual mode when you select second gear in preparation for the turn. It is also very repeatable in both modes. These problems started occurring after a previous recall on this transmission where the engine would stall under hard braking or not shift under hard braking. The recall fixed that problem, but introduced this problem, which occurs almost every day whereas the previous problem only occurred during a specific situation. Thank you for looking into this dangerous matter.

- Savannah, GA, USA

problem #19

May 262010

M3

  • 5,600 miles
Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6) dear [xxx], I am very happy to see your oranization taking an interest in this issue. It is a very dangerous problem with this vehicle that bmwna is well aware of, but insists that it is "normal behavior" for my car/transmission. I brought the car into the dealer, and they were able to reproduce it, but they were told by BMW that this was "normal behavior." The problem occurs when you slow down- like for a turn, but do not come to a complete stop. The dct transmission seems to have trouble figuring out what gear to select because when you step on the gas to accelerate, there is a very significant delay in the onset of power- up to 2-3 seconds. By this time, the driver is usually really digging into the throttle. The transmission finally picks a gear, which results in the car suddenly lurching forward, sometimes invoking the anti-skip control. The danger in this behavior occurs when making a turn into on-coming traffic after slowing down to around 10-15 mph. After the turn, the car is positioned in the traffic lane, but you have no power to accelerate into the flow of traffic. The oncoming cars are now closing in on your car at a fast rate, and you're basically stuck. This situation is most pronounced in the "auto" mode of the dct transmission, but also occurs to a lesser degree while in the manual mode when you select second gear in preparation for the turn. It is also very repeatable in both modes. These problems started occuring after a previous recall on this transmission where the engine would stall under hard braking or not shift under hard braking. The recall fixed that problem, but introduced this problem, which occurs almost every day whereas the previous problem only occured during a specific situation. Thank you for looking into this dangerous matter.

- Hayward, CA, USA

problem #18

Feb 202010

M3

  • 2,258 miles
With the dual clutch automatic transmission in D mode, when slowing from 50 or 60 mph to 15-20 mph the transmission will not downshift and stays in 6th or 7th gear. Even with the accelerator to the floor the car will not select an appropriate gear which makes the car barely accelerate at all creating a safety hazard. This car has little to no torque (by design) at very low rpms, and it basically just sits there and doesn't move. A driver often slows like this when making a left or right hand turn and having the car just sit there under those conditions presents a huge safety issue in terms of being either rear-ended or being hit by oncoming traffic. The entire nature of the automatic program on this car is unpredictable; in some cases it will downshift, in others (as described above) it will not, which adds to the unsafe nature of this defect. It does not behave like any automatic transmission I've ever owned. The software controlling the transmission was updated in December 2009. Prior to that, in either manual or automatic mode the car would downshift into a lower gear, but there was a 1-2 second pause before any power was delivered (the engine would not "go" even accelerator to the floor). This issue hasn't recurred, but the situation is still not rectified (as noted in the description above) as the "new" issue with failing to downshift in D modes has surfaced.

- Folsom, CA, USA

problem #17

Feb 212010

M3

  • 12,011 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

1. when slowing down for a red light that turns green, then trying to accelerate before actually stopping, the car hesitates or lags. Could get rear-ended or T-boned if turning in an intersection. Someone is going to get killed due to this ongoing, ignored, serious safety flaw. 2. can routinely reproduce this hesitation/lag. 3. BMW refuses to resolve the problem and has told it's dealers it is a normal response.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #16

May 302009

M3

  • 15 miles
2009 BMW M3 with dct - issue present from the date of purchase. The problem occurs frequently when in automatic mode and slowing such as at an intersection prior to a turn and the transmission shifts into the lower gear (usually 2nd). When the accelerator is pressed, there is often no response for up to 2 seconds. When the vehicle does respond, the application of power may be gradual and not directly proportional to the accelerator pedal position. On several occasions, this has resulted in a near-accident situation. When making a left turn with oncoming traffic, or merging right with traffic that is making a left turn, I have had to take emergency action to avoid collision. It is only a matter of time, until someone is injured or worse when the vehicle fails to respond as expected. There are numerous complaints of this issue in the net discussion boards, yet BMW North America has issued a statement claiming that it is normal transmission behavior. There is a safety issue when your vehicle fails to respond in a reliable/timely manner in real traffic situations.

- Redlands, CA, USA

problem #15

Aug 032009

M3

  • 7,000 miles
The dual clutch transmission (dct) in my car, a 2009 BMW M3 routinely hesitates when pushing the accelerator in 2nd gear. The hesitation is long enough to have put me and my passengers in grave danger. In fact, it has almost caused a number of accidents when merging with highway traffic. This is unacceptable and needs to be immediately corrected before someone is seriously injured or killed.

- Lakeway, TX, USA

problem #14

Jul 172009

M3

  • 3,000 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

Hello, I recently purchased a 2009 BMW M3 with the dct transmission. The transmission acts like a sequential manual shifter, allowing the driver to shift up and down at their will. These shifts happen instantaneously, within fractions of a second. Additionally, when coming to a stop, the car will downshift to 1st gear on its own, instead of relying on driver input, as a matter of convenience. All of this is normal, advertised, and expected behavior. There are times, however, when the car is decelerating but not coming to a full stop (when taking a turn at an intersection, for example), that the transmission will begin its automated downshifts but then become incredibly unresponsive. In these cases, if I press on the accelerator before coming to a full stop, I'll notice a significant lag before the engine actually revs up. Basically, pressing on the gas won't do anything -- the transmission is ostensibly "deciding" which gear is the optimal one and will ignore all manual gear changes and gas pedal input until it makes up its mind. At times, this lag has lasted as long as 2-3 seconds. This lag is bothersome, at times dangerous, and alarmingly, was not as noticeably bad when I first purchased the car a few months ago. This behavior occurs on a daily basis, and can be reproduced at will. Incidentally, this lag doesn't happen if I manually downshift through the gears to 3rd, 2nd, or 1st rather than letting the car perform the downshifts for me.

- Manhattan Beach, CA, USA

problem #13

Jul 052009

M3

  • 200 miles
The problem occurs when you slow down- like for a turn, but do not come to a complete stop. The dct transmission seems to have trouble figuring out what gear to select because when you step on the gas to accelerate, there is a very significant delay in the onset of power- up to 2-3 seconds. By this time, the driver is usually really digging into the throttle. The transmission finally picks a gear, which results in the car suddenly lurching forward, sometimes invoking the anti-skid control. The occurs frequently.

- Miller Place, NY, USA

problem #12

Jan 012009

M3

  • 7,000 miles
M-dct transmission lag. When you're turning and cars may be coming at you there is no power, causing serious endangerment.

- Williston Park, NY, USA

problem #11

Jan 152009

M3

  • 11 miles
This complaint is for a 2009 BMW M3 coupe with the dual-clutch transmission (dct). I am experiencing major shift lag trying to reaccelerate after slowing down. Basically, the 2nd gear will fail to catch / engage when I put my foot on the gas pedal causing the car stall for a second or two. After that, the gear will engage abruptly and I will be pulled violently forward. This has resulted in several near-accident situations: 1. I almost rear-ended someone when the gear engaged abruptly with the car jerking forward at a stop light when it turned green as I was approaching, slowing down to 2nd gear. 2. I was almost T-boned at a non-regulated intersection. I was slowing down when approaching the intersection. The car downshifted to 2nd gear for me and about 1/4 way into the intersection, I saw a vehicle speeding down towards the intersection on my left. I tried to accelerate to get out of the intersection but the transmission failed to engage for a full 2 seconds. I barely missed the vehicle T-boning into my car. There is no apparent events that have led up to the failure. The car behaves like that on the first day I bought it. This failure would happen every time I leave the car in automatic mode, so that the car's computer will downshift for me. I already brought the car to the dealership twice complaining about the issue and the potential safety ramifications, but the dealership's service department claimed that BMW North America has issued a statement claiming that it is normal transmission behavior and there is nothing that they can do to correct it. Obviously, this is a major safety concern for me and I am astonished that BMW will not do anything to rectify its problem.

- Seattle, WA, USA

problem #10

May 252009

M3

  • 7,518 miles

A D V E R T I S E M E N T S

2009 BMW M3 dct (dual clutch transmission) exhibits a serious lag/hesitation when trying to accelerate from a rapid rolling stop. When this issue occurs in an intersection or at a stop light, a serious safety issue exists of being T-boned or slammed in the rear. When reported to BMW they claim it "works as designed". guess someone needs to be seriously injured or killed before BMW will resolve this issue.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #9

May 202009

M3

  • 3,400 miles
Slowing down at an intersection to make a left turn. Decelerated to about 3 mph. Accelerated to initiate the turn. Transmission failed and car did not accelerate. About 1.5-2 second lag time before the transmission actually engaged. Almost got hit by an oncoming car.

- Fullerton, CA, USA

problem #8

Apr 292009

M3

  • 1,150 miles
On my 2009 BMW M3 with dct transmission, there is a noticeable lag after braking when you try to accelerate while in automatic(D). This is especially dangerous when trying to pull out of an intersection. The car has no power and sits there like it's thinking. Someone is going to get hurt. BMW needs to get a fix to this software glitch.

- Broomfield, CO, USA

problem #7

Mar 012009

M3

  • 10 miles
My 2009 BMW M3 with a dct transmission lags between 1st and 2nd gear. When you push on the accelerator the car does not go for at least 2 seconds, then it shoots forward. I have complained to BMW but they say this is normal. This occurs all the time when I am slowing down and the car is down shifting.

- Glen Burnie, MD, USA

problem #6

Apr 142009

M3

  • 1,210 miles
The BMW M3 with dct transmission exhibits a dangerous acceleration lag in second gear. Specifically, when coasting at low speed in second gear, close to one full second will elapse once the accelerator pedal is depressed before the transmission actually engages and the car begins to accelerate. This makes merging into traffic, or any situation requiring quick power application, difficult and potentially dangerous.

- Austin, TX, USA

problem #5

Mar 162009

M3

  • 1,500 miles
Summary: Power application lag in 2nd gear with M3 dual clutch transmission. Specific incident: While rolling in 2nd with about 1500rpm I was trying to merge onto traffic from a merging right lane that was ending shortly. After I thought it was safe to accelerate, I did so, but the engine did not produce power for the next 0.5 second. After power kicked in, it was no longer safe to continue as the oncoming car was closer than I had calculated before attempting to accelerate. Also, power kicked in as I would expect it to happen 0.5 second ago. To avoid an accident, I had to break abruptly causing the belts to lock and my wife considerable discomfort. Good thing no one was behind me expecting me to accelerate. The occurrence of the lag is prevalent where the system is not sure whether the driver wants to break or accelerate. I believe it needs attention by BMW and appropriate reprogramming of the transmission control system.

- San Jose, CA, USA

problem #4

Apr 022009

M3

  • 1,500 miles
When transmission downshifts to 2nd gear, sudden and complete loss of power when turning. Happens with dct transmission with latest software. Many similar complaints on BMW message boards, and BMW is basically ignoring us.

- Roswell, GA, USA

problem #3

Apr 012009

M3

  • 1,500 miles
I own a 2009 BMW M3. It has the mdct transmission. There is a delay when coming to a rolling stop and then trying to accelerate again. The delay occurs when pushing the accelerator and when the engine/transmission actually engages and moves forward. The delay is as long as 1-1.5 seconds. This has nearly caused several accidents. BMW says this is normal behavior, but I don't believe it to be the case. It seems like the transmission doesn't downshift at lower speeds. In fact, only "thinking" and proceeding to downshift after the accelerator is applied. By then, it's too late. As a driver, you expect forward momentum as soon as the accelerator is applied... not that it down shifts at that point. Plus, the reading display suggests it is in fact downshifted to 2nd gear... but I assure you, that's not the point. This happens every time the scenario is mentioned. Say coming from 35 mph or higher so the vehicle is in a higher gear (5 or 6) and then you slow to say 10 mph and then try to accelerate.... say in stop and go traffic.

- Puyallup, WA, USA

problem #2

Feb 092009

M3

  • 100 miles
This occurs regularly, perhaps 10 times per week or more depending on severity. On deceleration, the transmission will disengage the driveline. When the throttle is depressed again to accelerate, there is a long delay (greater than 1 second). This occurs at slow speeds (less than 20 mph), for example when entering a left turn lane with oncoming traffic. I had this behavior duplicated for a BMW technician who, upon further research, indicated that BMW was aware of this issue and has declared it "normal operation". it is only a matter of time before a serious accident is caused by this issue.

- Oswego, NY, USA

problem #1

Feb 062009

M3

  • 1,800 miles
My 09 BMW M3 with dct is exhibiting gear shifting slowness and power lagging problems after hard braking. The most recent incident was a near rear end collision today that required me to brake hard from 70mph, to 40, switch lanes and accelerate to avoid being hit by approaching traffic from behind. When I attempted to accelerate, the car did not respond for what seemed like a couple seconds. The lag was long enough that the car behind me was forced to leave the road to avoid hitting me.

- Austin, TX, USA

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