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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
54,628 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.

2011 BMW X5 drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2011 BMW X5 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #21

Jul 262016


  • 84,500 miles


At 84,500 miles, during front driveshaft recall service, the vehicle was diagnosed with a failed transfer case. Symptoms include vibration during acceleration, and turning.

- Woodbridge, CT, USA

problem #20

May 192016

X5 6-cyl

  • 68,000 miles
We were driving our 2011 BMW X5 on interstate 405 in bellevue Washington, going North bound with normal Thursday afternoon traffic when we felt a vibration coming from under the car. We were fortunate to pull to the shoulder quickly, and we heard a loud thud. This was found to be the front drive shaft breaking off at the forward universal joint. This is a huge safety concern for me and our family. We were lucky to drive along the shoulder having the rear drive shaft propel the car forward slowly to the exit, and into a service station. The destination we had was over 100 miles away, so we were fortunate this did not happen at high speeds on the two lane steven's pass highway 2. please see that BMW makes this a recall on the BMW X5 models manufactured during the period of 2011-2012. The manufacturer currently has this item as a "warranty" only- si B26 01 14. All damage cost was covered, which included replacement of the transfer case and the transmission due to contact or resulting effects. BMW has stated the part has a warranty for 10 years or 120,000mi. The drive shaft was inspected only 18,000 miles prior and was not replaced by BMW service. I do not feel BMW has taken enough consideration to the safety of drivers placed in dangerous situations when the front drive shaft is at risk of failure, despite a reasonable inspection interval of the part. There is no requirement interval for inspecting the front drive shaft. Please require that BMW change the X5 front drive shaft warranty to a recall for the safety of all drivers and passengers. Thank you [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Lacey, WA, USA

problem #19

Mar 132016


  • 68,300 miles
While traveling 70mph eb on interstate 10, biloxi, ms area, a sudden rumbling sound was heard coming from beneath the vehicle followed by a loud pop and severe banging and vibration. The vehicle immediately loss power and I was forced to maneuver through moderate high speed traffic in dangerous conditions to the side of the interstate. Once coming to a stop, further movement was not possible. The vehicle was towed approximately 50 miles to nearest BMW dealership in mobile, Alabama where the issue was diagnosed as a snapped driveshaft. BMW was aware of the potentially deadly driveshaft issue as I had received a letter extending the driveshaft warranty 5 months prior. They chose not to issue a recall but instead only issued a limited extended warranty on the driveshaft. Experiencing this failure at highway speeds has shown me that this failure had fatal potential. My vehicle had been checked and pronounced fit by a local BMW dealership 6 days prior to this incident......updated 06/23/16 *

- Alpharetta, GA, USA

problem #18

Feb 132016


  • 61,400 miles


The contact owns a 2011 BMW X5. The contact stated that while parked, the engine was running however, a large amount of coolant leaked onto the ground and the engine compartment. The oil reservoir melted onto the engine. There was no flame visible. In addition, the vehicle failed to shift out of the park position. The vehicle was towed to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the water pump would need to be replaced. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 11V521000 (engine and engine cooling). The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 61,400.

- Austell, GA, USA

problem #17

Feb 152016


  • 63,000 miles
Front drive shaft snapped on the highway almost causing me to crash and when it snapped destroyed the the transfer case and the transmission causing 8K worth of damage.

- Clayton, NJ, USA

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problem #16

Sep 132015


  • 74,000 miles
I was driving on a parkway in NY when I heard a terrible crunching metal noise and I immediately had to pull over. There was no shoulder except for a small grass area which was very dangerous on this particular parkway (saw mill pkwy southbound). I stayed inside the vehicle and called for help. Police arrived in about 30 minutes and had to come block off two lanes in order for the tow truck to safely pull us out of the area. After the car was towed, I posted on forums asking for help and received a document stating that BMW had issued an extended warranty, not a recall on this particular part. The part that failed was the front drive-shaft. Apparently many other people have had this part fail on the road causing an similarly dangerous situation yet the part has not been recalled. BMW paid for the repair and my expenses, but I felt as if I was in danger when the part failed and all others with this defective part should have it replaced prior to failure via a recall not an extended warranty. I have attached pictures of my failure as well as the document from BMW.

- Brooklyn, NY, USA

problem #15

Jun 022015


  • 55,000 miles


Severe acceleration delay from a stop pulling out into traffic nearly caused me to be broadsided. During the first 1/2 to 1 second after depressing the accelerator there is little to no reaction from the vehicle. After this pause, which is well beyond what could cause an accident, the vehicle surges uncontrollably. I found myself sideways on a wet paved road. My natural inclination after the pause was to press for more gas, any other reaction would have left me sitting in the middle of oncoming traffic. This complaint is well documented when researching BMW acceleration lag or throttle tip in on the internet. It is incredible that BMW would be able to allow such unsafe programing of their vehicles. This is sure to have caused accidents. I was lucky, others may not be.

- Norwalk, CT, USA

problem #14

Jun 142015


  • 63,000 miles
Traveling South on inside lane of 121 near grapevine, my X5 suddenly made a really loud noises from the front left side, started losing power, liquid was spewing behind me and smoke coming out from underneath. I pulled over and saw oil gushing from the bottom of my 2011 X5. I had my 8 month old infant and my wife in the car, had to rush them out of the infant seat to ensure car does not catch on fire. Spend 2 hours waiting for tow and in the end it ended up being an front driveshaft breaking puncturing an oil pan and cutting few hoses and lines. There is an active recall on that BMW for that exact issue...updated 07/30/15

- Lewisvlle, TX, USA

problem #13

May 092015


  • 79,000 miles
My vehicles purchased last year from BMW local dealer {jackie cooper imports] is equipped with 8- or 12-cylinder, turbocharged engines.the circuit board for the electric auxiliary water pump overheated. This lead to a smoldering of the pump and an engine compartment. BMW was supposed to notify owners, replace the auxiliary water pump, thermostat, and coolant reservoir free of charge. The two safety recalls related to this problem apparently did not include my vehicle. Ref NHTSA compaign recall #11V521000 and NHTSA compaign recall # 12V161000. I have logged a complaint about this with the dealership, and their recall resolution department in vain. I am being charged for parts and labor which I belief should be free a snoted by the two recalls.

- Oklahoma, OK, USA

problem #12

Mar 192015


  • 63,000 miles
U joint failure, driveshaft failure, hit oil pan and caused damage, then hit transmission and blew it out.

- Charleston, SC, USA

problem #11

Feb 242015


  • 74,450 miles


It feel like the car was vibrating while I was driving on the highway I took the exit so I can pull over and it started making clanking sound under the driver seat...when checked under the car drive shaft is missing screw as it came off and hitting the ground and car is not driveable...not sure what causes it. It could've killed us if I didn't exit as the highway was very busy and I am glad I pulled over. Reading on internet hong kong and europe have recall on this but I didn't see any recalls for this us...updated 06/01/16

- Puyallup, WA, USA

problem #10

Feb 052015

X5 6-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
Driveshaft ujoint failure. This appears to be a know issue. Dangerous situation while driving down the highway and driveshaft comes unattached.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #9

Sep 212013

X5 8-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
One year ago, made a left hand turn from complete stop, accelerating to 40 mph" maybe" when I heard an awful crunching noise, I stopped and saw my X5's drive shift dropped down some oil came out. The problem because the front drive shifts U-joint failures.

- Dover, NH, USA

problem #8

Sep 032014

X5 6-cyl

  • 78,000 miles
The car warning light came on as "reduced power". took the car into crevier BMW in santa ana. There is a recall on the vanos system for our car. We have had multiple problems before this as well. Last June, the engine oil housing unit was replaced. Now the problem points to the vanos on the diagnostic test done at the dealer. However, the dealer and BMW North America will not address the issues. Both keep telling us that the "parts are not available" and that there is a recall on the vehicle but will look into it only when or if the parts become available. Thus, for them to repair the issues right now, we would need to pay. This seems to be a scam and convenience on their part not to address the issues. I would ask NHTSA to please look into this type of practice and make BMW responsible and accountable to their customers. Thank you.

- Tustin, CA, USA

problem #7

May 082014

X5 6-cyl

  • 54,000 miles
My BMW X5 2011 started giving me light while I was driving power reduced engine malfunction and immediately after 10 min engine stopped while I was driving calling BMW for it but fortunately I was driving at 10-20 miles an hour very slow and was able to pull on side but it was horrible experience with my kids, wife whole family in car..........could have been terrible......very scared now....spending big money for BMW and only after 54000miles....such thing happening..its terrible.I imported this vehicle to Canada so don't have option below for Canada and zip code but still want to report this serious problem.....very important.

- Brampton, DE, USA

problem #6

May 052014


  • 70,000 miles
While accelerating to enter the highway, a loud pop occurred at approx. 35mph. The pop was followed by a loss of drive torque to the front axle. I began to immediately pull over and a second loud pop was heard followed by the sound of metal crashing to the ground. I experienced a complete loss of drive torque to the front axle and coasted to relative safety on the entrance of an exit ramp. Upon expecting the underside of the vehicle, I could see a separated front driveshaft, missing universal joint and the transfer case was touching the ground and there was a puddle of fluid directly underneath the car. There was a trail of fluid on the exit ramp leading to where I pulled over indicating that the fluid was leaking and eventually dumped completely when I pulled over. The vehicle was towed to the neared BMW dealership for service and diagnosis.

- Phoenix, AZ, USA

problem #5

Feb 122014

X5 6-cyl

  • 24,000 miles
My 2011 X5 35I has an acceleration delay. BMW has recognized it as an issue in the 535I models, calling it an "acceleration delay" and have issued an sib software update to repair it, but have not done so for the X5 model. I feel this issue is dangerous and a safety issue.

- Chicago, IL, USA

problem #4

Jun 122012

X5 6-cyl Diesel

  • 15,000 miles
Our 2011 BMW X5D (diesel) started having steering issues in Jun of 2012. Multiple repair attempts have been unsuccessful. Later it was involved in a low speed crash, injuring the driver in Dec 2012 due to a sudden loss of power steering. This was just months before issuing a recall for the identical problem although BMW identified problems before the initial problem was noticed. The vehicle still to this day has a problem with the sudden loss of power steering, difficult low speed maneuvers and unusual tire wear. We do have a recording of a BMW of North America master technician admitting to the problem that BMW refuses to correct. In fact BMW refuses to even perform work on our vehicle even though it's advertised as "no maintenance for 4years/50,000 miles" this is at any dealership we have gone to due to a note in the database from BMW of North America. Also vehicle service history has been fraudulently erased from their database and BMW refuses to further investigate the safety of this vehicle which was purchased new in 2010 and is still under full factory warranty. They insist the vehicle is safe to drive officially, while unofficially admitting that it is dangerous.

- Merritt Island, FL, USA

problem #3

Sep 192012


  • 30,932 miles
When drove it on a local street, the car suddenly made very loud noise without any sign. After car towed to BMW dealer, the engineer found the reason as describable as: "flywheel bolts are incorrect and not holding the flywheel tightly in place".

- Carmel, IN, USA

problem #2

Jun 072011


  • 6,000 miles
The contact owns a 2011 BMW X5. The contact observed excessive rust and corrosion within the fuel tank, exhaust system and the attaching components. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer, who stated that the owner would be responsible for the repair expenses. The vehicle was not repaired. On a separate occasion, the contact stated that smoke emitted from underneath the hood while driving. The vehicle was maneuvered to the side of the road and stopped. The contact examined the vehicle and stated that there was a substantial amount of oil loss in the reservoir. The contact then added more oil accordingly. The vehicle was towed to an authorized dealer, who refused to measure the oil manually per the consumers request, the manufacturer was notified of the failure and reimbursed the consumer for two days of motel, food and towing costs. Unable to locate a failure. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 6,000. Updated 3/11/13 BMW offered to buy the vehicle back, but later changed their mind. The case went to court, and the judge ruled the offer was not binding. The consumer also stated the vehicle would run hot, and the vehicle would not go into gear.

- Escondido, CA, USA

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