No car is perfect, but we've gathered everything relating to the BMW reliability here to help you decide if it's a smart buy.
How much does the Porsche Macan cost to maintain?
You’d think this would be a fairly simple question to answer, but in reality, it’s far from it. It seems neither BMW nor Porsche offer what we know as fixed or capped price servicing, that is; a known price that the service will cost, paid when you need to have it carried out. This is not uncommon with prestige brands and reflects the changing costs of imported service parts as well as different marketing approaches.
BMW, however, comes closest to this concept with what it calls its Service Inclusive Basic Plan which requires the car’s buyer to pay up front, typically for the first five years, of servicing when the car is purchased. That sounds odd, but it makes sense to buyers leasing their cars as the service costs are then paid for as part of the financing package.
In the case of the BMW X4, this package, which covers consumables such as filters, oil, spark plugs and brake fluid (but not clutches, brake pads and windscreen wipers; that’s another step up to the Service Inclusive Plus Plan) lasts for five years or 80,000km (whichever comes first) and works out to an average of $350 per service or a total of $1750 over the plan’s duration. Fundamentally, it’s like other car-makers’ capped-price servicing but you pay up front for it.
Meanwhile, at Porsche, the servicing costs for a Macan over the same 80,000km/five-year period will depend on what state you live in as labour rates vary from state to state. Since you’re from NSW, I’ll use the data from that state. As such, the Macan will need an annual service at one-year/15,000km costing $695. The next service at two years/30,000km is an intermediate service at $995, followed by another annual service at three years/45,000km ($695 again). The four-year/60,000km service is a major one costing $1750, followed by the five- year/75,000km service at $695 to end with. In total, that’s a grand total of $4830, making the Porsche by far the most expensive car to service for those first five years.
Genesis G90 - Any chance for Australia?
Both the existing Genesis G90 (and its closely related Kia K9 sedan) are flagship models not available in Australia due to the tiny pool of buyers that swim in the upper-luxury segment dominated by the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
The main stumbling block is probably the prohibitive cost of engineering these left-hand-drive market models for right-hand-drive. At over 5.2 metres long (and counting if you include the limo version), these are way too large for British roads, and the expected sales volumes from the rest of the right-hand-drive countries combined including Australia just doesn't make a viable business case for them.
Plus, big luxury SUVs are where the customers are heading, so a luxury crossover flagship from fledgling Genesis would make much more sense anyway. Sorry, but please don't hold your breath for a G90 in Australia any time soon.
However, the all-electric G80 – Genesis' big 5 Series-priced rival – is said to be heading Downunder inside the next 12 months. The EV limo is the brand’s first fully electric model and will have “more than 500km range” to take on the coming Mercedes-Benz EQS electric luxury flagship sedan.
BMW X8 - Will BMW build an SUV bigger than the X7?
With the Germans in particular hungry to mine every single niche – fanned by the flames of electrification and a hunger by the ever-growing number of global billionaires for the biggest and best – an 'uber, uber SUV' above the X7 will probably happen.
BMW is saying nothing of course, and we're only speculating here, but if it ever happens, it would almost certainly be electric or electrified, and may spawn a Rolls-Royce offshoot, since BMW owns that English brand.
So, nothing for now, but don't bet against an X8 or even X9. They're likely inevitable given enough time.
Should I buy an electric car now or later?
It’s definitely true that the march of new-car technology is making big changes to the cars we’re being offered almost on a monthly basis. So, if your current car is just three years old, it might be worth holding on to it and waiting for the next big thing to arrive in showrooms. Certainly, by trading-in at just three years, you’ll pretty much max out the depreciation you’ll suffer in financial terms.
But by waiting, you might find that you can buy an electric vehicle and be able to tap into newer and better infrastructure that will be in place in another few years, rather than put up with the relatively sparse charging-station network currently in this country.
At the moment, a hybrid or plug-in hybrid is a pretty good way to go, provided you use the vehicle mostly in an urban setting, rather than long-distance freeway journeys where the hybrid tech is less advantageous. A hybrid is not exactly future-proof, but it’s a good next step for a lot of Australian car-owners.
As for what brand is best, the tech is getting better and better as time goes by, so it’s likely to be build date rather than brand that will determine the efficiency of the vehicle in question. That said, car owners can’t hold off forever when it comes to upgrading, so for the moment, a hybrid or plug-in hybrid is a logical next car. We’re particularly impressed by the current-model Toyota Camry which is good value to buy, a classy driving experience and offers hybrid fuel efficiency in the right environment. Such cars will be a lot of Australian families’ first hybrid, and rightly so.
Read More: 10 best hybrid vehicles in Australia
BMW X5 diesel problems
Despite the price and BMW’s reputation, this series of X5 was not without its problems. Specific to the diesel-engined versions was a raft of things to watch out for when shopping for a second-hand X5. Those start with a poorly designed intake system which used small flaps in each inlet trat designed to create better air and fuel mixing and, therefore, more complete burning of the fuel. The problem was that these little flaps were secured by two screws each, and these could become loose and fall into the engine with catastrophic results. In some cases, the screws could even migrate into the turbocharger unit, destroying it.
Like many other brands of modern turbo-diesel, the X5 could also be afflicted by problems caused by a blocked Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF). If the vehicle was used for urban work rather than highway running, the DPF could become clogged and unable to regenerate itself. Any X5 diesel with a `Service Engine Soon’ light illuminated on the dashboard is a potential problem child.
The car’s exhaust gas recirculation valve could also leak, causing faults within the emissions-control system, while the electronics associated with the fuel injectors could also be damaged by water entering the engine compartment.
Beyond the diesel engine, the rest of the X5 package was not without problems, either. Those can include electronic issues, poor water sealing around the body, noisy suspension and problems with petrol-engined variants as well. Fundamentally, this was not BMW’s finest hour quality-wise. It’s also worth noting that even though the BMW brand is a German one, this generation of X5s was manufactured in South Carolina in the USA.
Should I buy a second hand 2012 BMW 328i imported from Germany?
That’s quite low mileage for a 2012 vehicle and, on the surface, suggests that it has led a pretty easy life. but you’d still only buy it if it is presented with a fully-stamped service book to prove that all the critical preventative maintenance has been carried out. These are complex, high performance cars and they won’t tolerate neglect in terms of skipped services.
The major mechanical problems with these cars were found in the engine’s variable valve timing (VANOS) system. Any 'Engine Malfunction' message or 'Check Engine' light in the dashboard could quite easily be caused by a fault in this system. The VANOS arrangement was also the first system to show the effects of poor servicing, so make sure it checks out before you hand over the cash. Fundamentally, though, these cars are not low-maintenance units, so make sure you budget for the necessary ongoing servicing.
Don’t forget, also, that this series of BMW was caught up in the Takata air-bag debacle. So make sure the car has been attended to as part of the global recall and don’t take a chance on any car with no proof of this air-bag replacement being carried out.
Would swapping 20-inch wheels for 18-inch wheels affect the handling and safety of my BMW X5?
Urban dwellers love the look of huge wheels and low-profile tyres, but their country cousins generally hate them. That’s because those some giant wheel and tyre packages make the car ride more harshly and the tyres themselves are more prone to damage because there’s less sidewall to soak up impacts.
Switching to an 18-inch wheel and a tyre with more sidewall would definitely make the car ride better, but it’s not always that simple. For a start, you might run into problems in a legal and insurance sense because you’ve suddenly modified the car. To get around that, you should stick to the smallest wheel and tyre package that the manufacturer specified for that vehicle. In the case of a current model BMW X5 that’s a 19-inch wheel and tyre. That’s going to give a better ride than the 20-inch items you currently have, but it won’t be as big an improvement as an 18-inch package. If, however, yours is not the current model X5, then previous models did, in fact, offer an 18-inch package.
Either way, check with your insurance company that you’re not transgressing at some pedantic level and check, too, that the smaller wheels won’t drastically alter the overall gearing and suddenly make your speedometer inaccurate.
As for handling and braking, the differences between an 18-inch and 20-inch wheel tyre package would only be felt on a race-track and not in everyday driving conditions. But the improvement to ride quality will be felt every time you drive the vehicle.
Why is the coolant system on my 2004 BMW 525i losing pressure?
Did you replace the coolant tank because the vehicle was losing coolant in the first place? If so, there’s a chance that even though the coolant tank is brand new, there could be a leak from somewhere else in the system (that’s allowing the system to lose pressure, as you’ve identified). Possibilities include the radiator itself or even a head gasket, not to mention any one of a number of plastic fittings that control the flow of coolant to the engine and the car’s heating system. But don’t rule out the simple stuff, either; even the humble radiator cap or loose hose-clamp can allow pressure to leak from a cooling system.
The problem with a lot of imported cars is that they tend to use lots of plastic components in their plumbing systems. As they age (and at 16 years old, your car is hardly in the first flush of youth) these fittings and couples become brittle and can begin to leak or even fall apart altogether. In colder climates, these plastic bits and pieces don’t present the same problems to the same degree, but here in Australia, our hot-climate heat-cycles are not appreciated by some makes and models. Combine that with a modern, pressurised cooling system, and you have yourself a problem.
Speedometer on 2008 BMW X3 moving when engine is off
It sounds like you have a problem with the signal from the car to the speedometer here. The speedometer needle creeping around to 2km/h when the car is standing still is likely to be a problem with the instrument’s calibration or the sensor that is supposed to measure the car’s speed.
The same goes for the speedo needle rising or falling on its own while you’re driving (I’ll assume it’s the needle `accelerating’ you refer to, not the actual car - at which point you have a death-trap on your hands). My money’s on the sensor which is – due to an incorrect battery voltage, a poor earth or an internal fault – sending the wrong signal to the computer that then controls the speedo needle. The problem could also be the speedometer unit itself which could have a bad actuator that is sending the needle haywire.
Do I need a roadworthy certificate if the car is still under warranty?
These rules and regulations vary from State to State, but the bottom line in Victoria is that, yes, you do need to provide a roadworthy when selling the car privately. Aside from a very small trailer and a range of road-going commercial and industrial equipment, the only vehicle in Victoria that doesn’t need a roadworthy certificate (RWC) as part of the change to new ownership is a brand-new vehicle. The definition of that is a vehicle that has never been registered in Australia before and has covered only kilometres involved in its sale and delivery to its first owner.
The factory warranty has nothing to do with RWC law as different makes and models have differing warranty periods. If you want to sell the vehicle privately without a roadworthy, you need to remove the number plates and hand them in to VicRoads on completion of the sale. The exception to that is if you sell the car to a licensed motor car trader, as the responsibility of gaining a RWC then falls to that business.