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      01-06-2015, 09:59 PM   #1
Markus2003
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Anyone notice that BMW quality has gone down over the past decade?

Hi everyone!

I thought I'd just start a discussion about BMW quality over the last decade.

My first BMW was an e46 330ci. That car was a tank, drove the hell out of it for close to 6 years without one single issue. The build quality was solid, and driving it through 5 tough Canadian winters was a true testament to its solidity.

My current 335i xdrive is 2 years old, with less than 18000 km on it and I feel that the quality is not the same. The door is lighter, there are more rattling noises and the car has had minor problems with less mileage than my e46.

In between the two cars, I've owned a 996 C4S and C63 AMG and both cars were well built without any issues.

Is it me or has BMW taken a different strategy/direction with their cars?
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      01-06-2015, 10:12 PM   #2
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Let's see:
1) E46 window regulators were for s$%^. E9x & F3x don't break every-other-month.
2) Both auto transmissions on the E46 were known weak spots - reverse drum on one and fast idle on the other, etc. The ZF 6hp19 and 8hp don't break.
3) The cooling systems on the M52/M54 broke all the time, and breakage was likely to trash the engine. Doesn't happen on the newer cars because they speed up the fan, go into limp mode, shut down. Still have to replace the silly water pump however.
4) The M54 was a notorious oil consumption engine (usually due to rings or valve guides, or the very notorious CVV problems.) Doesn't happen on N52/N54/N55.
5) Early iDrive was very unfriendly. Modern ones are the best in the business (unless you believe Audi and Mercedes-Benz advertising.)

I can go on, but I'd like to ask you why you believe the E46 has higher quality than E9x and F3x. Remember, *YOUR* experiences are not really relevant; only the averages.
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      01-06-2015, 10:17 PM   #3
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Build quality as definitely gone to hell. My E39 went 6 years before it started rattling. Sure the cooling system was garbage, the interior door handles were cheap, but at least it didn't rattle. My F34 rattles with under 200 miles on it.

Mechanical issues I can deal with. Stuff is gonna fail when it gets used. Squeaks and rattles I cannot deal with, especially on a new car. That just shows blatant cost cutting and not giving a damn.
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      01-06-2015, 10:20 PM   #4
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Add the e46 front control arm bushings, Alpine stereo volume knob and the door panel handle that would peel.

Every car has its issues.
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      01-06-2015, 10:20 PM   #5
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You want to compare a Porsche and an AMG to a 3er? Don't you think there's a discrepancy in price points?

I too came into an F30 after owning an E46. Driving it for ten years, I learned a lot about the car, and feel it was a well-built machine. I feel the same way about my new 335i. There are differences between the two cars, but the sports sedan market has changed and so have the buyers of these cars.

It's hard to believe NOTHING failed on your E46. Two of the first things to go were my water pump and thermostat around 48,000 miles. Bushings and a battery followed shortly after that same year. These aren't Toyota Camrys. Plus, any problems you encounter this early are probably covered by the warranty.

BMW has to keep up with market trends, and create new markets where possible. "Innovate or die", so to speak. My F30 is just as confidence-inspiring as my old 3er and does everything a little bit better. My doors feel just fine, thank you.
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      01-06-2015, 10:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_L
Build quality as definitely gone to hell. My E39 went 6 years before it started rattling. Sure the cooling system was garbage, the interior door handles were cheap, but at least it didn't rattle. My F34 rattles with under 200 miles on it.

Mechanical issues I can deal with. Stuff is gonna fail when it gets used. Squeaks and rattles I cannot deal with, especially on a new car. That just shows blatant cost cutting and not giving a damn.
Take it back to the dealer and leave it there until the problems are resolved. Complaining here isn't going to remedy your problems.

At this price point, everything better be perfect during the warranty years or the car is going to be up the Service Advisor's ass until I'm satisfied.
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      01-06-2015, 10:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floydarogers
Let's see:
1) E46 window regulators were for s$%^. E9x & F3x don't break every-other-month.
2) Both auto transmissions on the E46 were known weak spots - reverse drum on one and fast idle on the other, etc. The ZF 6hp19 and 8hp don't break.
3) The cooling systems on the M52/M54 broke all the time, and breakage was likely to trash the engine. Doesn't happen on the newer cars because they speed up the fan, go into limp mode, shut down. Still have to replace the silly water pump however.
4) The M54 was a notorious oil consumption engine (usually due to rings or valve guides, or the very notorious CVV problems.) Doesn't happen on N52/N54/N55.
5) Early iDrive was very unfriendly. Modern ones are the best in the business (unless you believe Audi and Mercedes-Benz advertising.)

I can go on, but I'd like to ask you why you believe the E46 has higher quality than E9x and F3x. Remember, *YOUR* experiences are not really relevant; only the averages.
+9000
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      01-06-2015, 10:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golden Arrow View Post
Take it back to the dealer and leave it there until the problems are resolved. Complaining here isn't going to remedy your problems.

At this price point, everything better be perfect during the warranty years or the car is going to be up the Service Advisor's ass until I'm satisfied.
Dealer always give the "cannot replicate" excuse. They're in a nicer neighborhood than me, so their roads are better.
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      01-06-2015, 10:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floydarogers View Post
Let's see:
1) E46 window regulators were for s$%^. E9x & F3x don't break every-other-month.
2) Both auto transmissions on the E46 were known weak spots - reverse drum on one and fast idle on the other, etc. The ZF 6hp19 and 8hp don't break.
3) The cooling systems on the M52/M54 broke all the time, and breakage was likely to trash the engine. Doesn't happen on the newer cars because they speed up the fan, go into limp mode, shut down. Still have to replace the silly water pump however.
4) The M54 was a notorious oil consumption engine (usually due to rings or valve guides, or the very notorious CVV problems.) Doesn't happen on N52/N54/N55.
5) Early iDrive was very unfriendly. Modern ones are the best in the business (unless you believe Audi and Mercedes-Benz advertising.)

I can go on, but I'd like to ask you why you believe the E46 has higher quality than E9x and F3x. Remember, *YOUR* experiences are not really relevant; only the averages.
+9001

I will add: The coil pack recall. The oil level sensor that would fail. Yes the E46/E39 had an oil level sensor. Rear sub-frame failure (E46). Snapped head or valve cover bolts on the N52 (e90 330/325).

Last edited by F32Fleet; 01-07-2015 at 08:16 AM.
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      01-06-2015, 10:39 PM   #10
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The F30 hasn't had enough years or miles under it's belt to be a proven platform. Quality =! reliability/durability. My opinion is the F30 will be no better than the previous generations. With the N20, it may even be worse judging from some of the failures I've read about. The N55 seems to be more robust.

My opinion is that the increases in technology and electrical complexity from E90 -> F30 will only serve to increase failure points.

Overall, I think the F30 will be just as mediocre in terms of reliability as the previous generation. But FWIW, my E90 has had zero failures in 100k miles. My E36 rattled to death and was more problematic though.
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      01-06-2015, 10:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Markus2003 View Post
Hi everyone!

I thought I'd just start a discussion about BMW quality over the last decade.

My first BMW was an e46 330ci. That car was a tank, drove the hell out of it for close to 6 years without one single issue. The build quality was solid, and driving it through 5 tough Canadian winters was a true testament to its solidity.

My current 335i xdrive is 2 years old, with less than 18000 km on it and I feel that the quality is not the same. The door is lighter, there are more rattling noises and the car has had minor problems with less mileage than my e46.

In between the two cars, I've owned a 996 C4S and C63 AMG and both cars were well built without any issues.

Is it me or has BMW taken a different strategy/direction with their cars?

My 2014 328i is my fourth and most trouble-free BMW. I have 18,000 miles and not a single issue of any kind. While I loved the two E39's I had, they both had the same recurring problems that are well documented on the E39 forums, such as radiator fails, expansion tank fails, broken cup holders, valley pan leaks, window switches, pixels failing on the dash, pixels failing on the center display.

I think we all remember our past cars fondly if we liked the car as a whole. But looking back, these were nagging issues. I had a 97 540 and a 03 540. Both cars had the same issues! BMW had 6 years to get it right and they choose not to. Pixels and cup holders are one thing. For BMW to continue to spec a radiator that had the same weak point for 6 years and not do anything about it was horrible. Few things will stop your car and the radiator is one of them.

So, to answer your question, I don't think build quality has gone downhill on the cars I have owned. Others may have a different experience.
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      01-06-2015, 10:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_L View Post
Build quality as definitely gone to hell. My E39 went 6 years before it started rattling. Sure the cooling system was garbage, the interior door handles were cheap, but at least it didn't rattle. My F34 rattles with under 200 miles on it.

Mechanical issues I can deal with. Stuff is gonna fail when it gets used. Squeaks and rattles I cannot deal with, especially on a new car. That just shows blatant cost cutting and not giving a damn.

You were really lucky if you had a E39 for 6 years with no problems. While generally considered a great car, the E39 had many, well documented issues. I had two E39s and have about 200,000 miles of driving in them. I loved the cars but my experience with quality issues matched all the complaints on the E39 forums. If you didn't have issues, consider yourself lucky.

I'm must be lucky with my F30. 18,000 miles so far and not a single issue of any kind.

I hope you can get your rattle resolved and you can enjoy your new car.
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      01-06-2015, 10:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sygazelle View Post
You were really lucky if you had a E39 for 6 years with no problems. While generally considered a great car, the E39 had many, well documented issues. I had two E39s and have about 200,000 miles of driving in them. I loved the cars but my experience with quality issues matched all the complaints on the E39 forums. If you didn't have issues, consider yourself lucky.

I'm must be lucky with my F30. 18,000 miles so far and not a single issue of any kind.

I hope you can get your rattle resolved and you can enjoy your new car.
I would hope that a new F30 with only 18,000 miles has no issues versus a nearly 20 year old E39 with 100K+ on a rather problematic M62.
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      01-06-2015, 10:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sygazelle View Post
You were really lucky if you had a E39 for 6 years with no problems. While generally considered a great car, the E39 had many, well documented issues. I had two E39s and have about 200,000 miles of driving in them. I loved the cars but my experience with quality issues matched all the complaints on the E39 forums. If you didn't have issues, consider yourself lucky.

I'm must be lucky with my F30. 18,000 miles so far and not a single issue of any kind.

I hope you can get your rattle resolved and you can enjoy your new car.
Oh, it had problems. But they were mechanical. I replaced the whole cooling system on that car with all aluminum parts. Valve cover gaskets, valley pan gasket, interior door handles multiple times, MAF, etc. And thats not even counting the Dinan stuff. But it didn't rattle. And every car I've owned since has rattled like crazy, regardless of who made it.
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      01-06-2015, 10:50 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_L
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golden Arrow View Post
Take it back to the dealer and leave it there until the problems are resolved. Complaining here isn't going to remedy your problems.

At this price point, everything better be perfect during the warranty years or the car is going to be up the Service Advisor's ass until I'm satisfied.
Dealer always give the "cannot replicate" excuse. They're in a nicer neighborhood than me, so their roads are better.
Keep the guy in the car with you and take him for a ride. I know a guy whose Subaru made a buzzing noise that the dealer "couldn't replicate." He bought a GoPro and kept it recording every time he got in the car and compiled footage.
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      01-06-2015, 10:56 PM   #16
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I feel like the f30 is quite well built and is engineered really well! Also someone up there has said that the N20 has more documented problems? I have yet to see more than a handful of posts regarding the N20 failing or going limp. Im not sure where he is getting that fact from but having been on this forum for two years i dont see this being the case.
The only thing i would say seems a little cheap is the door and trunk thud when closing. Its not as heavy or satisfying as my audi.
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      01-06-2015, 11:02 PM   #17
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Oh No how dare you.

Sincerely

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      01-06-2015, 11:22 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by openwheelracing View Post
Oh No how dare you.

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      01-06-2015, 11:37 PM   #19
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The build quality def gone down with the new F series, you are not the only one that feels that way. I wonder if a German build will have the same quality as a SA build, people will probably say it's the same, but is it really? Just saying...
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      01-07-2015, 12:19 AM   #20
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I feel that the grass is greener on the other side type of deal here and in retrospect cars can seem better than they really were. Get your F30 to the same mileage and time and then you can access actual quality.

Last edited by Labeef; 01-13-2015 at 01:32 AM.
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      01-07-2015, 12:30 AM   #21
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Let me see what we have here:

My F30 rattles so all F30s are crap.
I drove a previous generation and/or a different model BMW and it was problem free and my current F30 has rattles and therefore the F30 is crap.
Cars worth 2 to 3X an F30 are better than an F30 therefore the F30 is crap.

Yeah, sounds reasonable.
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      01-07-2015, 12:39 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by floydarogers View Post
Let's see:
1) E46 window regulators were for s$%^. E9x & F3x don't break every-other-month.
2) Both auto transmissions on the E46 were known weak spots - reverse drum on one and fast idle on the other, etc. The ZF 6hp19 and 8hp don't break.
3) The cooling systems on the M52/M54 broke all the time, and breakage was likely to trash the engine. Doesn't happen on the newer cars because they speed up the fan, go into limp mode, shut down. Still have to replace the silly water pump however.
4) The M54 was a notorious oil consumption engine (usually due to rings or valve guides, or the very notorious CVV problems.) Doesn't happen on N52/N54/N55.
5) Early iDrive was very unfriendly. Modern ones are the best in the business (unless you believe Audi and Mercedes-Benz advertising.)

I can go on, but I'd like to ask you why you believe the E46 has higher quality than E9x and F3x. Remember, *YOUR* experiences are not really relevant; only the averages.
Don't forget the infamous rear subframe mounts that would break. Plastic impellers on the water pumps, plastic radiator necks, those would break requiring replacement of the entire water pump and radiator respectively. a/c was also pretty weak, although mine never broke. Speakers used to buzz, I think some people used to stuff foam and such in them to stop the buzzing. Stupid key memory for seat settings never worked, I just had the dealer disable it. Never could tell the difference between faster and slower settings for the intermittent wipers and always suspected it was a placebo switch. Little sunroof clips would break requiring expense removal and replacement of the sunroof mount. My sunroof shade somehow broke once too, resulting in my SA giving me this sage advice, "Don't use the sunroof shade".

My E46 also was much louder at highway speeds than my F30. As a previous owner of an E36 and E46 I can't say that I agree with all the various "good old days when quality was better" posts I see.
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