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Don't buy a new model BMW
- Subject: Don't buy a new model BMW
- From: Ben Barkow <dr.ben@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun, 28 Aug 2005 10:14:12 -0400
I had the magnificent Guggenheim-laureate R69s. It was #62 off the line
and over 34 yrs of ownership I was able to come face to face many
important improvements made by The Factory over the 8-plus yr model
lifetime. Many of these changes were corrections to serious mistakes
like flexing crankshafts, absence of breather on rear end (after 30
years making rear-ends, who wudda thunk....), and the quiki-snap-off
jug flanges. So the good news is that BMW are committed to debugging.
But the bad news is... read on.
Consumer's Union (publisher of Consumer Reports) records what they are
calling "average problem rates" (not sure exactly what that is) for car
manufacturers. On page 16, Oct 2005, they have a chart showing 17
manufacturers. The average problem count for new models is 42 problems,
declining to 30 in the second year of the model and then 25 for the
Honda is best with 20 for first. second, and third yr models. If you
are real low, hard to improve your stats and there is some residual
differences of opinion about problems.
BMW is LAST on the list, with 78 problems for first yr models, barely
declining to about 70 for second yr models and to 32 for third yr
models (takes BMW 3 yrs to begin to wise up??). Sure sounds like buying
a new-model BMW car is a really bad idea.
It may be that BMW engineers are more committed to introducing SOTA
changes but I don't think much more so than Honda. Any why not sell new
models at a big "guinea pig" discount? it is also possible but unlikely
that the engineers and/or management over at 'rad is altogether
Well, I guess it is fair to say that BMW often have buggy new models
but maybe I was wrong in thinking they are so committed to debugging.
This news will be puzzling to those of an authoritarian outlook in life
who believe engineers, ESPECIALLY BMW engineers are Perfect geniuses
and should never be second-guessed. Seems even engineers make and sell
their mistakes... for two years or more.
When I bought my 1999 R1100S in 2004 (with 9300 miles... um, gear
shifter rubber still sharply chiseled) and got to know the model, I was
delighted and reassured to find that The Factory had largely "got it
right" the first time with this model and there were fairly few changes
through the 5 yr model lifetime as compared to my understanding of
other models. Well, the seat mounting arms were too long, maybe to
provide some "give" to the seat... but I bet they bent under heavy
"loads" and so were shortened (must have confused Corbin for a while;
I'd be glad to hear other theories behind the change. Some may argue
some recent changes are more major improvements than they seem to me.
And some needed improvements just never got made (breathing and
concomitant ECU changes).
Soooo, that's sad news for those with strong new-model lust (we all
have it to some degree). Sometimes, we can just bolt-on upgrades but
sometimes they are not easily accessed. If, contrary to BMW's new car
model stat record you do fall to temptation, I'd recommend taking care;
be ready with documents to defend your eligibility for warrantee work
should push come to shove.