Malfunctioning Steering Leads to 2019 BMW X5 NHTSA Complaints

One of the most basic functions of a vehicle is that the driver can steer it. If a vehicle steers itself in an unexpected way or makes the driver feel uncertain, then there can be safety concerns. The 2019 BMW X5 has had a few unsettling steering issues submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Here’s what we know about the issues.

The twitchy 2019 BMW X5 steering problem

CarComplaints.com, which collects owner-submitted vehicle issues, has registered 14 complaints about steering problems in the 2019 BMW X5 that had been submitted to the NHTSA. The problems were serious enough to receive a 9.0 severity rating, otherwise designated as “really awful.” While the issues haven’t caused any crashes or injuries, they did start to appear at the very low average mileage of 2,115 miles.

Owners reported that when the weather is cold, below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, the steering wheel jerks back and forth slightly when going at any speed, making the SUV difficult to control. Owners weren’t able to fix the issue by disabling advanced safety features like lane-keep assist.

An owner in Illinois reported, “During cold temperatures, the steering has a twitch which causes small movements left and right without any manual input. It has the feeling that it is receiving inputs from a sensor or other system, which requires override by the driver. It creates a dangerous situation.” BMW did issue a technical service bulletin in May of 2019 to update the X5’s software and correct this problem.

Other steering problems with the 2019 model

However, the jerky steering isn’t the only steering issue the 2019 BMW X5 has experienced. Another owner reported a problem where the active steering intervention sub-feature of lane departure warning turned itself on and caused the SUV to make unsafe movements.

There were other owners with steering surprises. One owner mentioned that “While I was driving the vehicle it suddenly felt as if the car downshifted aggressively and at the same time I lost power steering, power brakes, and my hud for speedometer, etc. The car displayed several warnings simultaneously as well.”

A different owner’s X5 would lose steering when the start/stop function turned off the engine before coming to a stop. The SUV would stop functioning usually between 1 and 3 MPH but sometimes still moving at up to 5 MPH.

The 2019 BMW X5

RELATED: Enjoy Greater All-Electric Range With BMW’s 2020 X5 xDrive45e Plug-In Hybrid

Car and Driver was generally positive in its review of the 2019 BMW X5, which was fully redesigned for the 2019 model year. It called the two powertrain options “perfect” and found the SUV had great handling. Car and Driver did say that the X5’s “steering isn’t as communicative as it could be.” The X5 provides plenty of space in its luxurious interior, although the third row is snug.

The X5 has either a 335-hp turbocharged inline-six in the xDrive40i or a 456-hp twin-turbocharged V8 in the xDrive50i. Both trims have an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. However, its list of available features can make the X5 quite expensive, and it got “mixed reviews from crash-testing agencies,” according to Car and Driver.

The X5 comes standard with a power-adjustable driver seat with memory as well as heated front seats, a power-adjustable steering column, dual-zone automatic climate control, customizable ambient lighting, a panoramic sunroof, a power rear liftgate, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. Those expensive extra features include remote start, massaging seats, soft-close doors, acoustic glass, a leather dashboard, a heated steering wheel, and heated front armrests, says Car and Driver.

The infotainment system is compatible with Apple CarPlay, but an annual fee is required after the first year. Android Auto is not available. The infotainment system has a 12.3-inch touchscreen and can be controlled by touch, with a rotary knob, or with gestures. There is also a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. Some advanced safety features, like automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, are standard. Other features, like the semi-autonomous driving mode, are optional.

While some owners of the 2019 BMW X5 experienced an unsettling steering problem, it appears that there is now an available software fix. The SUV otherwise provides a strong driving performance in a luxurious package.