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Sometimes even the most beloved models have their bad years. The same goes for costly luxury models like the BMW X5. Although many model years are trustworthy and have minimal issues, some are best avoided. If you’re considering a used BMW X5, there are a few model years to avoid. The 2012, 2013, and 2014 versions have a lot of complaints and recalls.

2012-2013 BMW X5 owner complaints

There are a few BMW X5 model years to avoid buying used, like the 2012 version of the luxury SUV.
2012 BMW X5 | Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

According to HotCars, the 2012 and 2013 BMW X5 model years were the final ones of the second generation for the luxury SUV. Most might expect the automaker to solve most issues by then, but it was actually quite the opposite. The publication says JD Power reported issues with these models that owners reported as quickly as within 90 days of ownership.

For example, difficulties with entering/exiting the vehicle, an uncomfortable driver’s seat, and audio system problems. Additionally, the interior materials don’t feel as luxurious and sleek as you’d expect in a BMW. Furthermore, HC listed another source hearing owner complaints about reliability. These model years for the X5 gave owners issues with parts as significant as the engine requiring repairs with as few as 59,000 miles on the odometer. A less drastic issue is wind noise in the cabin while driving at high speeds, which is unexpected for a luxury vehicle.

21 recalls for the 2012-2013 BMW X5

a red 2013 BMW X5, one of the used models to avoid buying
2013 BMW X5 | Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Next, HC says the 2012 and 2013 BMW X5 have 21 recalls. The long list includes 14 for the 2012 version and another seven for the following model year. Possibly the most worrisome is a transmission recall issued in January of 2012, just a few months after production and sales began. Reportedly, the transmission’s parking lock may not engage when the driver places it into the “park” position.

During the same calendar year, the automaker recalled the X5 for its engine and cooling, leaking steering fluid, and a defective engine belt idler pulley. In later years, the same model received more recalls for its powertrain, engine, and cooling. Additionally, the 2013 version was recalled twice for engine and cooling issues. While any frequent problem is terrible, these significant issues can lead to dangerous situations if left unrepaired.

Finally, both of these model years received recalls for defective Takata airbags. These types of recalls are prevalent with many models from different brands. However, they’re also dangerous and should be addressed quickly.

The 2014 BMW X5 isn’t much better

Following the 2012 and 2013 BMW X5 model years, which were mechanical disasters, we’d expect the new generation to improve. However, the 2014 model is also widely problematic. Entering the third generation, the X5 did not get easier to enter or exit, and wind noise remained an issue. Additionally, safety recalls are also common. Some include disengaged child safety locks, airbags, cooler leaks, and the fuel system.

While airbag recalls are obviously dangerous, the cooler leaks might be even worse. HC says the leaks could melt the intake manifolds, eventually leading to a higher fire risk. The fuel system was recalled very recently in 2021, so some problems probably haven’t surfaced yet for the 2014 BMW X5.

Avoid these BMW X5 model years

In conclusion, there are only a few used BMW X5 model years to avoid. For the 2012, 2013, and 2014 model years, there is more than one reason not to buy the X5. Used models will often have problems, including many high-danger recalls issued as recently as 2021. Moreover, many owners disliked their experience with the luxury SUV even in the first 90 days of ownership.


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