In 2008, BMW introduced its highly anticipated updated M3 (E90 / E92). The new line up included BMW's new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT / DKG). Developed in conjunction with Getrag, and available as a $2700 option. The new gearbox for the M3 was touted as being "the missing link between the screaming 4.0L V-8 under the hood and the almost preternaturally alert and agile M-tuned chassis." Unfortunately, almost immediately, problems with the new transmission appeared.
First, BMW recalled 2500 of the 2008-2009 models with the double clutch transmission. According to the recall ((NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 08V595000)), in a rapid vehicle deceleration, the transmission may perform a multistage downshift resulting in a stall and possibly a crash. As part of the recall, BMW updated the transmission software to progman version 31.1 then 31.2 and finally 32.1. Sadly, according to M3 owners, the updated software addressed a rarely seen transmission failure, however, it created a now common, arguable more dangerous, transmission failure.
The new transmission problem, known to the M3 owners as the DCT lag or hesitation problem, presents during deceleration or a rolling stop situation which is followed by any acceleration, such as a changing traffic light or a left or right hand turn. When the driver tries to accelerate, there is a lag, hesitation or delay in the transmission and the vehicle has the feeling of an engine stall and losses all power for one to two seconds before finally regaining power and accelerating.
Many owners claim that this transmission failure was not present prior to the recall being performed but has been consistent since. The lag is present in many of the current production vehicle.
The failure presents in both D and S modes regardless of the number of Drivelogic bars, however, it is most noticeable with three or fewer Drivelogic bars. To observe the Lag/Hesitation: In D mode (lower S settings, aka, driving it like an "automatic") accelerate to ~40-50mph, brake to around 5-10mph, then without stopping try to accelerate. This maneuver is typical when slowing for a left/right hand turn, then accelerating or slowing for a light or an opening in traffic. BMW mechanics and technicians seem to be able to routinely reproduce this safety issue. The lag is still present with software version 2.34.1 or earlier ISTA-P SW (although with v 2.34.1 it is less of an issue, but still present.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Shockingly, instead of immediately addressing this dangerous safety issue with the M DCT transmission, BMW issued a Technical Service Bulletin (SI B 28 07 08) which instructed BMW technicians “not to attempt any repair (software update or hardware replacement) for this type of complaint.” Instead, BMW claims that the lagging / hesitation problem is in fact a "design characteristic and normal behavior for the M DCT transmission, rather than a malfunction or deficiency." Owners vehemently disgree and lemon law claims and actions have followed.
Our Product Liability / Personal Injury / Trial Attorneys at The Lance Firm are currently investigating these BMW M3 M DCT transmission failure complaints. If you or someone you know has suffered a personal injury in an accident, crash, or wreck involving a BMW M3 M DCT stall, lag or hesitation, contact us today, Dustin Lance or another one of our product liability trial lawyers at our law firm will discuss your options, legal rights and remedies.