The lawsuit alleges that in 2006, BMW announced with much fanfare the development of its new N54 twin turbo engine. BMW touted the new engine as incorporating state of the art technology that included "twin” turbo chargers and a newly developed fuel injection system. BMW represented to the public that this new technology would eliminate "turbo lag,” a common problem in turbocharged vehicles, and that its new state of the art fuel injection system greatly increased the performance and fuel efficiency of its vehicles.
According to the complaint, the new engines that were so highly touted by BMW in fact contain serious design flaws that render the vehicles unsafe to drive. There are essentially two design flaws at the center of the case. First, the plaintiff asserts that BMW’s new fuel injection system that supposedly incorporates a new "state of the art” fuel pump has design defects that cause the pumps to malfunction at an alarming high rate. As a result, many BMW owners have had to repeatedly replace their high pressure fuel pumps (HPFP), sometimes within 1,000 miles of vehicle ownership.
Lead attorney on the case, Stuart Talley of Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff, noted, "When these fuel pumps fail, the car comes to a complete stop or loses substantial power. If this happens while someone is driving on a highway at high speeds, this can create a very serious safety hazard. We believe the defect is so significant that it makes these cars unsafe to drive.”
The second problem relating to BMW’s fuel pump relates to its turbo chargers. Specifically, the complaint alleges that owners of the affected vehicles were told that BMW’s new engine had eliminated "turbo lag.” "Turbo lag” is the delay between the time that driver of a vehicle presses the accelerator and the time that turbo chargers on the engine essentially "kick in” to provide added power to the engine. However, shortly after the vehicles were released, BMW began to receive complaints from owners that they were hearing strange noises from the engine along with a delay in throttle response. BMW eventually discovered that these problems were the result of a design defect in the turbo chargers.
Plaintiffs allege, however, that rather than repair the defective turbo chargers, BMW implemented a secret "software fix” to hide the problems from consumers. Any time a consumer brought their BMW in for repair or routine maintenance, BMW would "upgrade” the vehicle’s software. This software tweak kept the turbo chargers from operating at full capacity, ensuring that their defects would go undetected. Consequently, consumers noticed a decrease in their vehicles’ performance.
Understandably, owners aren't happy. A number of user generated petitions, forums and blogs have cropped up criticizing BMW for their handling of the issue. As reported on the BMW Blog, several consumers reported their BMW's going into "limp mode." They also reported excessive power loss and "turbo lag,” the very condition BMW said it had eliminated with its "state of the art engine.”
The plaintiff’s complaint seeks to force BMW to repair the defective turbo chargers and/or reimburse consumers for the diminution in value to the vehicles.
If you own a BMW model released between the years of 2007-2010, we would like to hear from you. Please contact us for a free and confidential case evaluation with one of our product liability attorneys by calling 888-285-3333.