Two years after a lawsuit alleging that updated versions of BMW’s twin-turbocharged N63 V8 engine have a problem with oil consumption was filed, a proposed settlement has received preliminary approval. Isley v. BMW, filed in May of 2019, initially stated that N63 V8-powered BMW models including versions of the 5 Series, 6 Series, 7 Series, 8 Series, X5, X6, and X7 were defective because of their engine’s propensity to consume oil between scheduled services.
The plaintiff is reported to have owned a 2015 BMW X5 xDrive50i which is said to have routinely required the addition of approximately six to eight quarts of oil between oil services. The X5’s engine is described as having been replaced in 2018, after which the plaintiff says it resumed its prior behavior and again required repeated topping off of oil. By the 2015 model year, the F15 X5 was using the N63TU (more specifically the N63B44O1), which is an updated version of the original N63 V8 design with the addition of Valvetronic, different turbocharges, forged internals, and lighter pistons. The technical update also brought with it an oil-catch-can system and a secondary coolant pump.
The lawsuit in question is one of a handful that remain pending, and the second to progress to the settlement stage. The first to be settled out of court was Bang v. BMW, but the important difference is that Isley v. BMW contends that updated versions of the BMW N63 twin-turbocharged V8 suffer from the same inherent design flaws and defects. The first lawsuit, which was settled in 2018, encompassed the 2009 through 2014 model years, when the initial version of the N63 engine (N63B44O0) was in production and being installed in BMW models.
Affected Model Years
Of the latest developments regarding the proposed settlement, the range of affected BMW models has been narrowed down, and now includes the following:
- 2013–2019 BMW 650i
- 2013–2015 BMW 750i
- 2013–2015 BMW 750Li
- 2013–2017 BMW 550i
- 2014–2016 BMW 550i GT
- 2014–2018 BMW X5
- 2015–2019 BMW X6
It is noteworthy that the revised list of BMW models now reflects only those with the N63TU, and no models which derive power from the newer N63TU2 (N63B44O2), or the N63TU3 (N63B44M3, N63B44T3). Nevertheless, all of these engines are simply variations of the same 4.4-liter hot-vee design, which many cite as the underlying and inherent problem with the engine to begin with: That the turbochargers and exhaust manifold being mounted within the valley formed by the cylinder banks as opposed to outside, where they were until BMW was first to market with such a design in 2008, is responsible for causing too much heat, and through the premature wearing of various component materials, oil consumption. BMW models with the initial version of the N63 are covered under service bulletin SI B11 06 14, or what BMW refers to as a Customer Care Package for the engine, but the lawsuit which may soon be settled seems to have demonstrated that the following N63TU suffered from the same problems as well. Regardless of the trouble associated with BMW’s early N63 V8 engine, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and even Cadillac have all subsequently introduced their own hot-vee V8 engines, which range in displacement from four to 4.2 liters.
Proposed Settlement Agreement Details
The proposed settlement agreement includes affected customers being eligible to receive two free quarts of oil for topping-off between oil services, along with up to three oil consumption tests performed free of charge. The agreement also includes the potential for replacement of N63TU engines. In order to qualify for engine replacement, a vehicle must fail an oil consumption test, after which BMW may either offer to replace the engine or perform a repair. If the engine continues to consume oil post-repair, the customer will reportedly be offered an engine replacement. BMW customers with vehicles that are either less than ten years from their in service date or with less than 120,000 miles are eligible to receive the free oil and oil consumption tests, but the quarts of oil won’t be available until at least a year after the effective settlement date.
Vehicles which remain in their factory warranty coverage period will be repaired or receive an engine replacement free of charge. This encompasses only the newest vehicles on the list above, all of which have since been replaced in the lineup, either with an updated version or an entirely new chassis. Out-of-warranty costs are based on a percentage schedule with the odometer reading reflecting the mileage at the time of the failed oil consumption test:
- Below 50,000, customer responsible for 0%.
- 50,001 to 60,000, customer responsible for 5%.
- 60,001 to 70,000, customer responsible for 15%.
- 70,001 to 80,000, customer responsible for 27%.
- 80,001 to 90,000, customer responsible for 42%.
- 90,001 to 100,000, customer responsible for 55%.
- 100,001 to 105,000, customer responsible for 65%.
- 105,001 to 110,000, customer responsible for 70%.
- 110,001 to 115,000, customer responsible for 75%.
- 115,001 to 120,000, customer responsible for 85%.
- 120,001 to above, customer responsible for 100%.
BMW N63 V8 Oil Consumption Reimbursement Program
The proposed agreement also includes a reimbursement program for customers that would cover the cost of up to four oil change services which were not to have exceeded $95 each, with documentation proving that the services were performed within twelve months of each other. Customers may also be eligible for reimbursement for oil used to top off affected engines at a rate of $10 per quart with receipts, and at a limit of nine quarts per customer. Again, eligibility for oil reimbursement is extended to customers with vehicles that are within the earlier of ten years or 120,000 miles from their in-service date. Reimbursement may also be extended to customers whose vehicles failed an oil consumption test and were subsequently repaired at BMW dealerships in the amount of up to $900, again depending on invoices or documentation proving such.
Finally, affected customers may also file a claim to receive a credit in the amount of $1,500 toward the lease or purchase of a BMW 6 Series, 7 Series, X5, X6, or X7. The maximum credit amount for other BMW models is $1,000, and the credits will be valid for one year starting on the effective settlement date.
Many of the specific details come courtesy of online automotive complaint resource Car Complaints. Although the N63 and M derivative S63 V8 engines remain in production today with more than 600 horsepower in the M5 Competition and M5 CS, a replacement V8 has reportedly been in development since at least 2019, and is speculated to displace four liters.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]