Poor paint finish is taking the shine off BMWs. That’s the verdict of owners who are becoming increasingly vocal about unexpected problems with “orange peel” pitting and bird lime stains.
The complaints come amid news that US buyers of the limited-edition Frozen Gray M3 Coupé are required to sign a “maintenance agreement” stating they will forfeit their paint warranty if they wax or polish their car. British buyers of the matt-finish M3 don’t have to sign, but BMW is offering advice on caring for the paint.
Meanwhile, unhappy owners of less exotic models have been contacting Auto Express, with the brand attracting more paintwork complaints than any other. One driver said his X5 was the second he’d owned to be permanently marked by bird lime. And this comes after our report in Issue 1,222 (below) on reader Roy West from Plumtree, Notts, who returned from a five-day holiday to find his car scarred by droppings.
A quick search of Internet forums such as detailingworld.co.uk and babybmw.net flagged up 16 more owners exasperated by similar paint problems. Jeff Turner, manager
of leading paint specialist Ryebrook Motors in Leatherhead, Surrey, told Auto Express: “I like BMWs, but some of the finishes don’t look as good as they should. They’re a bit orange peely.”
The tell-tale pitting can occur when paint dries too fast – and this is something Ercan Osman, from BMW garage BMERC, in New Barnet, Herts, also had issues with. “We repaired a Z4 that had been keyed on both sides,” he said. “The owner said the paint looked better than when new!”
BMW has denied there is a problem. “Most complaints to any maker regard paintwork,” said a spokesman. “This is often due to the switch from lead-based to water-based finishes. Many people see a decline in quality between the two.”