The BMW tagline “The Ultimate Driving Machine” might be completely right if you ignore reliability issues and electrical and mechanical vulnerabilities. The first four years or 50,000 miles of BMW ownership, where you have warranty coverage and free maintenance, are guaranteed to be the best years you’ll experience, reaffirming the well known marketing trademark. Once you crossover the inevitable warranty expiration, the dormant electro-mechanical gremlins awake, and you’ll be in for a maintenance sticker shock. However, even before this time arrives there seems to be a reoccurring problem with BMWs in general: They don’t like floods.
The video below shows three modern BMWs stranded in an area of high water. The 4, 5, and 6 Series cars turned on their highly reliable Hazard light systems, warning others that they’re about to drive through a river. Despite the flood’s victims, an Audi happily soldiered on and drove through the Mariana Trench with absolutely no problems. Clearly this video states: “Audi Is The Ultimate Driving And Boating Machine.”
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What definitely happened to these stranded BMWs is that their engines had taken in more than its fair share of recommended water intake, which is absolutely zero amounts of water allowed. Due to the high water levels, the engine’s air intake became submerged, drowning the cylinders with lots and lots of water. And given that water is an incompressible fluid, the engine can’t complete the compression cycle causing it to stall, potentially doing massive internal damage to the block. These stranded BMWs will need an engine replacement if they’re ever to be driven again.
So word to the wise: If you have a BMW, or any other car for that matter, don’t drive through any deep water. The turbulence and wake caused by splashing through water may just cause the air intake to be partially submerged, making your engine choke on water.