Skip to main content

Do you own a BMW? Better carry a case of oil in your trunk

According to Consumer Reports, the BMW 5 Series V8 engines are 27 times more likely to burn excessive oil. What other models from BMW top the list?


When it comes to new vehicle burning excessive oil, BMW is the worst culprit according to Consumer Reports (CR). What’s up with the BMW 5 Series V8? According to a recent report from Consumer Reports, BMW has the worst offenders on the Top 30 models that have much higher rates of oil consumption overall than the average for their models years.

CR says the worst case showed that, overall, owners of BMW 5 Series vehicles with V8 engines are 27 times as likely to suffer excessive oil consumption as owners of an average vehicle. Other BMW vehicles that top the list are the BMW 6 Series, 7 Series and BMW X5.

CR also found that Audi’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and 3.0-liter V6 were also high on the excessive oil consumption list. Those engines are in Audi models such as the Audi A3, A4, A5, A6, and Q5. To a lesser extent, Subaru’s 3.6-liter V6 is also on the list. BMW’s 4.8-liter V8 and twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 were the biggest offenders.

Audi, BMW and Subaru all say it’s normal

Audi, BMW and Subaru all maintain that oil consumption is a normal part of the these engine’s operation and that this is normal. Subaru says a quart burned every 1,000 to 1,200 miles is acceptable. Certain Audi and BMW cars’ standards state that a quart burned every 600 to 700 miles is within acceptable consumption ranges.

For a new vehicle, these are excessive amounts and are unacceptable for any vehicle. Consumer Reports says, “It’s normal for cars to burn a little oil as they age toward 100,000 miles and beyond. We believe that any engine that burns oil between changes should be repaired under the powertrain warranty. Automakers often shield themselves in the fine print of their owners’ manuals.”

What does BMW say?

BMW does shield themselves and even outlines such consumption as part of its manufacturer specifications. You can even buy a traveling case for oil from the dealer to carry in the vehicles trunk to use when you need it.

“Oil consumption is normal on all engines,” BMW representative Hector Arellano-Belloc said in an e-mail statement to CR. “BMW vehicles have long intervals between oil changes (10,000 miles). BMW engines (excluding the BMW M) may consume up to one quart of engine oil per 750 miles under certain driving conditions.” He added that BMW’s M performance models may consume even more oil than that.

It’s interesting that BMW ranked very high in the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS). The 2015 BMW 2 Series, BMW 4 Series and BMW 5 Series have all ranked number one in their categories. BMW ranked 6th among all the brands, considerably above the industry average. Read more here

According to data from Consumer Reports’ 2014 Annual Auto Survey of owners of 498,900 vehicles from 2010 to 2014 model years, there are 30 models that have much higher rates of oil consumption overall than the average for their model years. BMW has eight vehicles that make the list. Here’s the list starting with the worst offender: BMW 5 Series (V8), BMW 7 Series, BMW 6 Series, BMW X5 (V8), BMW X1 (6-cylinder), BMW 335i Sedan, BMW 5 Series (6-cylinder and BMW 335Ci. For the complete “The Thirsty 30” list go here.


charles chaffee (not verified)    December 19, 2016 - 10:59PM

I have a BMW 650 I 22500 has consistantly needed one quart of oil every 700/850 miles My warentee expires in 5 days. Any thoughts Thanks Chuck

Nathan O (not verified)    October 25, 2017 - 2:29PM

In reply to by charles chaffee (not verified)

Hello, did you every get a answer about burning so much oil? My 2011 550i is doing the exact same things, asking for 1 qt of oil every 500 to 1,000 miles. It does not seem right.

Victoria Ramirez (not verified)    January 31, 2018 - 11:12PM

In reply to by Nathan O (not verified)

Once a month we have to add a quart of oil to the engine. I only drive my car about 50 miles a week. The engine smell like burning oil. I have 750I BMW and we will never buy another BMW.

Nathan O (not verified)    October 25, 2017 - 3:11PM

In reply to by charles chaffee (not verified)

Hello, did you every get a answer about burning so much oil? My 2011 550i is doing the exact same things, asking for 1 qt of oil every 500 to 1,000 miles. It does not seem right.

esorceintirty (not verified)    October 18, 2017 - 9:55AM

It is really mostly very difficult to observe well-aware person on this spot, but you find as as you fully understand the points you're speaking about! Take care

Konstantin (not verified)    November 21, 2017 - 7:46PM

I bought a 2015 x5 from Bavaria bmw in Edmonton Alberta worst decision I have ever made. Burns excessive oil and they don’t want to fix it unless I jump threw some hoops I have been there more than 3 times for the same problem they just write it down and tell me to come back if it happens again or when it’s time to do an oil change . BMW YOUR TRASH I WILL NEVER BUY A VEHICLE FROM YOU AGAIN !!!

CARLOS J RIVERA (not verified)    December 11, 2017 - 6:56PM

Hello, I'm the owner of a 2011 7 series. With only 69k miles on her. As you can tell I don't travel far but I am still adding an extra quart of synthetic oil every two weeks. I don't notice any leaking or smoking. Why is she doing this?

Thomas Isley (not verified)    December 28, 2017 - 3:16PM

I have a 2015 BMW X5 V8 twin turbo and it has been using OVER 6 quarts of oil between oil changes which is 10,000. The dealership is Rick-Hill Imports and they claim that the oil consumption is not excessive but admit there is a problem otherwise they never would have torn the engine down to replace the valve seals to try and fix it but that did nothing to help the problem. Now they are doing nothing at all hoping that the problem will go away on its own. You can't tell me that an engine burning that much oil isn't a problem and isn't going to have many more problems later on in its life.

Ronam (not verified)    March 21, 2021 - 6:25PM

In reply to by Thomas Isley (not verified)

I have a 2006 525i that I bought new and have had to add a quart of oil every 1,200 to 1,500 miles since the 50,000 mile service warranty expired. Prior to the service warranty expiration, BMW dealership took care of it. I have 245,978 miles on this engine and it still runs like new. I agree it is a bother, but I could not have owned a more dependable automobile.

Stu T (not verified)    January 31, 2018 - 10:39PM

I have a 2011 BMW 750Li and drove over 4,000 without using up a drop of oil. I'm now up to 5,500 miles between changes and finally had to add some oil recently, around 12 ounces total. Odometer sitting on 50,100 miles. I'm using Castrol European version full synthetic. Not sure why it's burning oil now. After driving and car is in the garage, I pick up a faint smell of what I think is burning oil and thinking valve cover gaskets might be leaking. At 44,640 miles, they needed to change both hoses to the twin turbos. My understanding is that the N63 engine is affectionately nicknamed "the incinerator". Now that I'm over 50,000 miles, I'm waiting for the house of cards to collapse and I end up with a major repair bill.

texmln (not verified)    November 10, 2018 - 8:27PM

If it makes any of you feel any better my 2004 X5 3.0 has 207k miles on it and has used a ton of oil during its lifetime. Early on it burned about 1 quart every 2,500 miles and now it burns about 1 per 1,000. However, it runs strong and has never had any oil related engine problems.

Kitutu Vincent (not verified)    December 18, 2018 - 1:10AM

BMW oil consumption is a real bad cost. i should have stuck with my Toyota cars if i had known of this oil burning engines before due date for oil change

Rock Vogel (not verified)    February 17, 2019 - 11:41AM

I own a 2012 550 Grand TourIsmo that I bought with 55k miles about 2 1\2 years ago. It has consistently burned a quart of oil every 600-700 miles. I took it in to BMW dealer and they told me it was normal for that engine (400 HP V-8)). When oil consumption became every 500 miles, I again took it in and they told me there was a recall and the cost of the $2000 -$4000 fix was prorated for mileage. In my case with 96000 miles they would pay 40% of the cost Beyond 100K miles, they pay nothing. The service manager told me to put TWO quarts of oil in and it would likely go 1500 miles before needing more oil. Car runs great and no smell of burnt oil, but not normal to have to carry a supply of oil around in my trunk! Still !I've the car.

Brent Angevine (not verified)    May 31, 2019 - 8:30AM

I've seen several people have their valve seals replaced in order to cut this down. Which on this engine costs between $7,000 and $9,000 if you are outside of warranty. It's not cost effective as a quart of oil per month isn't going to cost anywhere near that, but as someone else indicated here.. If there is oil leaking somewhere in the engine and it is not on your driveway then it's being burned internally somewhere and burning oil leaves a nasty buildup behind that's bound to choke an engine to death eventually.

avtar singh (not verified)    January 21, 2020 - 5:59PM

as i have 2014 328i bmw xdrive it consume engine oil and pop up the notification to add oil after 1500 approximately is it still good to add oil, or need repair reply me if someone know anything. it has low kilometer on this so that why m worried about it. or this thing is normal for bmw to add engine oil.

eczqkpcujm (not verified)    January 21, 2020 - 9:22PM

but it arrives its agreeableness Scares during storyboard and in the comparable or

Jack Conrad (not verified)    February 14, 2020 - 8:46PM

I bought my 2013 x5 v8 400hp new and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve only had to change out some sort of hose that was leaking oil at 80k ($500)...there were two of them where the attachments were broken or about to break. I’ve forgotten what they’re called.
My guy is a BMW specialist (the insane kind like Jerry’s mechanic w/Saab on Seinfeld) who loves “test driving” my car. We’ve always been a bmw family so he’s secretly in love with me as I own 11 bmw’s, now.
I have to add a quart every other week with my x5...I couldn’t care less about it. Who cares if you have to add oil.
Cars have been troubled since they were invented. But it’s a lot better than riding around in a carriage.

Vince (not verified)    April 18, 2020 - 1:49PM

I have a 2011 328i Xdrive 2D and I have to add oil every 2k or so. About every 3 weeks it needs a quart. Never seen any spots or smelled anything. A quart of oil seems to be a good spend to keep it running good.

Jennifer Stevens (not verified)    June 28, 2021 - 5:35PM

I have a 2009 BMW 528 xI with 109k miles and was told it's buring oil. Got an oil change and less than a month later had to put oil in. Why is this happening to so many people with BMW? I'm barely over 100 k miles and was told to sell ASAP. I guess this Is an ongoing problem. Such an expensive car and seems like so many people have the same issues. Sad