January 12 2019 2:30 AM
BMW is said to have settled 30 complaints from Irish motorists over an alleged fault that caused cars to suddenly lose power and stop.
A lawyer representing the motorists said the settlements related to the alleged failure of timing chains in certain BMW models over the past six years.
The German car-maker has been facing legal threats over its refusal to carry out the repairs for free, estimated at around €6,000 per vehicle.
Dublin solicitor Dermot McNamara told the Irish Independent the settled cases were among a tranche of more than 50 where civil proceedings had either been in train or were being contemplated.
He said in settled cases the motorists got the cost of their repairs and associated expenses, such as replacement car hire and some legal costs.
"If a timing chain breaks, then the driver loses all power from the engine with a resultant loss of assisted braking and power steering," said Mr McNamara.
"In many cases, the vehicles have experienced catastrophic engine failure while travelling at speed and we have some owners who have reported that their timing chain has failed on a second occasion."
A spokesperson for BMW was not immediately able to comment.
Three civil actions have already been before the District Court. Two have been settled while one is still ongoing.
The court heard the problem affected the timing chains on models with N47 engines.
The civil action still before the court involves Co Monaghan motorist John McConville, who is seeking €8,700 in damages. He claims significant damage was caused to his BMW 5 Series car travelling on the M7 when the vehicle suddenly lost power.
He says he had to take emergency measures and pull over and wait on the hard shoulder for a tow truck for over an hour in darkness.
Mr McConville claims there was a defective engine design that prevented inspection and maintenance of the timing chain and his car needed extensive repairs.