Water. Giver of life, destroyer of electronics. As cars get more packed with technology, the risk of a liquid disaster increases. Case in point: The BMW X7 is the subject of a class-action lawsuit that alleges a design flaw can cause airbags to malfunction when wet. As it happens, the airbag module in question is located right under the cupholders.
According to The Drive, paperwork to kick off the lawsuit was filed last week at a U.S. District Court in Orange County, California. The suit claims that the cupholders, found on 2020 X7 M50i vehicles, are "not properly designed to hold cups filled with liquid".
Apparently, fluids that have escaped their containers can leak through the X7's cupholders and onto a sensitive SRS (supplemental restraint system, aka airbag) module located beneath them. The Drive points to users of the Bimmerpost forums that have written about their experiences, which include an SRS warning light illuminated on the dashboard after liquid seeped below the cupholders. To be clear, the initial poster claims that 1-2 oz of liquid seeped out of the bottom of a paper cup, and that it wasn't a splashing spill situation.
While there don't appear to have been any reports of airbags deploying as a result, the lawsuit alleges that a faulty deployment could occur. Instead, users have reported repair bills for the SRS module that have totaled a couple thousand dollars. Requests to cover the repairs lodged to BMW North America customer service have been rebuffed. Warranty claims have been rejected as well, as BMW considers the liquid "outside interference."
The plaintiffs believe that the cupholder flaw may not be limited to the 2020 X7 M50i. It's not clear whether that's other X7 trim levels or different models altogether.