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BMW M Button – The Complete Guide

The BMW M Button

Many refer to it as the “Magic” button. We call it the “Marvelous” switch to unleash one remarkable machine. Fine, that was not the best acronym for the BMW “M” button, but this car deserves all the glory.

So, the BMW “M” really stands for BMW “Motorsports.

The BMW M Button at a Glance

  • How Did the BMW M Button Came About?
  • What does the BMW M Button do?
BMW X5 Car while driving. 05-02-2019, Prague, Czech Republic.

What are the Functions of the BMW M Button?

  • Digital Motor Electronics (DME) System
  • Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and M Dynamic Mode as Part of DSC
  • Electronic Damper Control (EDC)
  • Servotronic Steering
  • M Double Clutch Transmission (DCT) with DriveLogic

How Did the BMW M Button Came About?

The very first generation of the BMW M model was designed by the Motorsports Department to compete in the FIA Group A racing. If you have had the chance to test out any of the BMW M models, you will feel the precisely engineered power and control this impressive machine can relinquish.

What Does the BMW M Button Do?

Technically speaking, the M button is a memory function that stores and recalls certain sets of the BMW driving preferences. From the full throttle of the revving horsepower to the smooth sail of the aerodynamic controls, the M button can remember and recall your preferred drive settings.

According to BMW, five major customizable functions can be coordinated by the M button. We will explore each function in detail.

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The BMW Digital Motor Electronics (DME) System

The DME System’s world depute was presented by the BMW 7 Series in 1979. It is a central computerized control system for your driving machine’s engine. It manages and ensures that your engine is functioning at its prime at all times with the fuel injection, ignition, and electrical power system.

How the DME System Works

Envision a microcomputer as the core of its operation, and it is continuously collecting, processing, and calculating data about every aspect affecting the vehicles’ performance. These data are then verified and benchmarked against a set of predetermined values for the entire system to ensure its proper functioning.

If there ever is a glitch in operation, the DME system will react to it and replace the faulty data with its predetermined values to prevent engine and battery damage. So, all in all, the DME System is the regulator and safeguard to make sure that the engine is running at its most potent efficiency.

What the DME System Controls

Here is a sample list of the types of data the DME System processes:

  • Air mass sensor
  • Air temperature sensor
  • Automatic transmission control
  • Coolant temperature sensor
  • Crankshaft pulse sensor
  • Cylinder identifying sensor
  • Exhaust oxygen sensor
  • Throttle position switch
  • Accelerator position
  • Vehicle speed
  • Engine speed

What the DME System Manages

Based on the data input from the above list, DME System manages the following operations in the BMW M models:

  • Idle control
  • Fuel pump
  • Fuel injectors
  • Ignition system
  • Electrical power system

BMW Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)

The DSC button is part of the M function, and it is on by default when you start the engine. It is a system that manages your car’s suspension with the help of three other systems:

  • Anti-lock Brake System (ABS)
  • Automatic Stability Control and Traction (ASC+T)
  • Cornering Brake Control (CBC)

What Does DSC Do?

DSC amplifies traction on all four wheels when setting off or accelerating your vehicle. The sensors are continually working to ensure that the wheels, brakes, and steering are performing at their maximum efficiency.

bmw x5 in parking lot

Electronic Damper Control (EDC)

The most apparent effect the EDC brings to your driving pleasure is a smoother sail, even in less desirable road conditions. It adjusts the Shock Absorber control of your car and reduces the shock resonated from dips, bumps, and sudden braking in all sections of the vehicle which include both the sprung and unsprung masses of the car.

How DSC Improves Driving Stability

DSC calculates the level of stability of your drive and adjusts your vehicle’s status according to a preset optimum driving statistic. For example, when you are turning a sharp corner with the DSC on, you will notice more controlled and improved handling. This is the system trying to keep the car from swerving.

Minor steering adjustments are also being made during the operation by the Active Steering and application of brakes on wheels with Hydraulic Brake Assist. The system also computes cutoff of fuel when necessary.

These tasks are precisely executed within milliseconds by the management system to keep your car in control. With that said, in less than desirable road conditions, DSC helps to improve the stability of the vehicle.

However, there are no excuses for anyone to disregard safety driving measurements when behind the wheels. We should always adhere to good driving practices and traffic laws.

bmw x5 in parking lot

M Dynamic Mode (MDM) as Part of DSC

There is one extra bit we would like to mention, “M Dynamic Mode” or MDM which is part of the DSC setting that comes with the M-Drive option via the “iDrive.” If you pull those Fast and Furious drifts often, you are probably familiar with this function.

MDM basically tells DSC to turn down its threshold of control and allows drivers to push the performance limits of the car without much of the DSC “babysitting” interventions.

However, this also means that with MDM on, the system limits its takeover of steering corrections and brakes on wheels until it is absolutely necessary. Stability control only begins to increase as driving limits are being maxed out.

What DSC Manages

Here is a list of major controls that DSC manages:

  • Wheel spin and rotation
  • Speed and acceleration
  • Brake pressure and yaw rate
  • Steering angle
  • Lateral and longitudinal acceleration

How EDC Works

The EDC works on the following parts of the BMW M models to ease the shock resonated from driving on treacherous roads.

Sprung masses of the car:

  • The entire body of the vehicle
  • Chassis or frame of the car
  • All other parts that are supported by the spring

Unsprung masses of the car:

  • Suspension upright and its attachments as well as some parts of the suspension arms
  • Brake and its components
  • Wheels and tires
Colorful BMW suv X5 driving fast on French highway with trailer

How EDC Improves Driving Experience

Overall, EDC contributes to the comfort and safety of your driving experience:

  • Each damper (or shock absorber) is individually adjusted by a magnetic valve to absorb shock and ensure optimal stability and suspension
  • EDC distributes load weight on all four wheels to the best balance unsprung maintain maximum tire traction with the ground. The sudden jolting effects that can happen from traveling on rough roads are being minimized so you may have a safe and pleasant trip
  • Customizable suspension settings allow drivers to easily switch between COMFORT, SPORT, or SPORT PLUS (+)
  • EDC eliminates the vehicle’s tendency to nose-dip when braking, and so it shortens the braking distance

BMW Servotronic Steering

BMW was the first in the industry to introduce this innovative technology of Servotronic Steering. It assists, controls, and automatically adjusts the amount of steering needed in response to the different speed levels that the vehicle is operating under.

Breaking away and improving from the traditional power steering, which relies on RPM (Revolution per Minute – measures engine power output), Servotronic Steering has undoubtedly brought superior user experience of handling and driving comfort. It provides drivers with better peace of mind knowing that if electronic failure ever occurs, the steering will remain functional to get you out of an emergency.


How Servotronic Steering Works

In technical perspective, Servotronic Steering works by utilizing electromagnetic valves to appropriately manage the amount of force injected by the steering hydraulics during the handling of the steering wheel.

  • At lower speeds, more steering assistance is being applied by the system resulting in lighter steering. This is usually helpful when parking or driving in narrow places where the steering wheel can be maneuvered with ease
  • At higher speeds, steering assistance gradually relinquishes control so the drive feels smoother and has improved stability

BMW M Double Clutch Transmission (DCT) with DriveLogic This is the system that control’s your vehicle’s transmission. According to BMW, M DTC with DriveLogic is the M hydraulically operated Double-Clutch Transmission with the built-in feature DriveLogic (M DKG). It combines the benefits of a “sequential” or manual mode of M transmission with that of a “Drive” or automatic mode.

The 7-Speed M DCT with DriveLogic System in the BMW M Models

The 7-Speed M Double-Clutch Transmission (DCT) with Drivelogic in the BMW M models allows shifting to be done with ease through both the electronic sports shift lever and the paddle shifter located on the steering wheel.

The M DCT with DriveLogic eliminates interruptions in driving power during sequential shifting. It delivers an improved driving performance and experience.

How M DCT Works

The M DCT system transfers the driving force from one sub-transmission to the next precisely and smoothly by preparing the next shifting gear in “ready to engage” mode. So, drivers can enjoy the perks of both automatic and manual drive transmissions.


To learn more about how M DCT boosts driving performance, refer to our Complete Guide to BMW’s 7-Speed M Double-Clutch Transmission (DCT) with DriveLogic

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