What Does M/S Mean On A BMW? [Simply Explained]

M/S means on a BMW that the gear shifter has been set to the manual mode while the transmission has been put into the ‘Sports’ mode which allows for a more aggressive gear shift pattern. You get a combination of both manual control and aggressive driving by enabling this mode.

The steps to activate M/S on BMW are quite easy. To get a detailed idea of the process and if you even need them, keep reading this article.  

How To Activate M/S On Your BMW?

To activate M/S on your BMW go through the following steps

Step 1: Find the “M/S” button or gear selector on the dashboard or center console.

Step 2: Press the button or shift the gear selector to the left to activate M/S mode.

Step 3: Once M/S mode is turned on, your car’s transmission will switch to manual mode. This means you can manually shift gears using either the gear selector or the paddles on the steering wheel.

You can switch between “Drive” and “M/S” whenever you wish.

Note: When the shifter gear points from sport to Manual mode, you don’t need to press the small button on the left upper side of the gear shifter.

Bonus: Find out why your BMW won’t start with a push button.

When Should You Select M/S on BMW?

You should select M/S on BMW when you want to have control over gear shifts and get a more personalized and engaging driving experience.

Source: The Car Specialists

Keep in mind that M/S mode is different from the “Sport” setting. This setting adjusts the suspension, steering, and powertrain for a sportier drive. Whereas in M/S mode you manually shift gears using the gear selector or steering wheel paddles which adds an interactive and sporty touch to your driving. 

In some BMW models, you can activate both M/S mode and the “Sport” setting simultaneously. From this, you can get a better driving experience. The steps to activate the M/S mode may vary based on the BMW model but normally you have to use the gear selector or paddle shifters. 

What Happens If You Activate Manual (M) Mode On Your BMW? 

When you turn on the manual (M) mode in your BMW, you get to control how the gears shift, making your driving experience more fun. In this mode, you can use the paddle shifters or the gear selector to manually switch gears. This means you have more direct control over how fast or slow your car goes.

If you want to drive your BMW in manual mode despite having an automatic transmission, it’s completely fine. 

What Happens If You Activate Sport (S) Mode On Your BMW?

The sport mode is a power booster of your BMW engine. If you enable the sport mode in your car, as the transmission gear shift time decreases, it lets your vehicle move quickly. 

And that’s the reason why BMW geniuses consider the sport mode as the most powerful mode. 

You’ll feel the impact of sport mode on your car’s engine when you accelerate. The engine efficiency is often dramatically increased. Moreover, sport mode causes a more aggressive throttle response.

However, the sport mode on your BMW also has some drawbacks. Among them, the mode causes a decrease in fuel economy as the engine tends to rev higher when you activate the sport mode.  

Besides, engine wear and tear is possible if you drive your car in sport mode more frequently. But, putting the fact of fuel mileage apart, you’ll have more fun driving your car in sports mode.

Side-By-Side Difference Between Manual And Sport Mode

The following table shows the difference between the Manual and Sports modes in BMW. 

Key FactorsManual ModeSports Mode
Fuel EconomyIncreased fuel economyDecreased fuel economy
AccelerationAverage accelerationFast acceleration 
ControlMore control over drivingComparatively less control over driving
Number of modesOneTwo
RPMsShifting gear in average RPMsShifting gear in high RPMs
UsabilityRegular drivingComparatively more aggressive driving

What Is The Difference Between Sport Mode And Sport+ Mode?

BMW offers two sports modes. One is sport mode itself, and the other is sport+ mode. The core difference between sports mode and sport+ mode is that the sport+ mode switches the dynamic control module off. 

Sport mode is one of the fascinating features of your BMW. And, more luckily, you can choose different sport mode options while driving your car. 

Each sport mode option will let you make the most out of your car, meaning you can get exceptional engine performance. 

In addition, you can move more quickly with sport+ mode than with sport mode.

However, you will find all the sports modes available on most BMW cars. Moreover, you’ll find the sport+ mode if your car has an 8-speed transmission. 

Bonus: Check out everything about BMW Dynamic Cruise Control

Why Is the BMW Not Going Into Sport Mode?

In most cases, BMW owners reported that the issue occurred due to a shortened wiring harness. Additionally, wear and tear often occur on the wires located under the shifter knob. Fixing these issues can let the sport mode work again on your car.

Moreover, problems with the transmission or general maintenance of your vehicle can impact the activation of the sport mode. If your BMW isn’t going into sports mode, it’s advisable to have a qualified mechanic or visit a BMW service center to identify and fix the specific issue.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Is It Okay To Continue Driving In Sport Mode On A BMW?

Well, it is Okay to continue driving your BMW in sports mode, but not often. You can shift the mood when you need to boost the engine performance. Frequent driving in sports mode might cause wear and tear to your car engine and reduce fuel mileage.

What Is The Difference Between Sport Mode And Comfort Mode?

The comfort mode is the default driving mode of BMW. On the other hand, the sport mode is suitable for plush riding. You can have more performance efficiency in your car in sport mode than in comfort mode.

Can You Shift From D To S While Driving?

No doubt! You can shift your gear points to Drive to sport mode while you drive your car. Most BMW owners often do so to get the most out of their cars. Sport mode enables your car to perform at its best.


In conclusion, M/S means the combination of both Manual and sports on BMW i.e. manual gear and sporty mode of transmission. If you have experience working with manual mode of transportation then going for an M/S mode will be a great idea. However, watch out for any sign of problem while you drive in sporty transmission mode.

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