What Does M/S Mean on a BMW? [Simply Explained]

Do you know what M/S on a BMW gear shifter means? Are you aware of its function? If you have a BMW or thinking of getting one, it’s essential to be familiar with the sign on the gear shifter.

The M/S on a BMW shifter stands for manual /sport modes. Sport mode (represented byS in M/S) is activated when the lever is turned to the left. Now, you can manually move the lever up and down while still remaining in sport mode. This is what M means in M/S.

Familiarizing yourself with the gear options will help maintain your car’s performance. We plan to share with you enough you should know about the feature on your BMW gear shifter.

Let’s explore!

What Does M/S Mean on a BMW Gear System?

BMW always allows car owners to make the most out of their cars. Among a bunch of features BMW offers, the M/S gear option is one the most advantageous ones. But what is the significance of this feature?

With the help of M/S on your BMW, you can switch from sport mode to manual mode when changing the gears. While in manual mode, the driver has control over the shifting of gears, sport mode has increased responsiveness and acceleration of the car. 

More precisely, the gear shifts are quicker in sport mode and will occur at the highest RPMs.  

When someone shifts the gear into the M/S, they will first notice that the automotive sport program is enabled on their car. Then, it will be possible also to manually select the transmission shift point. 

How to Activate M/S on Your BMW?

Activating M/S on your BMW is more like a walk in the park. Accessing the gear shifter of your BMW, you can easily enable the M/S mode. Here, we share the steps by steps process so you can easily understand. 

  • Step 1: Put the transmission into drive(D) by pulling the gear shifter backward. 
  • Step 2: Pull the gear shifter to the left. 
  • Step 3: Wait until the gear shifter is locked in position. Once the gear shifter is locked, you will notice DS displayed on the instrument cluster of your BMW.

Now, the car goes into sport mode. But, as you know, you can shift the gear points from sport mode to manual selective transmission shift point. So, to enable the M from the M/S, you should do is to; 

  • To upshift= Pull the gear shifter backward. 
  • To downshift= Push the gear shifter forward. 

In this case, the selective gear M2 will be displayed on the instrument cluster. M1 for the first gear. That’s pretty simple. 

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.

Read Also: Why BMW Won’t Start With Push Button? Causes & Quick Fixes

What Happens if You Activate Manual (M) Mode on Your BMW? 

You’ll have full control of the gear selection according to your wish. And this is pretty effective when it comes to reducing accidents or avoiding unexpected circumstances while driving a car. 

Driving an automatic car in manual mode seems awkward. However, this is a common practice of BMW owners.

Additionally, driving a car in manual mode, even if your car has an automatic transmission, is okay. 

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 sport mode.

Read Also: BMW Shut Off While Driving & Won’t Start | How You Can Fix!

Side-by-Side Difference Between Manual and Sport Mode

From enabling M/S on your BMW, you can either access the sport mode or the manual mode. 

But here, most BMW car owners with concerns regarding M/S are often hesitant about whether to stick with S mode or go with the manually selective transmission gear shift point.

Differentiate FactsManual program Sport Programme 
Fuel Economy Increased fuel economy Decreased fuel economy 
Acceleration Average accelerationFast acceleration 
ControlMore control over drivingComparatively less control over driving
Number of modeonetwo
RPMsShifting gear in average RPMsShifting gear in high RPMs
UsabilityRegular drivingComparatively more aggressive driving. 

What Is the Difference Between Sport Mode and Sport+ Mode?

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. 

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

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

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

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

Read Also: Everything to Know About The BMW Dynamic Cruise Control

Frequently Asked Questions 

People often ask a lot about M/S on their BMWs. We have made a small list of some questions and want to share them with you here. You might also have these questions in your mind.

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

Well, it is Okay to continue driving your BMW in sport mode, but not pretty often. You can shift the mood when you need to boost the engine performance. Frequent driving in sport 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. And most BMW owners often do so to get the most out of their cars. Sport mode enables your car to perform at its best.

Why Is My 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 occurs on the wires located under the shifter knob. Fixing these issues can let the sport mode work again on your car.


Making the best use of M/S mode on your BMW is something you should not avoid. But you need to be tricky in this case as well. 

You should only enable the sport mode when you are racing, or a situation occurs when you tend to boost engine power. A combination of sport mode and manual mode at a time can ensure better control of your car. 

Additionally, choosing to drive at the right time and for the right reason is another important task you should perform. So, what does M/S mean on a BMW? You know the answer, don’t you?

Similar Posts