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Category: BMW iDrive Coding

BMW Sport mode coding: how to make your BMW sportier for less than $100

Paul Smith

Feb 9, 2022

BMW Sport mode coding: how to make your BMW sportier for less than $100

So, why did you buy your BMW?

Was it because you thought it would be a safe, reliable choice? If so, I’m sorry for your disappointment…

But if you bought it because you wanted something sporty and energetic, then you’re not alone! BMW has a loyal following who love cars that pack a serious punch, with great mechanics and bucketloads of power. If that isn’t enough for you, the BMW performance scene is buzzing, with a wide range of upgrades to choose from. Whether you’re looking for new engine parts, a high-performance exhaust, or just a few sporty changes in the cockpit, you’ll never have to look far.

Stuff like that comes at a cost, though. If you’re just looking to dip your toes in the water (or your wallet is still recovering from your last 30k service $$$), there are a few quick ways to breathe new life into your BMW on a budget.

How to make BMW sportier at a low cost?

How to make BMW sportier at a low cost?

To get to grips with how it’s all going to work, keep in mind how modern cars work. You’re probably already used to switching into your BMW’s Sport mode (or if you’re lucky, even BMW Sport Plus mode), and obviously that isn’t actually swapping your transmission out for something a little more finely engineered. It’s all software.

So it makes sense that adjusting that software can change how your BMW feels, and even performs. What’s more, as it doesn’t require making any physical modifications to your car, it’s simple and lease-friendly.

How is this magic done, I hear you ask? Simple: BMW coding.

BMW coding options for a more sporty feel


BMW Sport+ Mode

BMW Sport+ Mode

The first thing a lot of people turn to is BMW Sport Plus Mode. It’s actually baked into a lot of BMWs (just like the Sport Mode, Comfort and Eco driving modes), but for whatever reason, the suits in Bavaria don’t want to let everybody switch it on.

So what is Sport Mode, and more importantly, what is its big brother, Sport+?

Simply, both BMW Sport Mode and BMW SportPlus Mode adjust your vehicle’s throttle response, gear shifting and suspension to maximize acceleration and performance. Of course that’s at the expense of fuel efficiency, so the BMW Sport Mode configuration isn’t something you’re going to be using all the time.

Where Sport Plus Mode stands apart from the run-of-the-mill Sport Mode is in its traction settings, which are much more… permissive ;)

What does Sport Mode do that Sport+ doesn’t? Well, in BMW Sport Mode, wheel spin is kept under control thanks to Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) – just like it is in the more mundane driving modes. In BMW Sport Plus Mode, on the other hand, DSC is disabled, leaving only Dynamic Traction Control (DTC). If you live in a colder climate, you might already know a thing or two about DTC; it’s the thing you turn to when you need to get a little wheel spin going in the snow.

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Needless to say, an aggressive driving configuration without the BMW Sport Mode traction control means you’ll be having plenty of fun on the open road with BMW Sport Plus Mode.

If you aren’t lucky enough to have Sport+ activated from the factory, it’s simple to unlock through coding. With that done, you’ll be able to activate it through the BMW iDrive menu like any other driving mode.

BMW Sport Display

 BMW Sport Display

​Of course, sportiness isn’t all about how your car actually drives. It also matters how it feels, and how well you understand what your car is doing.

For that, the BMW Sport Display option is great to have. With it, you can turn your iDrive screen into an extension of your instrument cluster, showing real-time power and torque gauges. Whether you’re on the track or on the highway, keeping a close eye on what your engine is doing is a great way to understand your vehicle’s performance.

Again, it’s quick and easy to unlock through BMW coding.

Digital Speedometer

Digital Speedometer

But what if you don’t want to dedicate your whole BMW iDrive screen to performance? Even the sportiest drivers need to use the navigation directions once in a while ;)

BMW coding also makes it possible to add a digital speed reading to your cluster, in addition to the standard analog gauges. A digital read out is always going to be quicker and easier to read accurately, particularly during more energetic driving when your speed can change rapidly.

Of course it’s never going to give you the experience of a fully digital cluster, but it comes at a tiny fraction of the cost.

RDC Safety

RDC Safety

Maximizing your car’s sporting prowess goes beyond just speed, though. You need a finely balanced machine, ready to take on any challenge it faces.

That starts where your car meets the road – the tires.

The harder you drive, the more important it is that your tires are performing at their best. You don’t want to lose traction in the middle of a high-speed curve. To do that, you want to maintain optimal pressure at all times.

While your BMW iDrive will let you confirm your tire pressure is in an acceptable range, it doesn’t go any deeper than that; maybe it’s fine now, but only a hair away from dropping below safe operating pressure. By coding the RDC Safety system, you’ll be able to check the exact PSI of all your tires, straight from your BMW’s tire pressure sensors. Take all the guesswork out of maintaining your tires.

BMW Start & Stop button coding

BMW Start & Stop button coding

One thing that definitely stands in the way of a sporty everyday driving style is the BMW auto start stop function; how are you going to beat anybody off the lights if your engine has shut off? ;)

Fortunately, for those more interested in quarter miles than miles to the gallon, coding can give more flexibility to the BMW start stop disable option. After switching the start/stop feature on or off, your BMW will remember the previous setting next time you start up the car.

BMW Active Sound Design deactivation

BMW Active Sound Design deactivation

​​With all this talk of software changes cranking up your vehicle’s sportiness factor, it’s no surprise BMW themselves got in on the act. But the way they did is… controversial, to say the least.

BMW Active Sound Design (ASD) pumps fake engine noise through your BMW’s speakers, supposedly to make it feel more exciting to drive. That’s making up real car engine sounds, which have faded away as the mechanics get smoother and the vehicle cabin more isolated.

But if you’ve put the effort into picking the right exhaust and engine tune to get the sound you want, you probably want the real deal shining through.

In older vehicles, doing that would require custom wiring to bypass the ASD hardware in your BMW, but for vehicles with iDrive 7, it’s possible to code ASD out.

It’s also a sensible option if you’ve fit an aftermarket BMW amplifier, which is going to amplify the Active Sound Design as well as your music.

Where to code BMW?

OK, so you know what’s possible, now you only need to figure out how to add Sport Plus Mode to BMW, along with any other coding changes.

As coding requires making changes to your vehicle’s software, it’s always worth working with a skilled technician, who can guarantee you’re getting the new features you want. Then again, isn’t it easier to do everything at home, without having to drag your car to a workshop somewhere for an appointment?

With BimmerTech, you don’t need to choose – you can have your cake and eat it! Depending on your vehicle, you can either code your BMW in a remote coding session online with our technician, or even by simply plugging a USB drive with a custom prepared coding file into your BMW’s USB port. Either way, you’ll have your BMW feeling sportier, at a time that suits you, without going anywhere.

Find out how BimmerTech can help you code your BMW at home quickly and easily. You’ll hardly have to do a thing… except find a great driving road to test everything out on, of course ;)



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