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BMW M Sport: What is it and is it worth it?

September 07, 2022 by

If you’ve had your eye on a new BMW, the chances are you’ve come across M Sport.

This is a trim offered across several models to bring a sportier edge. Is it worth the asking price, though? This guide explains.

What is BMW M Sport?

BMW’s M division engineers the firm’s high-performance cars, such as the M3 and M5.

The ‘M’ stands simply for motorsport, and this has spawned M Sport trim, which brings some of the sporty styling cues from M cars into BMW’s more mainstream models, without adding more power, or costing anything like as much as a proper M model. Audi does something similar with its S line trim, while Hyundai has N line, and Volkswagen offers R-Line.

What do you get with BMW M Sport?

Exterior

For most people who go for M Sport models over the SE or Sport specs, the styling is the most attractive thing. M Sport cars look much sportier than ‘regular’ BMWs, yet still have the same engine options for you to choose from.

On M Sport cars, the air intakes on the front end are larger and seem upturned, creating a meaner, ‘scowling’ appearance. Certain styling details – such as the wing mirrors and the trim wrapped around that iconic ‘kidney’ grille – have been turned jet black on some models as well. They are also ‘M’ badges dotted all over the place, including on the car’s wings and wheels.

Speaking of which, the wheels on M Sport cars are usually larger. On the 1 Series, going for the M Sport trim makes the wheels 18-inches in diameter, as opposed to the 16-inch ones that are fitted to the SE car. With larger alloys and lower-profile tyres, these certainly look racier than what other BMW trims get as standard.

It’s not all style over substance, though. M Sport models’ bigger wheels help improve how athletic the car feels; they cope more successfully with the shifting weight through corners than smaller units with their higher-profile tyres.

Another performance-orientated touch is the M Sport’s sports suspension. This lowers the car between 10mm and 20mm and, in general, stiffens things up.

Interior

Inside your M Sport model, you’ll discover yet more unique ‘M’ badging. This can be found on the steering wheel, seatbelts and your car keys.

Your front seats will be upgraded to sports seats, which hold you in place more effectively and stop you from tumbling all over the cabin during hard cornering. Depending on model, the seats will often be heated, too, adding a bit of comfort alongside all of those sport-focused touches. A thicker M Sport steering wheel finishes things off inside.

Equipment and tech

BMW M Sport is predominantly a styling-based trim, so does not as a rule bring equipment upgrades. But while changes vary from model to model (and are also updated over time, so check BMW’s online configurator to be sure), you should expect some changes to the interior finishes if you go for an M Sport model.

An M Sport 5 Series, for example, gets ‘Aluminium Rhombicle Smoke Grey with highlight trim finisher Pearl Chrome’ over the SE model’s ‘Aluminium fine cutting with Pearl Chrome highlight’ – a small difference, maybe, but don’t underestimate the effect a different material finish can have on a cabin’s ambiance.

Latest BMW offers

BMW M Sport driving experience

The stiffer suspension that M Sport brings reduces body roll during cornering, for a more engaging driving experience, but it can also make a car less forgiving over bumps, for a less comfortable overall experience. The M Sport steering wheel also has a slightly thicker rim than the standard item, so it feels different in your hand (some find it too thick, others like the sense of solidity it brings).

Do note that on some models you can opt for M Sport trim, but deselect the M Sport suspension element it brings, giving you a standard suspension setup but with all other M Sport trappings. This is currently possible with the 3 Series, though not the 5 Series.

BMW M Sport range

Virtually every BMW model is available with an M Sport trim. Key models include:

BMW 1 Series

M Sport price from: £29,920

If you’re looking for a stylish hatchback, the BMW 1 Series has you covered. This is the smallest car from the brand but offers plenty of space for the whole family despite that.

BMW 3 Series

M Sport price from: £39,055 (all prices correct as of Sept ’23)

The BMW 3 Series has long been a staple of the manufacturer’s lineup. This mid-size option is one of the best, combining excellent handling and comfort into one.

BMW 5 Series

M Sport price from: £44,980

Few big saloons can do it better than the BMW 5 Series. This executive offering is one of the most capable all-rounders on the market.

BMW i4

M Sport price from: £54,980

Despite being BMW’s first effort at an electric saloon, this i4 feels like a well-established part of its lineup. Based on the 4 Series Gran Coupe, it carries over that car’s positives with the addition of electric power.

BMW X3

M Sport price from: £48,370

If you’re looking for a roomy SUV, the BMW X3 is worth a look. It’s properly comfortable and easy to drive — ideal for a high-riding urban cruiser.

You will find M Sport on almost every other BMW model (save the proper M cars, which get their own bespoke trim), from the family-friendly BMW 2 Series Active Tourer to the new BMW i7 electric luxury car.

Is it worth buying an M Sport BMW?

If you’re looking to make your BMW quite sporty looking, M Sport seems a no-brainer. It’s standard on some models such as the sporty 2 Series coupe, but adds extra cost to other cars. M Sport is about £2,000 more than SE on the BMW 3 Series, and around £3,500 extra on the 5 Series.

That said, M Sport models tend to ride a little harsher because of their lower suspension, so if sheer comfort is a concern, you may want to consider other trims, such as Sport or SE.

FAQs: BMW M Sport

How do I know if my BMW is an M Sport?

M Sport models can be easily identified by their sportier-looking body kits and a plethora of M badging both inside and out of the car.

What is the BMW M Sport Plus package?

M Sport Plus is available on certain models. This adds some extra goodies, typically including new alloy wheels and improved brakes.

Where are BMW M Sport cars made?

BMW M Sport models are made in the same factory as the rest of their respective model options. Most of BMW’s European market models are made in Germany.

How much more expensive is the M Sport trim?

The price of M Sport trim varies from model to model. It’s standard on some cars, such as the 2 Series coupe, but adds around £2,000 to the cost of a 3 Series, roughly £3,500 to a 5 Series, but just £1,500 or so to a BMW i4.