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Moderator Emeritus
915 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
OK since there's an abundance of new members who cannot be bothered to read their manuals or search the forum properly I decided to put together another one of my famous photo-guides to settings up Launch Control. I have even gone to the effort of creating a downloadable PDF for you to save and print.

Launch Control Instructions
Large Version (3MB - high quality photos)

Launch Control Instructions
Small Version (250k - low quality photos)

[WARNING - the car keeps a count of the number of times you have performed Launch Control and this information is accessible by the dealer, so if you suddenly need a new clutch after a 2000 miles and your LC count is on 50 there may be warranty problems]

If you are in D1 you need to push the gear lever to the right to switch from Automatic “D” mode to manual “S” mode.

You should now be in S mode and the display should be showing a large number 1. Press the gear select button

to select S5 as shown in the image below:

You now need to switch from 400bhp mode to 500bhp mode by pressing the Power Button

The power button light should now be illuminated.

Next you need to disable traction control (DSC) by pressing the DSC button.

You will be presented with a warning on the dash to indicate that the DSC is now switched OFF.

Once you have disabled DSC you will notice that a 6th gear change speed settings now appears on the dash as a selectable option.

Press the up side of the gear selection button to switch from S5 to the newly available S6.

Your dash should now look like this, with a warning for DSC off (the small exclamation mark “!”) and you should be in 1st gear in S6 (count the little volume bars...1..2..3..4..5..6!!)

Make sure you are in S6 otherwise Launch Control will not work.

That’s pretty much all you need to do at this stage.

Personally I like to put the Electronic Dampening Control on hardest setting but some people debate whether its better to have EDC set to comfort to allow the car’s weight to shift towards the rear hence giving more down force over the back wheels which will be fighting for grip.
  • no lights = comfort / soft
  • 1 light = normal / firm
  • 2 lights = sport / hard

OK you need to find yourself a clear stretch of tarmac.


When you are ready bring the car to a complete stop.

Grab the gear level firmly with one hand and the steering wheel with the other.

With your foot on the brake, press and hold the gear lever forwards.

That has now engaged launch control.....
Whilst keeping the gear lever pressed forwards, take your foot off the brake and press the accelerator (gas) pedal to the floor.

If you done everything correctly your revs should start to rise but you shouldn’t move anywhere. If the car engages the clutch and begins moving forwards you’ve gone wrong somewhere.

You must press the pedal down all the way! You can see in the two lower images alongside, if you think you’ve pressed the pedal all the way down you should feel a “click”. If you’ve not felt the “click” press a little harder until you feel it.

If you have a USA spec’d M5 I’m afraid you have a “crippled” version of launch control and the revs will only rise to and should sit on 1500rpm.

For the rest of the world, the revs will rise to 4000 and sit there waiting....



...we have lift off!

USA - you need to change gear manually at the redline [some have suggested pushing the gear lever to the right immediately after launching to switch to D mode to make the car change for you but other's report back it will over-ride this and switch you back to S mode]

UK & others - keep your foot planted, launch control will take care of perfect shifts for you at the redline.

NOTE for non-USA models:
The revs for launch control default to 4000rpm, if you want to higher or lower the launch rpm (wet tarmac, experiments, etc) you can press forwards or backwards on the cruise control level and the rpm will rise of fall by a few hundred each time.

Form memory I think you can choose between 3000rpm and 5000rpm.

That is all you need to know about Launch Control on the BMW M5 and BMW M6 with SMG.

The Easier Way
Now for those who think all that all seems to complicated or time consuming, keep reading. If you want to access Launch Control in a hurry then you can preset all the settings above to your magical M-button on the steering wheel, here’s what you need to do:

On the iDrive home page press the controller down to select the information sections “i”.

Along the top you will see a section called MDrive. If this option is not available it might be because you need the ignition in stage II or alternatively the engine on.

Select MDrive and then click.

Now move the iDrive controller to select the DSC setting first.

Once you click on DSC you are present with a sub menu asking you to select:
Off (you want this one)
M Dynamic mode.

You want to select OFF.

Next you want to move the iDrive controller to select SMG Drivelogic mode.

In here you can select “D” or “S” mode along with gear change speed:
“1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6”
Option 6 may be grayed out and unavailable until you’ve set the DSC setting to OFF.

You want to select S - 6 in here.

You can also select the EDC settings for the suspension to your preference, you have a few choices:


I personally choose Sport for the hardest ride.

You can now exit the iDrive settings menu.

To start launch control now is a 4 step process:

  1. Press M-button on wheel
  2. Hold gear lever forward
  3. Bury throttle
  4. Release gear lever.

Click here for gallery of all the images.

Here's the result of Euro LC:
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1,763 Posts
WOW, I must say I am THOROUGHLY impressed! I have a 6 speed, but wanted to read it just because it was so well done! You're the man! I think I can speak on behalf of everyone saying thank you for all the hard work you put into this one...

70 Posts
Very nice write up! About 3 weeks till I can use the information I
have gleaned from this forum. The car is on the boat :biggrinbounce:
Thanks again for the fine post :cheers:

967 Posts
you forgot, that with us models you can throw it in D immediately after launching, and it will shift on it's own :cheers: i just did this with my little brother in the car, and he told my mom, i hope i don't get grounded

<DT class=smallfont>Age: 17</DT>


59 Posts
thank you Scoopz

Now that was really nice of you to start this thread. I am a new member, I use the search option and read and still reading the manual but this thread is great. Thanks again for your efforts. I am sure i will try it one day.

1,286 Posts
Another job well done Scoopz! :M5thumbs:

But now I must comment on the 17.9 ........

You're not doing enough launches!
:M5launch::M5launch::M5launch: :hihi:

Moderator Emeritus
915 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you all for the comments, they're much appreciated.

<TABLE class=tborder style="BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px" cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=6 width="100%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR title="Post 1256571" vAlign=top><TD class=alt1 align=middle width=125>princealidds</TD><TD class=alt2>...when you have lift off, how much tire smoking should I expect
...</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>Launch control is designed to give you an optimum launch from a standing start, since tyre smoking generally means loss of traction and wheels spinning its not deemed optimum by the car's computer and will try to minimise any spinning. So the answer is very little smoke using launch control.

<TABLE class=tborder style="BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px" cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=6 width="100%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR title="Post 1256600" vAlign=top><TD class=alt1 align=middle width=125>B18C5Rodney</TD><TD class=alt2>you forgot, that with us models you can throw it in D immediately after launching</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>I'll update the original post with this info.

<TABLE class=tborder style="BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px" cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=6 width="100%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR title="Post 1256714" vAlign=top><TD class=alt1 align=middle width=125>M CRISIS</TD><TD class=alt2>But now I must comment on the 17.9 ........
You're not doing enough launches!

</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>You're not confusing the trip odometer (17.9miles) for mpg are you? I could only dream of getting 17.9 mpg :haha:. Plus I value my warranty too much hence I've only done LC 3 or 4 times.

<TABLE class=tborder style="BORDER-TOP-WIDTH: 0px" cellSpacing=1 cellPadding=6 width="100%" align=center border=0><TBODY><TR title="Post 1256720" vAlign=top><TD class=alt1 align=middle width=125>MGUY</TD><TD class=alt2>they forgot to mention " After 15 launches stop by BMW dealership and purchase new clutch"
which is not covered by Warranty probably</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>Thanks, forgot to warn people about that one. It's now added to the original post (not added to the pdf though).

296 Posts
I did it for the first time in my dads car on Sunday. It was a blast :)
When your Dad wonders why he needs to spend $2200 on new tires after only 4 months, you can explain why........

BTW... If I caught my 16 year old(who isnt even alowed on my side of the garage) doing a LC in my beast, he'd learn a whole Universe of trouble!!!grrrrrrr
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7,403 Posts
Great detailed write up. Should make it a sticky also.
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