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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is my first post on this forum. I did a search and couldn't really find the answer I was looking for, so I figured a quick post might achieve the desired answer. I apologize in advance for the long post.

I currently own a 2002 M3 that I've owned for the past six years. Over the last few months of come to the conclusion that it's probably time to upgrade before the car starts having problems. After much careful research I came to the conclusion that the M5 would be nearly the perfect car for me.

I located a 2008 M5, 6 speed (I really wanted 6 speed not SMG) that seemed like a reasonable deal. My brother and I went and drove it. Everything seemed great, car was clean, everything checked out, etc. However, I was largely unimpressed by the power of the vehicle. On the drive home both my brother and I discussed how my E46 M3 seemed *more* powerful than the M5.

Clearly, this should not be the case. Right? Is there a setting that could explain this? I later spoke with the dealership and they told me someone had accidentally put 87 octane fuel in the car. Really stupid, but would that make THAT much of a difference in performance? Do I need to read the manual, go drive it again, and mess with the settings?

Any helpful tips would be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance!
 

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This is my first post on this forum. I did a search and couldn't really find the answer I was looking for, so I figured a quick post might achieve the desired answer. I apologize in advance for the long post.

I currently own a 2002 M3 that I've owned for the past six years. Over the last few months of come to the conclusion that it's probably time to upgrade before the car starts having problems. After much careful research I came to the conclusion that the M5 would be nearly the perfect car for me.

I located a 2008 M5, 6 speed (I really wanted 6 speed not SMG) that seemed like a reasonable deal. My brother and I went and drove it. Everything seemed great, car was clean, everything checked out, etc. However, I was largely unimpressed by the power of the vehicle. On the drive home both my brother and I discussed how my E46 M3 seemed *more* powerful than the M5.

Clearly, this should not be the case. Right? Is there a setting that could explain this? I later spoke with the dealership and they told me someone had accidentally put 87 octane fuel in the car. Really stupid, but would that make THAT much of a difference in performance? Do I need to read the manual, go drive it again, and mess with the settings?

Any helpful tips would be very much appreciated. Thanks in advance!
Did you hit the "M" or Power buttons? Or engage p500 or p500s through idrive?

Upon starting the car, it is automatically limited to a 400 hp map until you change it. My guess is you didn't unleash it's power :M5launch:
 

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You got hosed...... something is wrong, E60 M5 should snap your head back. Did you let the engine rev past 7K? Not a torque monster; rather a high HP engine, similar to E46 M3. Go drive another one and don't forget about the M button.
 

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Did you hit the "M" or Power buttons? Or engage p500 or p500s through idrive?

Upon starting the car, it is automatically limited to a 400 hp map until you change it. My guess is you didn't unleash it's power :M5launch:
What? I did not know that. makes me feel pretty dumb, i thought it was fast enough lol. :flag:
 

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I can GUARANTEE you were in P400(default mode) with the DSC full on. hiha With the 6 speed you have to go into the I Drive menu and set up your "M" button. Mine is set up for P500 Sport, and MDM traction setting. I go full DSC off when I wanna light up the tires or do some drifts/powerslides. The car feels like "molasses in winter time" when I have it in P 400.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Wow, instant response, thanks guys! I'm sure my ignorance is the problem here. I got in the car, started it up, and drove it with the salesman sitting shotgun. I didn't really mess with any of the settings. I assumed there would be some sort of sport button (like my current M3 has). However, all the button on the E46 M3 does is adjust the sensitivity of the gas pedal. It doesn't actually give the vehicle in more power at full throttle.

Now, if you are saying that there are settings within the I-drive that actually bring the vehicle from 400 HP to 500 HP, this could certainly explain my problem. It sounds like I need to go back and drive it again.

So let me make sure I am understanding this right... There is a M button, AND and an adjustment that needs to be made within the I-drive? Does the M button actually make a difference in full throttle horsepower? Thanks again!
 

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Wow, instant response, thanks guys! I'm sure my ignorance is the problem here. I got in the car, started it up, and drove it with the salesman sitting shotgun. I didn't really mess with any of the settings. I assumed there would be some sort of sport button (like my current M3 has). However, all the button on the E46 M3 does is adjust the sensitivity of the gas pedal. It doesn't actually give the vehicle in more power at full throttle.

Now, if you are saying that there are settings within the I-drive that actually bring the vehicle from 400 HP to 500 HP, this could certainly explain my problem. It sounds like I need to go back and drive it again.

So let me make sure I am understanding this right... There is a M button, AND and an adjustment that needs to be made within the I-drive? Does the M button actually make a difference in full throttle horsepower? Thanks again!


You set up the settings for the "M" button in the I drive. When you press the I drive button straight down for the "i" you will get a menu for settings. Go to "M Drive" there you will see choices for P 500 and P 500 Sport. P500 sport is for the snappier throttle reaction like the E46 M3 power button we both used to have . You can also set traction control under the M drive. I have mine for MDM (mid point) Then when you press the M button on the steering wheel you get the settings you set up. :flag:
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
You set up the settings for the "M" button in the I drive. When you press the I drive button straight down for the "i" you will get a menu for settings. Go to "M Drive" there you will see choices for P 500 and P 500 Sport. P500 sport is for the snappier throttle reaction like the E46 M3 power button we both used to have . You can also set traction control under the M drive. I have mine for MDM (mid point) Then when you press the M button on the steering wheel you get the settings you set up. :flag:
Thank you! Excellent information - it all makes sense now! :grinyes:

So, you had an E46 prior to your M5? Are you super happy you went with the M5? I don't wanna upgrade and then find myself missing the M3. I'm also a little worried about the cost of maintaining the M5, and potential very costly problems. Any advice?
 

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Thank you! Excellent information - it all makes sense now! :grinyes:

So, you had an E46 prior to your M5? Are you super happy you went with the M5? I don't wanna upgrade and then find myself missing the M3. I'm also a little worried about the cost of maintaining the M5, and potential very costly problems. Any advice?
Yes I had a 2002 Imola Red M3. Bought it brand new, special order. Had it from 5/2002 until 2/2009 Sold it with 72000 trouble free miles to
get my M5. My teenage boys legs were getting too long for the M3. I needed a "family" car, but I still needed a "M" So I got the best of both worlds ... A "M5" I have my sports car and family sedan all in one. I LOVE IT!!!!! The boys love the room and luxury. The wife loves the room luxury and color :hihi: So I am a very happy man. :) M5 is costly, but you have to pay to play. I had the balance of the new car warranty which just expired today actually. And 2 more years as a CPO. I got the car with 9000 miles on it. Car has been trouble free, and I have the CPO for major items. The car has been a joy to own these last 2 years. :M5launch:
 

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Find Mdrive and make sure the power setting is in P500 or P500 Sport and not in P400!
 

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The best way to drive the car, is to go into the iDrive's home screen (press menu 3 times and you will almost surely end up there), press down on the iDrive knob (as in toward the ground, like you are selecting something). From there, turn the knob to select M drive, and then you will find a list of settings. Power, Suspension, Active Side Bolsters if the car is equipped with them, and traction control settings (an SMG equipped car would also let you choose the transmission mode - but there is none for a 6MT, obviously).

Set the Power to P500S (the total "power" is the same - 507hp - but P500S has more instantaneous throttle response and the lead in is much more aggressive).
Set the suspension to Sport.
Set traction control to MDM or DSC off (for the 6MT's, originally you could not turn DSC completely off, it was either DSC on or MDM, however, BMW introduced a software update to allow the DSC to be completely turned off, if this is important to you, you may want to check it and make it a requirement that the update is done before you purchase the car, as some dealers refuse to do it for free and want to charge ridiculous amounts for it). In any case, I'd set it to MDM just in case since you are driving a car that isn't yours, and crashing it would be bad, so that safety net helps.
Set your active seats to Sport (optional really, but it's nice to experience them if the car is equipped).
If you happen to drive an SMG equipped car, you would want S5 or S6. S6 is only accessible with DSC Off, so if you are going to keep it in MDM or DSC On, S5 is as far as you will go. In the S settings, you will need to shift the car via the paddles or gear lever, it will not shift on its own (it will only downshift if your speed for the given gear is too slow - i.e., you can't go 5mph in 7th gear).

After that is done, press the M button on the steering wheel and you should see an icon on the dash light up in green. The icon is an M with a circle around it. If you set it to MDM, you should also see MDM light up in yellow. If you set DSC off, the DSC symbol will show up in yellow (it's an exclamation mark in a triangle with a circular arrow around the triangle). Also, you should see the LED light up in orange on the power button. If you set the suspension to sport, both LED's on the "EDC" button will also light up in orange.

After the car is warm and your full rev-range is unlocked, put your foot down and make sure you have open road ahead of you.

If your salesmen doesn't want you tweaking with the M Drive settings (typically, and rightfully, they keep them at the slower settings to prevent people from pressing M mode and losing control), then you can simply just press the power button (which should be near the shifter). The light will illuminate when you are in P500. Unfortunately, you can only access P500 this way, P500S can only be accessed via the M Drive.
 
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Wow, instant response, thanks guys! I'm sure my ignorance is the problem here. I got in the car, started it up, and drove it with the salesman sitting shotgun. I didn't really mess with any of the settings. I assumed there would be some sort of sport button (like my current M3 has). However, all the button on the E46 M3 does is adjust the sensitivity of the gas pedal. It doesn't actually give the vehicle in more power at full throttle.

Now, if you are saying that there are settings within the I-drive that actually bring the vehicle from 400 HP to 500 HP, this could certainly explain my problem. It sounds like I need to go back and drive it again.

So let me make sure I am understanding this right... There is a M button, AND and an adjustment that needs to be made within the I-drive? Does the M button actually make a difference in full throttle horsepower? Thanks again!
That should be interesting when you go back and drive the car in M mode again. The difference from P400 to P500S, you'll swear you're driving a different car.
 

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I had a 2002 E46 M3 for six years and during the last 15 months of ownership, I had it along with the M5. There is just no comparison. As everyone has pointed out, the M5 was probably in the default P400 mode and/or you did not get the opportunity to rev it past 5K. But even in P400, it's still faster and feels more powerful unless your M3 is modded.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The best way to drive the car, is to go into the iDrive's home screen (press menu 3 times and you will almost surely end up there), press down on the iDrive knob (as in toward the ground, like you are selecting something). From there, turn the knob to select M drive, and then you will find a list of settings. Power, Suspension, Active Side Bolsters if the car is equipped with them, and traction control settings (an SMG equipped car would also let you choose the transmission mode - but there is none for a 6MT, obviously).

Set the Power to P500S (the total "power" is the same - 507hp - but P500S has more instantaneous throttle response and the lead in is much more aggressive).
Set the suspension to Sport.
Set traction control to MDM or DSC off (for the 6MT's, originally you could not turn DSC completely off, it was either DSC on or MDM, however, BMW introduced a software update to allow the DSC to be completely turned off, if this is important to you, you may want to check it and make it a requirement that the update is done before you purchase the car, as some dealers refuse to do it for free and want to charge ridiculous amounts for it). In any case, I'd set it to MDM just in case since you are driving a car that isn't yours, and crashing it would be bad, so that safety net helps.
Set your active seats to Sport (optional really, but it's nice to experience them if the car is equipped).
If you happen to drive an SMG equipped car, you would want S5 or S6. S6 is only accessible with DSC Off, so if you are going to keep it in MDM or DSC On, S5 is as far as you will go. In the S settings, you will need to shift the car via the paddles or gear lever, it will not shift on its own (it will only downshift if your speed for the given gear is too slow - i.e., you can't go 5mph in 7th gear).

After that is done, press the M button on the steering wheel and you should see an icon on the dash light up in green. The icon is an M with a circle around it. If you set it to MDM, you should also see MDM light up in yellow. If you set DSC off, the DSC symbol will show up in yellow (it's an exclamation mark in a triangle with a circular arrow around the triangle). Also, you should see the LED light up in orange on the power button. If you set the suspension to sport, both LED's on the "EDC" button will also light up in orange.

After the car is warm and your full rev-range is unlocked, put your foot down and make sure you have open road ahead of you.

If your salesmen doesn't want you tweaking with the M Drive settings (typically, and rightfully, they keep them at the slower settings to prevent people from pressing M mode and losing control), then you can simply just press the power button (which should be near the shifter). The light will illuminate when you are in P500. Unfortunately, you can only access P500 this way, P500S can only be accessed via the M Drive.
I think I'll print this out when I go back in on Saturday. Thanks a million!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
That should be interesting when you go back and drive the car in M mode again. The difference from P400 to P500S, you'll swear you're driving a different car.
I had a 2002 E46 M3 for six years and during the last 15 months of ownership, I had it along with the M5. There is just no comparison. As everyone has pointed out, the M5 was probably in the default P400 mode and/or you did not get the opportunity to rev it past 5K. But even in P400, it's still faster and feels more powerful unless your M3 is modded.
I was able to rev to 8k a couple times. It felt *ok*, similar to my M3, but much quieter, thus maybe seeming slower? Anyway, I'm excited to go drive it again. I'm gonna take the wife and try and let the guy let me take it out without him. I'll then likely make an offer pending inspection by my mechanic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Though off topic from the original post, it seems there are lots of folks on here who have owned E46 M3's and then upgraded to E60 M5's. If this is you, how would you compare the repair costs between the two? Obviously I'll spend more on gas, 10 spark plugs vs. 6, etc. I'm more worried about general trouble, things breaking, engine problems, tranny problems (going with 6 speed, as I heard it was more reliable). Any comments on this? Or any existing helpful threads that may address this issue? Thanks again!
 

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Yes I had a 2002 Imola Red M3. Bought it brand new, special order. Had it from 5/2002 until 2/2009 Sold it with 72000 trouble free miles to
get my M5. My teenage boys legs were getting too long for the M3. I needed a "family" car, but I still needed a "M" So I got the best of both worlds ... A "M5" I have my sports car and family sedan all in one. I LOVE IT!!!!! The boys love the room and luxury. The wife loves the room luxury and color :hihi: So I am a very happy man. :) M5 is costly, but you have to pay to play. I had the balance of the new car warranty which just expired today actually. And 2 more years as a CPO. I got the car with 9000 miles on it. Car has been trouble free, and I have the CPO for major items. The car has been a joy to own these last 2 years. :M5launch:
Also had 02 m3 and switched for the same reasons
 

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Hi Guys, im new to this forum, but i just wanted to say, that i too had a e46 m3 and swapped to the E60 M5, and the power diff in P500 is amazing.....like many people say, drive it like u have stolen it will put a huge smile on your face.
 

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You need to get the revs up over 5000 at least if not 6000 or 7000 to experience the really power and torque the M5 has to offer.
 
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