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      02-11-2009, 08:21 AM   #1
tbucella
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Question M Dynamic Mode: driving Impressions?

[Note: This is a reposting of a thread I started on Bimmerfest to solicit a larger audience.]

I have ordered my M3 for delivery in late April. I wanted a car with only a few options for both cost and "purity" reasons (I want to hear the V8, not the stereo). So I elected to pass on the technology package; although I did order the electronic damper control. I keep thinking about the M dynamic mode of the DSC. The idea that I could push the car to the edge of its limits and still have a safety net is appealing. There is probably still a few days to change my ordered configuration.

So my question is: What are the driving impressions of folks who have used this feature aggressively? here are some specific questions:

1. Does it still seem to come on too early?

2. Does it only help in limited situations? If so when?

3. Does it come on too late?

4. Is it more abrupt than the normal DSC when it does come on? (Or is it smooth and seamless sending you where you pointed?)

5. Will it ignore wheel slip in a straight line and not shut down the throttle?

Normally I just turn off the stability control when it's time to have fun... but I have had some close calls.

Bottom line: is it of marginal utility and you'll turn it off anyway, or, is it a very worthwhile feature?

I would appreciate real world feedback from people who have really pushed their M3s as I have already read all of the BMW literature I can find on this (what little there is). I know that this feature has been around a while so any impressions from someone who has used this on an E46 would also be appreciated.
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      02-11-2009, 08:30 AM   #2
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I like having the M-dynamic mode as it offers me the opportunity to let the rear end slide a bit but still have a safety net. If I was an extremely accomplished driver then maybe I would be OK without it. I have had my M3 on the track with the local clubs a few times and can remember at least one instance where is probably saved me from losing the rear end. Not sure it is a must have, but I'm glad I have it.
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      02-11-2009, 09:35 AM   #3
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1. Does it still seem to come on too early?
Not that I have experienced. It still let's you step the back end out enough to smile, but not enough to make me think about it snapping around.

2. Does it only help in limited situations? If so when?
MDM is useful when you only want/anticipate a little slip, and you do not want the computer cutting power to the rear wheels, possibly causing u you unload your suspension

3. Does it come on too late?
I suppose this could be subjective. I have only had a small hand-full of times when it seemed to kick in when I didn't think I was anywhere near losing it. This was back over the summer, but since then I have been pleased w/ it not being intrusive. I was never able to diagnose why it came on then. A fellow E92 M3 driver had the same thing happen to him on the same stretch of road, so we chalked it up to gravel that we didn't see.

4. Is it more abrupt than the normal DSC when it does come on? (Or is it smooth and seamless sending you where you pointed?)
It's abrupt in the sense that it probably saved your ass, and you know it. Generally you will realize that you over-drove your skills before it kicks in anyway. You definitely will know when MDM kicks in.

5. Will it ignore wheel slip in a straight line and not shut down the throttle?
It seems to ignore wheel spin while accelerating in a straight line in my experience. This is occurring more often for me since I have been lazy in replacing my rear tires, but if I put MDM on and accelerate hard onto a highway it lets the wheels spin until they hook up without the power loss that a fully on DSC initiates.


Bottom line: is it of marginal utility and you'll turn it off anyway, or, is it a very worthwhile feature?
IMO I find it very worthwhile, and I spend most of my driving w/ in MDM mode. I'm a decent enough driver to know that I am not decent enough to leave it off all the time, and I use it somewhat as an instructional tool to learn my limits, how I got there, and what I can do in the future to improve. Also, it allows you to change the quickness of the wheel inputs (I am pretty sure this is only available w/ M-mode, but I may be incorrect), and you definitely notice this when driving the vehicle aggressively. My E46 M3 did not have a MDM mode (didn't know you could get it on an E46), I just had a sport button, and DSC off, so I can't speak to improvements over an older system. IMO it is a worthwhile option for most people, especially those that use it for both a DD and track car. That being said, I would prefer that it just came set-up in the more aggressive MDM mode full time, and the "softer" normal setting was eliminated. After all, who buys a M car for it's supple ride?
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      02-11-2009, 10:03 AM   #4
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LugNut said it quite well. Remember, DSC is an assist, not a net. Trailing throttle oversteer is still not caught by DSC. Isn't DSC part of the M Mode package? MDM is absolutely key to the experience.
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      02-11-2009, 11:47 AM   #5
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I'd like MDM to be a little more liberal.

That said, if you use MDM/TC and get used to it, it's dangerous to then turn it off, unless you're on a track. The problem I've found is, that you get used to driving WITH MDM, so turning it off can be dangerous, cause if/WHEN you forget it's off, you'll easily spin your car and easily wreck. In the middle of your spin you're thinking, wthe...oh SHT, I FORGOT I TURNED IT OFF!!! AHHH!!! Not that i've ever done that, or anything...

So, I say either get used to using MDM or ALWAYS turn it off and get used to driving with NO aids.
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      02-11-2009, 11:55 AM   #6
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I love MDM and I do not find it too intrusive. Its a great aid which helps you get closer to the limits of the car by reducing the chances of any dramas in the process.

I would definitely consider adding this

Quote:
Originally Posted by arr0gant View Post
So, I say either get used to using MDM or ALWAYS turn it off and get used to driving with NO aids.
Of course this depends on the driver and how confident he/she feels about switching the aids off. IMO unless someone is 100% confident with the power and handling of this car, I wouldn't advise to switch DSC off. I would say either use MDM (this will get you to know the limits) or full DSC on (for peace of mind / daily driving).
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      02-11-2009, 11:58 AM   #7
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lugnut hit it on the head.
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      02-11-2009, 12:07 PM   #8
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I love the MDM. I have it on all the time on full settings (plus dynamic) minus power and suspension.

Can't do without!!! My $0.02.
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      02-11-2009, 12:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gr8000 View Post



Of course this depends on the driver and how confident he/she feels about switching the aids off. IMO unless someone is 100% confident with the power and handling of this car, I wouldn't advise to switch DSC off. I would say either use MDM (this will get you to know the limits) or full DSC on (for peace of mind / daily driving).
You missed my point. You can be the best driver in the entire world, the problem is once you're used drivng with it on, if you turn it off during casual drivng you may and WILL forget you turned it off. You'll hit a turn hard, expecting it to save you, and halfway though the spin you realize you forgot that you turned it off. Pretty scary when this happens.
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      02-11-2009, 12:31 PM   #10
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I found driving without all these aids safer if you know what you are doing. I personally prefer that it come with all these aids off by default.
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      02-11-2009, 12:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arr0gant View Post
I'd like MDM to be a little more liberal.

That said, if you use MDM/TC and get used to it, it's dangerous to then turn it off, unless you're on a track. The problem I've found is, that you get used to driving WITH MDM, so turning it off can be dangerous, cause if/WHEN you forget it's off, you'll easily spin your car and easily wreck. In the middle of your spin you're thinking, wthe...oh SHT, I FORGOT I TURNED IT OFF!!! AHHH!!! Not that i've ever done that, or anything...

So, I say either get used to using MDM or ALWAYS turn it off and get used to driving with NO aids.
+1

The real world isn't perfect either, all it takes is a patch of water, dirt gravel, etc and you can spin.
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      02-11-2009, 02:46 PM   #12
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Thanks for the pointed and descriptive feedback. I think I'm going to my dealer today to discuss the switch.
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      02-11-2009, 02:51 PM   #13
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DSC totally on is fine for careless driving from a to b. MDM is nice for spiritual driving but interferes too much to feel like you are in control and too little to feel you are 'safe'. imho. So my opinion is for spiritual driving/drifting/sideways/trackdays:NO MDM but all aids off.
And for careless DD:All aids ON.

BUT the MDM is really helpful when wanting to sprint as fast as 'possible'(6MT)from 0-100 or something, it gives you a bit of wheelspin in between and doesn't cut the power off instantly in DSC mode. To sprint from 0-100 or whatever with all aids off is SO BLOODY nice but use a light right foot or otherwise it's wheelspin galore.
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      02-11-2009, 03:37 PM   #14
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I do not use MDM at all- my cars M button is setup (power, stiff, DSC off) MDM takes away power too much or too quickly for me.

Its a nice thing to have on the track but for street urban assaulting, i prefer it off.

I switch it on occasionally but then turn it back off saying Oh yeah, thats why i turned MDM off...

Its a love hate relationship for me- I just like the M button....
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      02-11-2009, 04:08 PM   #15
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If you track, and if you would like the additional safety net, MDM is very useful. It can teach you bad habits like mashing the throttle and not think about what you are doing though. Driving on a track with DSC off teaches you how to properly control the throttle. If you won't track the car, it can still be useful in icy/wet conditions, especially in the case of an emergency where you have to react in a drastic manner. At any rate, MDM does a pretty good job in keeping the rear from coming around. I find full DSC to be too intrusive and almost never drive with it on. It's too bad BMW is making folks buy an entire package just to have MDM.
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      02-11-2009, 05:11 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arr0gant View Post
You missed my point. You can be the best driver in the entire world, the problem is once you're used drivng with it on, if you turn it off during casual drivng you may and WILL forget you turned it off. You'll hit a turn hard, expecting it to save you, and halfway though the spin you realize you forgot that you turned it off. Pretty scary when this happens.
Probably I was too quick in reading your post - I now see where you are coming from.

Still I think that its all down to driving habit and how comfortable each one of us is at any given point in time. If you mostly drive with aids on (incl MDM) then its a bit unusual to "forget" you turned them off. Turning DSC off entails a 2 sec button push (or the push of the M button) and when someone does so, he/she does it for a specific purpose IMO - be it on track or at the street. Whenever I've personally turned DSC off I was totally focused in what I was doing. I can't imagine myself forgeting it is off - if the phone rings or I am to shift my attention to something else then aids are immediately back on (at least MDM). Maybe I am too disciplined, maybe I am not comfortable with the power & handling of my M3 yet, maybe driving at shitty roads with coefficient of friction next to zero make me feel more comfy with MDM on at least.

Anyway, for me MDM is great in exploring the limits and I feel it does help to get you closer and closer to the limit as the system alows for some sliding. You can still discipline yourself to drive at the limit with MDM so you can get the added benefit of geting back in the right track if for some reason the situation gets out of hand. Drifting and having fun is another story of course - in these cases you simply need to take all aids off and enjoy!

For me daily driving without aids is a no go - I just cant be bothered to be focused all the time. MDM is the way to go and occasionally DSC off when I feel like doing some trail dancing & stuff. I do care not to forget in what mode I am though
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      02-11-2009, 05:21 PM   #17
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MDM should be the default setting for stability/traction control for the M3. Why? Because the M3 is hampered by "DSC ON". Even in daily driving. Way too intrusive. If you can't control the M3 with MDM, then you are driving a car that perhaps is beyond your skills. DSC ON on a sports car like the M3 doesn't make sense to me, but I understand why BMW puts it in there - too many people buying M3s that don't know proper car control, etc.

At the track, I've never used any stability/traction control and don't plan to with my M3 if I decide to track it (it's leased so not sure yet, plus I have another "fun" car). I've taken a friends M3 last fall at LRP, and had DSC OFF. And with my prior cars (911, Cayman S), I always had PSM OFF. Why? Because I learned w/o any of these things in more rudimentary cars and most importantly they will eat up your brakes! DSC ON/MDM at the track will use your brakes, and that's the last thing you want.
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      02-11-2009, 05:27 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arr0gant View Post
You missed my point. You can be the best driver in the entire world, the problem is once you're used drivng with it on, if you turn it off during casual drivng you may and WILL forget you turned it off. You'll hit a turn hard, expecting it to save you, and halfway though the spin you realize you forgot that you turned it off. Pretty scary when this happens.
I just can't imagine this scenario for casual street driving - any street driving. I can maybe imagine it for someone who tracks a lot and is used to DSC ON or MDM all the time. And yeah, I can imagine them being too confident should they go back to the same track in the same condition and have DSC OFF. But that's a different thing. Good driving is about awareness and having good reflexes and car control skills. Car control becomes instinctual. If I have DSC ON, MDM, or OFF, and the car starts to spin I'm not going to react any differently. The car may react differently, but I'm not going to. So I don't see this or understand it. I do understand wanting to turn it OFF or at least to MDM. But that's something else as discussed above.
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      02-11-2009, 05:32 PM   #19
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God you guys crack me up. My point was that if you get used to driving it with aids on, then take them off, you can forget they're off. Then when you expect them to save you, they're not there.

On the "other" hand, if you turn them off every time you drive, you know they're not there to save you, so you're always more careful. Has no one experienced this?

Anyhow, I used to turn them off "sometimes." Then one time, I turned MDM/TC off and after about 30 minutes of cruzing, I FORGOT I had turned it off. When I expected MDM to kick in, I was halfway through A spin...and Did 180 and gained control of the car. Luckily nothing was there to hit....so be careful and mindful if/when you disable MDM/TC.
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      02-11-2009, 05:35 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbo73 View Post
MDM should be the default setting for stability/traction control for the M3. Why? Because the M3 is hampered by "DSC ON". Even in daily driving. Way too intrusive. If you can't control the M3 with MDM, then you are driving a car that perhaps is beyond your skills. DSC ON on a sports car like the M3 doesn't make sense to me, but I understand why BMW puts it in there - too many people buying M3s that don't know proper car control, etc.

At the track, I've never used any stability/traction control and don't plan to with my M3 if I decide to track it (it's leased so not sure yet, plus I have another "fun" car). I've taken a friends M3 last fall at LRP, and had DSC OFF. And with my prior cars (911, Cayman S), I always had PSM OFF. Why? Because I learned w/o any of these things in more rudimentary cars and most importantly they will eat up your brakes! DSC ON/MDM at the track will use your brakes, and that's the last thing you want.

I feel the same way, though at the moment where I live the roads in the morning are like a skating rink, icy roads that are covered in rain, it ain't fun on summer tyres.

When the weather was better I did see the point for MDM but personally I feel even it is too intrusive to fully enjoy the car's capabilities. You get the tail remotely sideways and power is cut and fun's over. When used as an educational tool for an average driver wanting to see the limits of their ability in a safe and controlled way it's great, you will learn how the car behaves near the limits of grip and start to know when grip breaks free. I wouldn't advise anyone new to the M3 and of average skill to turn off DSC completely without sampling MDM first.
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      02-11-2009, 05:51 PM   #21
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My impression of MDM, after driving the small course at the Performance Center.

Imagine playing a video game as being normal driving with DSC on. Imagine MDM as being God Mode. I would brake hard into a corner, ease into the apex, and then bury the throttle. It was ridiculous. Any excess spin would be tapered off with MDM. Often, I was catching it with very slight counter steer and having a blast as it corrected itself.
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      02-11-2009, 05:51 PM   #22
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I find MDM very useful in city situations where the road condition is not always consistent, like midway through a turn there's a lot of dust and I'm pushing it...

It saved me a few times. I think I'd feel that I'm missing something if I didn't order it.

You're worried about MDM being too intrusive (which I belive it's not, if you follow the idea lines at a track), but if you're not going to have it you might find yourself in the situation when you want the safety net (due to weather let's say) but you'll only have the full DSC which will become intrusive.

At the Intensive M School (European version) we drove quite hard on the Salzburgring track in rain with DSC fully on and unless you approached the turn wrong DSC would not even intervene. I know everyone will flame that DSC is too intrusive. DSC is intrusive when you provide EXTRA INPUTS. When you drive hard but SMOOTH it is not.

MDM is a step beyond that in what it lets you get away with. IMO it's one of useful feature of the car, being that it's not designed as a single purpose track day car.

I agree that it teaches you bad habits, but saving your car in one piece outweighs that if you're able to teach yourself to get used to no driving aid when the conditions permit.
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