BMW 7 Owners & Service Manuals

BMW 7 Series: Operation And Display

The driver can select the four main modes using the driving dynamics switch. These main modes are designated as follows:

  • Comfort
  • Normal
  • Sport
  • Sport+

After the vehicle is started, the driving dynamics control is always in "Normal" mode. When the driving dynamics switch is moved to the "Sport" position, the driving dynamics control initially changes to "Sport" mode and then to "Sport+" mode if this button is pressed again. If the driver moves the driving dynamics switch to the "Comfort" position, the mode changes in the opposite direction, i. e. from "Sport" to "Normal" mode.

The DTC button provides the driver with two additional modes:

  • Traction
  • DSC off

The "Traction" mode can be activated by briefly pressing the DTC button. This works irrespective of which driving dynamics control mode was previously active. "DSC off" is activated by holding the DTC button pressed for longer. The "Traction" and "DSC off" modes can be switched off by pressing the DTC button again.

The driving dynamics control subsequently returns to "Normal" mode. If the driver instead presses one of the two rocker switches at the driving dynamics switch to deactivate the "Traction" or "DSC off" modes, the driving dynamics control subsequently enters "Sport" or "Comfort" mode (depending on which rocker switch is pressed).

Each time the driving dynamics switch or DTC button is pressed this immediately prompts a reaction in the instrument cluster display. The changeover to "Sport" mode is shown below.

Dynamic Driving Systems
Fig. 32: Instrument Cluster Display - "Sport" Mode

After some time, unless the driving dynamics switch is pressed, a more compact version of the display for the driving dynamics control appears.

Dynamic Driving Systems
Fig. 33: Instrument Cluster Display - "Sport" Mode (More Compact Display)

Dynamic Driving Systems
Fig. 34: Instrument Cluster Display - "Traction" Mode

The two modes "Traction" and "DSC off" present a special case in terms of their display requirements. In addition to the text entry, the yellow DSC indicator and warning lamps must be activated.

Dynamic Driving Systems
Fig. 35: Instrument Cluster Display - "DSC off" Mode

NOTE: New symbols are now used for the yellow DSC indicator and warning lamp and the DTC button. The new DSC symbols used for the first time in the F01/F02 replace the symbols previously used.

Dynamic Driving Systems
Fig. 36: Identifying DSC Indicator And Warning Lamp On Instrument Cluster

Two different symbols were formerly used for the two states "DTC mode" and "DSC off" and were displayed in the instrument cluster. Since the launch of the F01/F02, only one symbol has been used for both states.

The new symbols are being gradually introduced in all newly developed vehicles. The reason for this are changes to legislation that require automobile manufacturers to produce a uniform display format.

This legislation also specifies that the text message "off" must be displayed as soon as the DSC function is restricted, as is the case in the "Traction" and "Sport+" modes.

When the DTC button or the driving dynamics switch is pressed, an assistance window appears at the same time as the instrument cluster display in the Central Information Display. The name of the newly selected mode appears there together with an explanatory text.

In the "Sport" mode the driver also has the option of configuring this. Assisted by the controller, the driver can choose whether to apply the "Sport" mode to the drive systems, or the dynamic driving systems or both.


Dynamic Driving Systems

Dynamic Driving Systems
Fig. 37: Dynamic Driving Control Display - Assistance Window, "Sport" Mode


  1. Text description of the area(s) in which "Sport" mode is applied (shown here: chassis only and/or dynamic driving systems)
  2. Visual description of the area(s) in which "Sport" mode is applied
  3. Menu for configuration of "Sport" mode

Modes and their effects

This chapter describes the effects of the individual modes in the drive and dynamic driving systems. As the individual systems are switched over together in a coordinated manner, this lends coherence to the overall behavior of the vehicle. This of course also means that meaningless combinations, such as a sports accelerator pedal characteristic combined with a highly comfort-oriented automatic gearbox shift program, are avoided and meaningful combinations for the mode are integrated instead.

This is why when compared to earlier vehicles, the configuration of individual systems can to a great extent now be uncompromisingly tailored to one mode. The driver therefore not only experiences coherent vehicle response characteristics in all modes, he/she will also sense the differences between the individual modes far more acutely.

The table below demonstrates this, particularly through the comparison between the "Normal" and "Sport" modes.


Dynamic Driving Systems

If the "Comfort" and "Normal" modes are compared instead, it is evident that the configuration differs in one dynamic driving system only: the Vertical Dynamics Control. This characteristic of the "Comfort" mode does not happen by chance and takes several peripheral factors into account:

  • Most drive and dynamic driving systems ensure that driving is sufficiently comfortable in the "Normal" configuration; this is something that BMW 7 Series customers would expect. The Servotronic already offers requirement-based power steering assistance with maximum comfort, for example.
  • The "Normal" configuration does not necessarily mean adherence to a single, defined system characteristic. The shift program of the automatic gearbox is only one example of how the current driving condition and driver's command are taken into account in order to bring the behavior of the relevant system into line with these requirements.
  • Most drivers relate a desire for greater comfort with the suspension and damping characteristics. This requirement is particularly relevant when driving on poor or uneven roads.

This means that the "Comfort" mode also embraces the philosophy of driving dynamics control which is to achieve a coherent vehicle response characteristic that meets the expectations of the driver.

The "Sport" and "Sport+" modes also differ in terms of the coordination of one specific dynamic driving system: the Dynamic Stability Control. In the "Sport" mode, a decidedly sports-oriented overall vehicle behavior is available to the driver.

Although it is assumed that many drivers would like to use this "Sport" mode, the DSC remains in normal operating mode and stabilizes the vehicle in a timely manner as required. The familiar intervention thresholds (slip, sideslip angle) that the driver has become accustomed to in the "Comfort" and "Normal" modes remain unchanged. This ensures that less proficient drivers are not taken by surprise when the DTC subsequently intervenes in the sportier DTC mode.

Only once a proficient driver deliberately selects the second sports mode "Sport+" will gentle drifts also become available due to the higher wheel slip and sideslip angle.

The two additional modes that the driver can select using the DTC button produce the effects on the drive and dynamic driving systems shown below.


Dynamic Driving Systems

Dynamic Driving Systems

The "Traction" mode is similar to the familiar DTC mode of the DSC in former BMW vehicles. All other drive and dynamic driving systems remain in their normal configuration which makes its main application clear: the purpose of "Traction" mode is to improve traction, e. g. when driving off on a loose subsurface. Sports driving takes a background role instead as the "Sport+" and "Sport" modes are available for this.

The stabilizing DSC interventions are switched off in the "DSC off" mode. Only the braking interventions that support traction are performed i. e. Electronic Differential Lock Control.

In this case, most other drive and dynamic driving systems are in the sports configuration. This means that the aim of "DSC off" mode is to support pure driving; a direct bond between the driver, vehicle and road.

Although initially it may seem astonishing that the accelerator pedal characteristic remains in the normal configuration in both "Traction" and "DSC off" modes, this setting is deliberate. When driving off on a loose subsurface and also when driving in a highly sports-oriented manner with the DSC switched off, it is especially important that the driver can apply engine torque extremely sensitively. This is much easier to do using a normal rather than a more sports-oriented accelerator pedal characteristic.

The sports-oriented accelerator pedal characteristic translates the accelerator pedal angle into a higher torque requirement at the engine. This torque requirement is then also put into effect more quickly by the engine control system.

As a result, the driver perceives the response characteristics of the drive, and therefore the vehicle, as more sports-oriented. However, the driver cannot use this to apply engine torque sensitively.


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