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What is BMW M Sport?

BMW’s M Sport trim level is a popular choice with UK buyers and it’s available on nearly all the brand’s cars. Is it the trim level for you?

BMW has a rich motorsport heritage and, for its modern road cars, that athletic spirit has been distilled into a package that includes big wheels and pointy bumpers. Okay, so no one’s mistaking a 1.5-litre 1 Series for a full-bore racing car, but the M Sport trim includes some stylish features that are must-haves for many UK buyers.

What does BMW M Sport mean?

BMW’s M Sport trim is usually the highest and most generously equipped trim level on its cars – besides standalone performance versions. M Sport is BMW’s equivalent to Audi’s S Line and Mercedes’ AMG Line package, and typically sits above SE, Sport or xLine trim levels. You get sporty looks similar to BMW’s performance cars, without the higher running costs.

What is the difference between M Sport and normal BMWs, and how do you tell if a BMW is an M Sport?

As the name suggests, M Sport trim gives a sportier driving experience than lesser trim levels. An M Sport car typically looks meaner and more purposeful than SE or Sport versions with larger alloy wheels, and has small M badges on the front wings. Inside, it’s easy to tell if a BMW is an M Sport as you’ll find badges on the steering wheel and door plates. M Sport cars may also have blue interior trim or brake callipers.

Is M Sport the same as M3?

No, but it’s an easy mistake to make – M Sport aims to give you the looks of an M3 without the price tag or running costs. BMW hasn’t made it easy for customers – there are a lot of different trim levels and versions with very similar names. We’ll take you through the M hierarchy, using a BMW 3 Series as an example:

  • 320i Sport – a mid-range trim level sitting above SE. 320i models have a 2.0-litre petrol engine
  • 320i M Sport – a sporty-looking trim level with go-faster styling but no extra power
  • M340i/M340d – an ‘M’ followed by a couple of numbers and a letter are BMW’s halfway house performance models, sitting between M Sport and M cars. These cars, called BMW M Performance, offer much more power and speed than a standard 3 Series, but not quite as much as the full-fat BMW M3
  • M3 – the flagship 3 Series with pumped up styling and an astonishing amount of power. The most exciting and the fastest, but the highest running costs too

Is BMW M Sport worth it?

Often, yes. M Sport models are always in demand with UK buyers, and that can mean that they’re worth a little more than non-M Sport equivalents. In turn, you may even find that monthly finance payments are lower for an M Sport BMW than the same car in a lower spec thanks to the improved residual values. By extension, BMW M Sport cars are always easy to sell when the time comes when you want to get rid of it.

But, you might prefer the cleaner bumpers of SE and Sport models, and you might prefer to have smaller wheels and a more comfortable ride. In which case, a BMW M Sport car won’t be right for you.

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