The new M3 and M4 are more configurable than ever before.
In the latest of BMW's video series detailing various aspects of the new BMW M3 and M4, the automaker's M Drive developer walks through how the system works and how the driver can tailor it to their own demands. Jump in a modern M car and drive off, and you're going to have fun on a twisty road or a race track. After a while, though, you'll notice two different steering wheel-mounted buttons labeled "M1" and "M2." Most road-going cars have a Sport mode and maybe a Sport+, or the equivalents, but BMW approaches things slightly differently.
BMW's M1 and M2 buttons have default settings, but you also have a "Setup" button" in modern M cars. Pressing the Setup button gives you a menu in the iDrive screen for the subsystems, and from there, you can adjust the settings for the engine, transmission, steering, suspension damping, and even the brakes. However, the traction control, exhaust, and piped-in sound settings are controlled by separate buttons on the center console.
From there, you can set your M1 and M2 buttons as presets for your preferred setup. We recently drove the BMW M2 for a week and set the M1 button for the chassis comfort to be more aggressive than standard with the engine response set for fun daily driving and freeway runs. Then we made the M2 setting closer to a track-oriented setup by reducing intelligent driver aids but mostly kept the advanced safety systems on for backroad bombing.
The optional M Drive Professional feature adds three prescribed modes - Road, Sport, and Track. Sport mode brings up a more focussed gauge cluster, and the head-up display shows the RPM meter. Sport mode also turns off the intelligent driver assist systems and reduces parameters on the advanced safety systems. Track mode requires a long press as it takes the M3 and the M4 to their most extreme settings. It really is just for the track as it disables specific safety systems, including traction control, turns off the iDrive screen, and provides the sportiest gauges and aggressive engine and chassis settings.