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  1. #1
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    M-Sport vs. Sport?

    I'm shopping in California for an E39 530i. Can someone point me toward the list of features in the Sport package vs. the M-Sport package? (I've searched the forum archives and the info is hiding amid the gazillion messages that come up.) Thanks!

    (Sorry if this doesn't come from my Roadfly account. Somehow when I try to post a message I get the Login link up top again, and I have to fill in the Author and Email fields by hand. I've tried Firefox, Chrome, and IE, with the same results.)--
    Bob Sutterfield
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    Re: M-Sport vs. Sport?

    People like to interchange the terms Sport, M-Sport, M-Teknik/Technik, M-Teknik II and all kinds of things. There *is* a difference, but a lot of people just talk up their cars and feel the need to put M in there.

    I'm not an expert on every model year and option package available globally but I recall particularly in 2003 the M sport was available everywhere except the US and was basically all the M5 trim, Style 37 M-Parallels, M5 front and rear valences and a never-before-seen factory single pipe rear exit exhaust. It also had special suspension tuning and a slightly lower ride height. Here in Canada both "sport" and "M Sport" were for sale in 2003.

    If you really want to know what's going on with the car, you should have the owner snap a copy of the option seat usually found under the rear seat bottom.


  3. #3
    Crusader
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    Correction ...

    The 2003 540 M-Sport WAS available in the US with all the additional trimmings. I think it had "M-Sport II" suspension, whatever difference that was compared to the 540 SP of previous years other than the unique 18" rims.

  4. #4
    ExAlfa
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    M-Sport is 2003 version. Others are Sport.

    For 2003 BMW did away with Sport and offered M-Sport, which included the shadowline trim, chrome grille, suspension tuning, 18" wheels, sport seats, and steering wheel of the Sport version along with some additional stuff. The bumper covers were M5-like (exceptions being a cross-bar in the front center intake opening and a single straight-out exhaust tip rather than a dual exhaust like an M5), the rear diff had a lower ratio, auto-trans cars had a high-stall torque converter, the rear wheels were wider, the headliner was dark alcantara, and there were M-badged door sill guards. I don't know whether M-Sports had chromed guage rings. There may be more.

    M-Sport was a 2003-only package, with Sport available 2002 back to 1998.

  5. #5
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    Re: Correction ...

    I remember hearing everyone complaining about not being able to buy it in the US at the time it was for sale. Other than those reports, I have no other specific source of information. Now that I'm thinking about it, I also thought I remembered people writing that you could get it through the Individual program.

    Again, it's all recollection from 7 years ago.


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    Re: M-Sport is 2003 version. Others are Sport.

    Was the M-Sport package the same on 530i and 540i?

    I've seen some 530i cars with the Sport package (shadowline trim) that had seats with adjustable thigh bolsters (similar to those on the E28 M5 and 535iS), and others with seats that were apparently single-piece. Was that one of the differences between Sport and M-Sport?--
    Bob Sutterfield
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    read exAlfas's post

    The MSport was only available (in the USA) in 2003. Ask us 1000 or so people that have one!

    dave
    03 540i6

  8. #8
    Steve
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    Re: M-Sport vs. Sport?

    In 2003, BMW sold a 540i with an m-sport option. I am not sure how it compares with previous year's sport options, but here is a very good writeup on the 2003 m-sport by Ken Rockwell. Some have pointed out some minor discrepancies in Mr. Rockwell's writeup, but I think it does a pretty good job of explaining the features of the m-sport package.

    I have this particular model and I absolutely love it. Coming from a '97 540iA without a sport package, the 2003 is a fire breathing dragon on rails. It is so good, in fact, that I toy with the idea of finding another one with low miles and storing it until mine wears out ;-) That way, I can continue driving a real BMW ultimate driving machine instead of what BMW is selling in the F10.



  9. #9
    Steve
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    oops..here is the link to the writeup


  10. #10
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    Re: read exAlfas's post

    In Canada we had Sport and M-Sport available in 2003. I saw them side-by-side in the showroom. Yes, "M-Sport" (a marketing term) was only available in 2003 but when you actually look at option sheets, "sport" is called "M Sport" by BMW internally.

    I think the E39 marketed as the "M Sport" has "M Sport II" suspension (as Crusader said) and then all the cosmetic trimmings of the M5 plus style 37s.

    Based on the number I see around, there's more than 1000 in Canada, but I don't have any hard figures. The M Sport variants to appear a little "lower and tighter" than the Sport. On the other hand, all of the aftermarket spring/shock vendors often say things like "not for M Sport II" so if you have one you're probably railroaded into dealer only suspension parts.


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    530i specifics if possible please!


  12. #12
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    Re: 530i specifics if possible please!

    I have an '03 530i with Sport, Premium and Cold weather packages. I have all the orig documentation of what came with it if that's what you're interested in, which I can get later. You want to know things like, shadowline trim, 17" wheels, sport suspension, M steering wheel, etc.?

    Viv
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    AT/PP/SP/CWP/Xenon/Folding Rear Seats/Ultimate Cup Holders/Stongard Headlamp Covers/Stealth rear signal bulbs/50% tint/Saab trunk lid handle/PS2s/Aux. adapter/BMWCCA Member/With a Pink Panther on the mirror/E34('91 525i) retired

  13. #13
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    Re: 530i specifics if possible please!

    I have already decided I want a 530i with 5-speed and Sport. I'm indifferent on Premium and Cold Weather.

    I know how to distinguish Sport from non-Sport: shadowline vs. chrome trim is the easiest to spot in a Craigslist ad, and (unlike 17" Sport wheels) hard to install on a non-Sport car. But I've seen a few 530i ads claiming M-Sport, and I'm curious whether the M-Sport feature list (above normal Sport) is sufficient to further narrow my selection criteria. For example, movable thigh bolsters like on the M5 (if that's a M-Sport feature that's not part of the Sport list) would be a big positive, probably not enough by themselves to push me into the narrower search, but a useful visual cue to the presence of the rest of the package.

    Thus my question: What are the differences between a 530i M-Sport vs. a 530i Sport? And what's the telltale visual clue that I can see in an online advertisement photo?

  14. #14
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    Re: 530i specifics if possible please!

    I think some of the telltales of the MSport (as we saw in Canada anyways):

    M5-style front valence
    M5-style rear valance (including a factory rear-exit exhaust which isn't on any other E39)
    Alcantara headliner
    M door sills
    M logo stuff all over the inside
    18" Style 37s

    Every M-Sport I've seen also somehow looks like a smaller car. I think it's a combo of the rear valence shape and a lower ride height.

    A lot of things like specifically bolstered seats were probably "sport" options but "M Sport" standard. That could be true of the entire package except maybe the bumpers, of course. As I said, in Canada we had "Sport" and "M Sport" for sale right beside each other in 2003. The clues were bumpers and style 37s at that time.


  15. #15
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    Re: 530i specifics if possible please!

    USA 2003 530 sport models did not have

    M5 style bumpers
    18" wheels

    Viv could tell you everything you need to know if you are nice to her!

    Adjustable thigh bolsters are on all sport seats, not "msport" specific. Although some sport package cars do not have sport seats. Some wider people find sport seats uncomfortable.

    dave
    03 540i6

  16. #16
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    Re: 530i specifics if possible please!

    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe all of the true sport seats were also unpowered. Wide or not, some people want power/memory seats :)

    Honestly I'd give a moderately significant body part to have cloth, unpowered sport seats with alcantara inserts about now. :) My model year (1998) was the first of the E39 sport option and it came with "standard" non-sport powered leather seats along with the standard four spoke (but heated) steering wheel.


  17. #17
    ExAlfa
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    No, Sport seats have thigh bolsters but...

    some Sport buyers would order the comfort seat, like my car has. Comfort seats have a lumbar support that inflates and adjusts up/down. They also have a mid-seat pivot. It took forever to get the seat comfortable for me. I wish I had sport seats.

    Sport cars have one of two bumper covers that have a wide intake slot with the fog lights at the ends of the slot. M-Sport cars all have the M5-like bumper cover with a large intake comprising the center third of the cover, with fog lights mounted apart from the intake opening. It's a cool looking cover but offers a little less brake cooling than the non-M5 cover.

    The biggest difference between the 530 and 540 sports is roughly a gazillion pound feet of torque. Measured with a gazillionometer the difference can be equated to the difference between a Mona Lisa smile and a cheek-cracking eye-squinting grin. Just sayin'...

  18. #18
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    my sport seats are powered

    and have memory.

    dave
    03 540i6

  19. #19
    ExAlfa
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    I'm with you. I'm following the same plan...

    of replacing my '98 540iA Sport with an '03 540i M-Sport. Problem is my car runs like a bull at 216k miles and has a pile of Dinan stuff that give it a better suspension and sound than an M5. The Schnitzer wheels will go on the new car. Maybe this spring.

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    Mine2, in 2000 we couldn't get a heated (m)

    steering wheel if you ordered the sport package.
    I wonder why Canada got to order more options than us here in the States?

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