Whenever one thinks of Launch Control, a connection to an automatic gearbox is instantly made. That’s because Launch Control has been traditionally a feature of automatic gearboxes over the years. However, in recent years, we’ve seen manual gearboxes fitted with such aides as well. The new M3 and M4 models also get it and it’s supposed to help you put the power down whenever launching.
But how does it work? The folks at BMW put together a short video showcasing the way it’s supposed to be activated and used. In order to engage Launch Control, you need to press the DSC button once. This will activate MDM mode. You then put the car in first gear and press the gas pedal to the floor. While keeping the gas floored your car’s instrument cluster will display a two-stage process.
First, a message will pop up saying ‘Preparing Launch Control’. Then, once that message disappears, you’ll get a new one saying ‘Launch Control Active’. This is when you get a 5-second window to ease off the clutch and actually launch the car. Once you set off, the instrument cluster will tell you when to shift for the best results. The boost pressure is also kept so that you can go as fast as possible.
That may sound easy in theory but actually putting the power down efficiently is trickier than that. Furthermore, hitting the perfect shift every time is a whole new ordeal. Nevertheless, having Launch Control is bound to help get better times than actually launching the car without any sort of help.
The MDM mode should also be of use in this situation, compared to simply turning the DSC off. If you do decide to do that though, you’ll be able to engage the Smokey Burnout function which was introduced on the previous generations for the first time.