BMW 530i - Adding the BMW "Sports Mode" Button Hack




This instructable will uncover the option to add the BMW sports driving mode on all 2006 BMW 530i's with the E60 chassis. The sports driving mode was never offered for this particular model, even though they classify this car model as a sport model, you couldn't get the actual sport driving mode. How this works, and how it's possible, is because this model and other E60 chassis BMW's use the same engines, with the same electronics. Since different models use the same chassis, a lot of the options will be the same. Certain options are not offered on lower end models, even though the capabilities are there. I have only done this hack on a 2006 BMW 530i with the E60 chassis, but I believe this button can be added to any E60 chassis, in the 5series models, in the "I" class.


Screwdriver (Phillips)
Pry Tool or flathead screwdriver
(2) Bushing Contact With Wire Lead (
Momentary button/switch of your choice
18 to 22 gauge wire
Wire Strippers/Cutters
Soldering Iron
Heat shrink

Quick Scope of Work:

What we are going to be doing is actually very simple. We will be taking the dash apart to get to a harness that is connected to the ecu , once we have the dash/ecu out and the back exposed we will be adding two pins to a harness, which will be connected to a momentary switch or button of your choice. After the two wires are inserted in the harness you need to figure out where you want to mount your button/switch. Run wires and button to the desired spot, and mount switch. Put everything back together in reverse order as you took it apart. Now to make sure it works, start your car, push the button you installed and make sure the word sport comes on in the info center in between your gauges.

And there you have it.

Step 1: Remove Dash Piece

Start on the right hand side of the center strip piece. Use a pry tool or a flat head screw driver and insert it in between the strip and the dash and pry it away from the dash, towards yourself. It might take a little more force to get it started than you think. Once you broke the center piece free on that side, work your way to the other side of the strip, pulling the piece towards you. When you feel a section breaking loose move down some on the strip. Once you have broken the whole piece loose, pull it out at an upward angle, like your pointing the vents upward. Once you have the piece out, there is going to be a wire harness you need to unhook.

Step 2: Unplug Harness

There will be a small tab that needs to be pressed in order to unplug it.

Step 3: Remove Screws

Arrows are pointing to the screws needed to be removed. Once those screws are removed carefully grab the top of that piece and pull it towards yourself till it is broken free. Next grab the bottom of that piece, its one piece down to the ashtray section, and pull that out till it is broken free. Put your thumb in that empty pocket right above the ashtray and your other fingers on the side of the center column, and the slid that pocket out using your thumb. Once you have the bottom free, you will notice that it doesn't have enough room to completely come out plus we need to remove some wire harness's.

Step 4: Harness Removal (top)

Now you need to remove the three top harnesses. The one to the left has tabs that need to be pushed in order to pull it out. The middle and right one has a button that needs to be pressed in order for the top slide piece to slide over to release the harness. Once those top three harnesses are removed, in order to get to the bottom three you will need to turn the car on, not started just on, so that you can pull the gear shifter down all the way. Now pull the console piece out enough to be able to work with the bottom three harness.

Step 5: Harness Removal (bottom)

The bottom 3 harness plugs are removed in the same fashion as the top three plugs. The middle bottom plug is the plug we will be adding our two wires to. Once you have all three plugs removed take the center console piece completely out. And then put the car back into park and and turn off the car.

Step 6: Middle Plug

Now it's time to get to business. We will be working with the middle harness for this hack. We first need to remove the adaptor shell that is around the plug part itself. To do this you will need to press in the tab that is on the side of the adaptor shell (there is an arrow pointing at the tab in the picture) and simply pull on the wires to pull it out of the adapter piece.

Step 7: Adding the Pins

You will be adding the two pins once you have the harness exposed. It doesn't matter which ones you plug into the harness as long as your put your two wires in pin slot 8 and 10. They will be empty, so you won't be removing anything, just adding. Now this is when you need to find a place to mount your button. Once you have found a location, mount it, then solder two wires to the momentary switch, making sure you solder one wire to the common leg, and one to the "normally open" leg (NO). Also you should use either heat shrink or some electrical tape to put around the switch and wires you just soldered on the switch. If your using heat shrink make sure you put it on wires first. Then run your two wires you just soldered to the switch to the wires you plugged into he harness into pin #8 & #10 and solder them together. It doesn't matter which wire goes to which.

Step 8: Getting Finished

At this point you need to connect all the plugs back into their appropriate spots on the center piece you took out. Basically you need to put everything back together in reverse order as you took it apart. After you have connected and put everything back together, it's time to enjoy your new sportier car.

Step 9: Enjoy Your Extremely Low Cost, Not Offered "Sport Mode" Option

Start the car and press your new button, you should see the word "sport" appear in your info center, in between the speedometer and the tachometer. Now your finished.

The sport mode does a couple things for your car... Stiffens the suspension, stiffens the steering at low and medium rpm's and the engine becomes more aggressive.




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    14 Discussions


    Question 7 months ago

    Hello, I have done everything in accordance with this guide. after pressing the button SPORT begins to display on the indicators. Unfortunately, nothing happens apart from this. I have ActivSteering and manual gearboxes and a gasoline engine. I read somewhere on the internet that in some cars you need to encode this SPORT function. does anyone know what and where exactly to encode?


    2 years ago

    quick question I want to put a led push button switch so do i just connect the 2 wires to the positive and acc and then ground the third terminal somehere else?


    4 years ago on Introduction

    adding the button doesn't do anything except turn on the light on the dash board, it will not do anything else, the platform is the same but the electronics, programming and calibration is different, also the some systems are different like the abs and transaxle.

    3 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Its funny when someone chimes in acting like they know it all and will say how blah blah blah cant work because of blah blah blah. While using terms like a manufacturer would such as "the platform", while describing complicated-sounding processes like "programming and calibration" only to end up being DEAD WRONG about this widely documented and confirmed hack. BTW, e60 is RWD and doesn't have a transaxle, smart guy.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    It definitely works for a 2006 530i, and just as you said yes, it does light up the light that says sport. Something that was not offered on that car for that year, and that is the whole point of this instructable. Why would they put just a light in the car, with all the wiring to the ecu? If it didn't work then how could taping into pins that were empty on the wire harness that was plugged into the ecu make a light emit on the dash? The information center is displaying what the ecu is telling it to, if the car didn't have the capabilities or the electronics to carry out something, then it will not display that it is in "sport mode." I have had lots of drive time with this car, the steering does get stiffer and the engine's behavior does get more aggressive. As for other models, it is an assumption that it could work, but this instructable was only for the 2006 BMW 530i.


    3 years ago

    Peeps, he did this to my car. It hands down without a doubt works and is the most awesome thing ever! It completely changes my car when in sport mode. Way tighter steering and much more pickup. It's a totally different car now! You can use my car anytime for more of your genius ideas!


    4 years ago

    Verdelj it DEFINITELY works for the 06 530i ...everything these people are saying is 100% true..I was skeptical until I did the hack suspension, much tighter steering, shorter shifter points, more power, more sensitive gas, everything except the "sport suspension" that cones with the $3,500 sports package...obviously you don't have the right BMW to activate sports mode and you are those that do, Congrats!! If you're near Denver I'll install for you, I can even get all the BMW pins/wires/button needed if u want...on I gotta go, I have a 530 I to race... haha...with sport mode I'VE Already beat a g35 and Nissan 350z

    LOVE IT!!

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago

    Glad you were a believer, it paid off for you. Like I said in the write up, this has been performed on an actual car and tested, hence the photos I took during installation. Thanks for the comment and happy driving.


    4 years ago

    Indeed it works for my '07 550 stick ! I did everything exactly the same, but mount the button between seat warmer & DTC. Throttle seems quicker & sure is more fun shifting ..


    4 years ago on Step 9

    Oooh, agrressive engines? When will THAT happen on a Silverado (<-dream truck)?


    4 years ago

    I'd love to see a hack on the new Imprezas like this...


    4 years ago on Introduction

    This is a great hack!

    Is there a similar thing I can do to my 20 year old F150?

    I'm guessing... no! Ha ha :)