BMW has always been amongst the top car manufacturers in regards to performance and handling. But, good performance must come with excellent stopping power, and BMW has been doing this since the launch of the first M-series car. So, why are BMW brakes so good?
BMW now uses an Auto Configurable Braking System with an Anti-Lock Braking System and Dynamic Stability Control in their vehicles for optimal braking performance. BMW uses third-party OEM manufacturers such as ATE, Brembo, and Texar to supply the brake system parts for their cars.
Read on to discover BMW’s technology in their brake systems and a few tips on maintaining this system.
The BMW Braking System
The braking system is nothing shy of a suberbly crafted and designed system. Each vehicle will have different suspension, wheel size, length, and chassis components, so every braking system on a BMW is designed with these specifications in mind.
The braking system is tested on various road surfaces and in various weather conditions to supply the best braking performance for the car.
The braking system is four times more powerful than the engine’s power output, resulting in shorter, more controlled braking. Add in the electronic aspects of the system such as BMWs dynamic stability control and ABS to further improve the braking characteristics. But there is even more, as BMW has included a brake learning system that diagnoses the driver’s driving style.
The BMW Auto Configurable Braking System
In 2019, BMW introduced a braking system that can be configured by the driver on all the M-Series sports vehicles. This puts the control in the driver’s hands as they can adjust how aggressive the braking system will operate. This feature alone sets BMW on a higher tier than its competitors.
The system works with a vacuumless brake booster and an electronic actuator in order to generate the correct amount of brake pressure needed. The system is designed to match the car’s deceleration and pedal feel under any driving condition and allow the driver to receive the same feedback every time.
The system comes with two settings, Comfort and Sport, that can be selected from the car’s center console. This is not a standard option in most new BMWs but can be purchased as an add-on.
The BMW Anti-Lock Braking System
The anti-lock braking system (ABS) prevents the car’s wheels from locking up under hard braking. The ABS prevents the tires from skidding, thus keeping the tires traction on the road surface and giving the driver more control of the car in hard braking scenarios.
The BMW ABS has wheel sensors to detect skidding (locking up) in a wheel and supplies a pulsing force to prevent this.
The ABS is so advanced that it can make effective changes on the fly as the driver responds to a scenario. If the steering wheel is turned and the driver pushes the brake pedal hard, the system will determine which wheel is sliding and release the brake on that wheel only. This gives the driver added control over the vehicle.
The ABS works with the car’s Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) to improve braking and overall safety. The DSC receives information from the following sensors on the vehicle:
- Vehicle speed sensor
- Engine speed
- Throttle position
- Brake peddle force
- Brake pedal position
- Steering angle
Who Makes BMW Brakes?
Like most car manufacturers, BMW does not make its own brake components. BMW uses third-party OEM manufacturers such as ATE, Brembo, and Texar to supply the brake system parts. Each BMW model will have its brake system tailor-made to achieve the best braking performance.
How To Maintain The Brakes On A BMW
The following tip will ensure that the braking system will function correctly and deliver optimal performance.
Brakes Brake-in Period
It is recommended when a new braking system or new brake pads and/or brake rotors are installed on the vehicle, that they receive a breaking–in period. This is done by using the brakes sparingly for the first 300 – 400 miles after installation. This allows the new components to mold and adjust to the system.
In an emergency, the full braking potential is still available. This breaking-in period just assists all the parts to operate in harmony.
Drying The Brakes
When the brake system has been exposed to water, corrosion and noise can occur. The brake pads and rotors should be dried to prevent this from happening. This can be achieved by driving at 30 mph, lightly applying the brakes and stopping the vehicle. This will supply enough heat into the system to dry the brakes.
Moderate braking over a long period of time will cause some brake noise (squeaking). To prevent this from occurring, increase the brake temperature by applying harder braking for a few miles. The brake rotors and pads will heat up and burn off any contaminants that are likely causing the brake noise.
Polish The Brakes
There is no need to use any wax or detergents when you are polishing the brakes. The following polishing steps should be followed when a vehicle has been exposed to extremely high breaking loads, such as driving on a racetrack. Polishing your breaks is generally unnecessary under ordinary driving conditions, however, if you are taking your BMW on the track or driving like a wild person on the highway, your brakes will likely benefit from a polish.
It is important to polish the brakes to eliminate all the built-up deposits on the pads and rotors. Driivng slowly and pulsing the brakes lightly for a few miles will help with this. However, if you noitice that you have a decent amount of brake dust, applying alloy wheel cleaner will remove any brake dust that has gotten stuck to the rotor or brake calipers. Alloy wheel cleaner will not damage the paint job.
Cool Down The Braking System
If the vehicle has been doing some sporty driving or if the brakes have been used heavily in a short time, it is important to let the braking system cool down. BMWs have brake cooling ducts that will direct cool air to the brake system and assist in cooling them down. This can be done by driving and only applying the brakes lightly for a few miles.
If the vehicle is stationary and the brakes are hot, do not push on the brake peddle with significant force.
BMW has an excellent braking system on all of its modern cars. The brake components are specifically designed for each vehicle to ensure the best braking performance. BMW uses Brembo, Texar, and ATE as their OEM brake suppliers.
BMW has added new technology to their M-Series cars to allow the driver to select the braking force they require. The Braking system on a BMW uses many sensors to aid the car’s Dynamic Stability Control to improve braking distance and overall safety.
BMW has come a long way in recent years in terms of its brake technology and luckily we can only expect more interesting developments in the future.