2015 BMW M235i: Gaining Traction with DTC
August 20, 2015
I quickly settled into a startup process with our long-term 2015 BMW M235i. One: Start car. Two: Tap the stability control off button. This activates Dynamic Traction Control, or what you can call The Go Faster Mode.
Look up DTC in the owner's manual and you'll find the following enjoyable corporate euphemism for fun: "The DTC system is a version of the DSC where forward momentum is optimized."
Translation: A little tire spin makes you go faster. So DTC puts some slack in the stability control reins.
When you tap the stability control off button, a few warnings of impending fun appear on the dash. After they go away, "TRACTION" stays illuminated next to the gear indicator. This mode also activates automatically when you put the car in Sport+.
BMW's stability control system is generally pretty good, but the robust low-rpm power from these new turbo motors often means you'll see a flashing traction control light when driving hard. You'll also feel the invisible hand of safety-minded electronics reducing power and selectively applying the brakes.
I'm not one who completely disables stability control systems on public roads unless they are particularly obnoxious, but I do enjoy when the system allows some breathing room. DTC does just that. Stomp the throttle from a standstill and you'll hear the tires chatter. Work the chassis and you'll find an extra bit of freedom at your disposal.
There's a bonus too: Our M235i has an open differential. So when you do break traction, it destroys one tire mercilessly. DTC allows you to have some freedom, but helps prevent unsightly one-tire fires. Opting for the $2,895 torque-sensing limited slip differential BMW sells as an accessory is a better solution.
If our M235i were a coupe, I'd be pining for one of those differentials. As is, I'm happy with DTC.
Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor