BMW Brake Pads - Which pads are right for me?

Just like choosing BMW brake rotors, the answer to that question depends on the type of driving you do.

This is our BMW brake pad buying guide and description page. We sell brake pads for almost every driving situation, for the road or the track. For the street we want a pad that stops as well as stock (or better!), works quietly, and produces a minimal amount of dust. On the track we want pads that have excellent stopping power even when the brakes are hot and are not too abrasive to the rotor surface. Choosing the right brake pad is always determined by the type of driving you do. Using a pad not suited for the driving situation will result in many compromises and may potenitally be unsafe. These are our pad offerings broken down into Street and Track types. A pad that is perfect for both is largely a myth - there's always going to be a compromise somewhere. We welcome your questions and feedback on brakes - call or e-mail us!

**With any brake pad, proper bed-in is required!**

BMW Street Pads

We have very simple goals for street pads:
+ excellent stopping power (as good or better than stock)
+ quiet operation (no squealing or groaning)
+ all-weather performance
+ an absolute minimum of brake dust
+ excellent feel (initial bite), especially on M cars

Ultimately, our ideal pad is one that stops better than stock and produces no brake dust residue. It should also be quiet and work in all weather and temperature conditions (for street use). Stock BMW pads, espeically on M models, have a lot of initial bite (touchy or sensitive brakes) which makes the brakes appear more powerful than they are. BMW took a lot of criticism for not offering multi-piston brakes in their M cars (like Porsche) even if they are overkill for street use. BMW's response was to ratchet up the response from the stock brake compound. You get excellent feel and feedback but at a 1/3 of the cost of replacement multi-piston brake parts. We want to maintain that sporty feel and 'right-away' reaction of the stock M brakes but also offer a pad that dusts a lot less and maybe stops a little better.

Street brake pads have Coefficeient of Friction ratings when tested by the US DOT (Europe also has a ratings system). The DOT system "grades" the performance of the pad at low and high temperatures and the manufacturer can then stamp the back of the pad with this rating. Nearly all BMW street brake pads have a CF of .35-.45 at both temps which receives the grade of "FF". By comparison race pads start at a CF of .55 but aren't graded by the DOT because they are not intended to be used on the street. However, comparisons within the same grade are difficult as the ratings have a very broad range and one pad may be closer to a different grade than another. Our own experience tells us to use the DOT gradings as only a rough estimate of how a pad will perform. We combine the DOT grades with our own experience to put you with a pad that best suits your driving conditions.

Here are the BMW brake pads that we offer, including notes and comments about each type:


Genuine BMW and OEM Replacement Brands - Textar, Pagid, Jurid, etc.
  • heavy brake dust
  • all-weather, all-season performance
  • long life for pads and rotors
  • expensive
  • typically very good initial bite
  • low noise
  • Comment: The stock OEM pads perform very well for 90% of owners - they stop well enough, are quiet, and usually have a very direct feel. But most of our customers are looking for a pad that does all of that but with less dust. We offer OEM pads in some situations but we've also worked hard to come up with quality alternatives that are just as good or better than the factory pads.


    Centric Posi-Quiet
  • very low brake dust
  • all-weather, all-season performance
  • long life for pads and rotors
  • inexpensive compared to OEM pads
  • moderate initial bite
  • low noise
  • Comment: The Posi-Quiet pads offer everything you need in a street pad. They work just like OEM pads but with far less dust. This means you won't have to clean your wheels every three days! These are a semi-metallic compound with very good feel and bite for a street pad. And they come at prices far less than factory pads.


    Hawk HPS 5.0
  • some dust
  • all-weather, all-season performance
  • long life for pads and rotors
  • inexpensive performance pad compared to OEM
  • some noise
  • Comment: The Hawk High Performance Street 5.0 pads are built from their highly successful HPS line but with more torque and initial bite. They are a premium performance street pad that works best under aggressive driving. They have been engineered to give exceptional braking power on the street without the downsides of a race pad.


    StopTech Street Performance
  • some dust
  • all-weather, all-season performance
  • excellent performance capability with easy daily use characteristics
  • long life for pads and rotors
  • comparable or less to OEM pad cost
  • very good initial bite
  • some noise
  • Comment: StopTech's Street Performance composite brake pads use a new proprietary compound for excellent braking performance on the street with some capability for light track or autocross use. These also work well as a high-performance daily driver pad. What's great about these pads, besides their performance, is the price - they are the same or less than factory OEM pads!


    Pagid Sport
  • some dust
  • all-weather, all-season performance
  • requires some heat to work at full potential
  • long life for pads and rotors
  • higher cost compared to OEM pads
  • some noise
  • Comment: Pagid Sport pads are a very aggressive street pad - the closest to a track compound that we sell as a street pad. For reference, supercar manufacturers like Porsche, Ferrari, and Bugatti used the 'Dark Blue' Sport pads as standard equipment. These can be used in a day-to-day application but require some heat and hard stopping to be fully functional.


    BMW Track / Racing Pads

    Track pads are like track tires: ask 10 people about them and you'll get 10 different answers. Settling on a track pad is going to take some practice and experience with different types. We know instructors that run Pagid Yellows while others use Hawk HP Plus - different extremes but those pads work for those drivers. Only one thing is clear: track pads require heat to work effectively. The ferrous materials in racing brake pads require higher temperatures or they become very abrasive to the rotor surface. This is why you don't want to use track pads on the street. But once some heat has built up from several hard stops they are phenomenal. Track pads vary by compound - the composition of the materials used, the temperature range that it works in, and its torque threshold. Most of that is confidential to the pad makers themselves but they do give you some data to make general comparisons and buying decisions.

    Below are the BMW track pads that we offer, in order of least-to-most aggressive:

    Hawk HP Plus
  • moderate dust
  • all-weather, warmer temperature performance
  • requires some heat to work at full potential
  • safe to use at low temperatures and can be used on the street
  • long life for pads and easy on rotors (compared to other race pads)
  • inexpensive (compared to other race pads)
  • moderate-high noise
  • good bite and modulation
  • Comment: The 'mildest' track pad - designed to get you to and from the track, with a solid day's worth of driving in between. These pads have a stable torque output over a wide temp range, including low temp situations where other race pads fail to produce friction. That makes these pads perfect for beginners or drivers who do not want an all-out race-only pad. These are loved by newbies and veterans alike!


    Hawk "Street-Race"
  • heavy dust
  • warmer temperature performance
  • requires heat to work at full potential
  • moderate-high temperature friction
  • long pad life and easy wear on rotors
  • high price
  • high noise
  • excellent bite and modulation
  • high torque rating
  • Comment: The Street Race compound is the same as the Hawk DTC-30 mild race pad but with some changes to make it more 'street friendly'. One of the keys to this pad is how 'controllable' it is. The initial bite is not too high like on other race pads and the torque modulation makes this an easy pad to use in beginner run groups who are more used to full street pads.


    Hawk DTC-30
  • heavy dust
  • warmer temperature performance
  • requires heat to work at full potential
  • moderate-high temperature friction
  • long pad life and easy wear on rotors
  • high price
  • high noise
  • excellent bite and modulation
  • high torque rating
  • Comment: DTC-30 is a beginner race pad with higher torque and more bite than the entry-level HP Plus. We consider the DTC-30 to be a "mild" race pad with lower operating temperatures than the more aggressive race pads. One of the keys to this pad is how 'controllable' it is. The initial bite is not too high like on other race pads and the torque modulation makes this an easy pad to use in beginner run groups who are more used to full street pads.


    Hawk 9012 Blue
  • heavy dust
  • warmer temperature performance
  • requires heat to work at full potential
  • high temperature friction
  • moderate life for pads and wear on rotors (less when cold)
  • moderately priced
  • high noise
  • excellent bite and modulation
  • very high torque rating
  • Comment: A very aggressive racing pad. The Blues put out a lot of torque at higher temps. The modulation to full torque happens quickly which can take some getting used to. But once up to temperature, and with an experienced foot, the braking performance is second to none. A longtime favorite of club racers in BMW CCA, SCCA, and NASA.


    Pagid RS4-4 Orange
  • heavy dust
  • warmer temperature performance
  • requires heat to work at full potential
  • good low temperature friction
  • long pad life (popular among endurance racers)
  • good wear on rotors
  • high price
  • high noise
  • good bite and modulation
  • medium torque rating
  • Comment: The Orange compound is one of Pagid's base track pads. If you wanted to step up from the Hawk HP Plus, this would be a great upgrade. These are easy enough on rotors and produce friction at lower temps that you could use it on a limited basis on the street. The Orange pads are often used to balance out brake bias issues on racetracks (usually on the rear with a more aggressive front).


    Pagid RS14 Black
  • heavy dust
  • warmer temperature performance
  • requires heat to work at full potential
  • high temperature friction
  • moderate life for pads and wear on rotors
  • high price
  • high noise
  • strong bite and modulation
  • medium-high torque rating
  • Comment: The RS14 is a medium-high friction compound used as a more aggressive pad than the Pagid Orange. It's primarily used as a front pad for touring cars or club racers. Because this does not produce much torque at low temperatures, you would not want to use these on the street.


    Hawk DTC-60 and DTC-70
  • heavy dust
  • high temperature performance
  • requires heat to work at full potential
  • very high temperature friction
  • shorter pad life with more aggressive wear on rotors
  • high price
  • high noise
  • excellent bite and modulation
  • high torque rating
  • Comment: DTC-60 and -70 are full race compounds with very high torque and initial bite. These are intended for serious racers who need high deceleration rates in very brief times (such as with downforce). The DTC-70 pads are bit more aggressive than -60 with more inital bite. The two compounds can be used together on opposing axles to balance brake bias and lockup.


    Pagid RS19 Yellow
  • heavy dust
  • warmer temperature performance
  • requires heat to work at full potential
  • high temperature friction (less than RS14)
  • long pad life and easy wear on rotors (very popular with endurance teams)
  • high price
  • high noise
  • excellent bite and modulation
  • medium-high torque rating
  • Comment: see RS29 below


    Pagid RS29 Yellow
  • heavy dust
  • warmer temperature performance
  • requires heat to work at full potential
  • high temperature friction
  • long pad life and easy wear on rotors (very popular with endurance teams)
  • high price
  • high noise
  • excellent bite and modulation
  • high torque rating
  • evolution of the RS19 Yellow with more initial bite and higher torque
  • Comment: The RS19 and RS29 Yellow compounds are medium-high friction race compound that provides awesome torque and easy-to-use modulation. These compounds are favorites of BMW Motorsport test drivers on the Nurburgring where strong and consistent braking is critical for testing. The Turner Motorsport Race Team uses Pagid Yellow compounds as well. It's based on the high-friction RS14 compound but with more control and easier to use at the temperature limits. It's so easy to use, many BMW drivers use them to drive to and from the track (noise and dust will be excessive for regular street use).


    Hawk HT-10
  • heavy dust
  • warmer temperature performance
  • requires heat to work at full potential
  • high temperature friction
  • moderate life for pads and wear on rotors
  • moderately priced
  • high noise
  • excellent bite and modulation
  • high torque rating
  • Comment: This race pad is one of Hawk's more aggressive compounds with high torque in a high temperature range. It has more stable torque than the Hawk 9012 Blue, making it easier to use and with less rotor wear.


    Hawk HT-14
  • heavy dust
  • very high temperature performance
  • requires lots of heat to work at full potential
  • very high temperature friction
  • short-moderate life for pads and moderate wear on rotors
  • moderately priced
  • high noise
  • aggressive bite and modulation
  • high torque rating
  • Comment: The HT-14 is the successor to the hugely popular 9012 Blue pads. As cars have gotten faster over the years with bigger slick race tires and downforce, braking performance has also had to evolve. Where Hawk Blues are great for club and moderately fast run groups the HT-14 kicks things up a notch for cars running downforce with very high deceleration rates and very brief braking times.