Normally, just the pads need replacement. But if the discs are worn to minimums, warped or grooved due to brake pad neglect, they too need replacing.
But a routine brake job doesnt automatically require new discs.
The best thing to o is go for something like an EBC front disc and pad upgrade at a cheap price. This will prob not be any more than what BMW would charge to supply and fit OEM stuff. This stuff does work. With the backs stick with what you got they r fine.
There isn't really any need to go to just brembo pads. If you don't have the rotors the pads imo aren't worth it. If you wanted something better, padgid has some good street/track pads that I've heard are really good. Next time I replace my pads I'm switching to them because on longer spirited mountiany drives I get brake fade with the stock pads. But IMO if you don't do any track or long distance spirited driving then there is no need to upgrade even the pads. For the brake fade, on a 20 miles downhill twistie road I had noticable fade by mile 15, I had to push the pedal half way down to get noticable stopping power. But then again there were 3 of us (Me and 2 2002 with stiens and H&R springs). So it was floor the car outta every turn, run it all the way before shifting and then brale as late as possible. It was awesome, but prolly took off 10% of my pad life... and tire life....
Hey thekid, I did exactly the same last week! About 20 or 30 kms of really winding road, I was driving full on, and when I reached the downhill section, I started noticing this funny sound coming from the back of the car every time I braked, and then the brakes just faded! It was quite dramatic. Suffice it to say that I went the rest of the way at a very sedate pace. When I stopped to have a look, the rotors were blue (like "blue steel") and although you could feel heat coming off them, it wasn't a huge amount of heat. I really hope I haven't wrecked my pads too much. =(
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