M. pneumoniae is a common causative agent of community-acquired pneumonia in children. The diagnosis of such infections is usually based on serology using complement fixation or, more recently, enzyme-immuno assays. PCR has been shown to be a promising alternative. We have evaluated a real-time PCR assay targeting the P1 adhesion protein gene and compared it to a conventional semi-nested PCR assay with the 16S rDNA as target. Comparison of 147 specimens from 48 patients showed an overall agreement of 97.4%. Real-time PCR proved to be of equal value on clinical specimens as conventional PCR regarding sensitivity and specificity, but is clearly advantageous regarding speed, handling and number of samples that can be analyzed per run.