'99 323i hard-stop -- middle of the road

hi guys, i've owned a '99 323i for roughly 4 months now. i've had no trouble, really. last week, i got the 'headlamp' warning sign and immediately after that, i got the 'check engine' sign. i took care of the lamp
(just had to fit it in to the groove properly) and the check engine sign vanished. now my next problem- it has happened twice so far. i didn't give it much attention the first time, but today, it scared me. ;-)
last weekend, i started my car and just about a hundred feet from where i started, i attempted to make a left turn. the car stopped. engine stopped. no sound. i turned it back on, and it ran smoothly. i thought it was some silly glitch connected to the lazy front headlight and let the whole thing drop.
this afternoon, i was taking an exit to join another highway and slowed down to roughly 30mph and the car simply stopped. the engine stopped. i was lucky because the road was empty, but i had no idea what was going on. i took the key out, put it back in and started it again. everything was fine. for the brief period that the car stopped, a few red warning signs and yellow warning signs showed up, but i couldn't afford the time to pay attention to them as i was in a hurry to start the car. i remember the oil lamp, and battery warning signs definitely came up; they were red in color. after i started the car, it felt so different. now, every time i slow down, i think the car has stopped. not just that, the whole 'feel' of my foot on the gas pedal has changed- it just doesn't seem like it's got that pickup anymore (no, i'm not just making it up to elevate the severity of the problem).
i'm terrible at car maintenance in general (don't even know what to look for- or where to begin, for that matter), i thought i'd post a message here and see what replies i get. i wanna wait for at least 24 hours before i take it somewhere. and if i were to take it somewhere, what'd be the best place, er, in my price range? ;-)
right now, there's still the 'check engine' symbol/sign (yellow color). please give me some input. i wanna know check what you guys have to say/ask. you can directly email me, too. snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com. thank you. -ananth
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thank you.

You need to take it to a repairer who can read the engine diagnostic codes, as probably the ECU has remembered what went wrong. This means a BMW main dealer or a specialist repairer with the right equipment. Drive the car as little as possible in the mean time
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hi Mark- thanks for responding. i have an automatic; not a manual. could it still be the same problem? "limp home mode"? there were no warning lamps before it happened. there was another post from about 4 years ago with the same exact problem; most of the replies said 'oh the same thing happened to me too', but no one really followed up. i guess i have to make an appointment today. and yes, i'm about 5 miles from work, so other than that, i don't plan on using it. thanks again.
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Only automatics do this, a manual goes in the gear you put it in. Limp home mode is similar to "snow mode" available on 5 speed auto boxes in the 90's (starts in 3rd to avoid wheelspin), except it stays in 3rd.
The display should say something like "transmission" or on smaller BMW's there may just be a light (check bulb).
Don't rev the engine too much or you will overheat the torque converter.
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i wanna follow-up, even if it means i'm replying to my own message.
i made an appointment for monday morning 7am. he said it'd cost 50 bucks to diagnose. but he didn't offer any explanation as to why it happened (either he didn't know, or as a strategy, they don't talk about it on the phone).
the car is still under-performing...the pickup has gone down, the rpm and mpg meters are ridiculous. i actually don't want to wait until monday, but the next closest bmw shop is about 35 miles away. let's see what happens.
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Yes. The manual hasn't got a limp mode. Actually, I always thought the limp mode was a function of the motor, but it makes sense that the trans could limp too.

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i promised a follow-up. this might help someone else.
the car stalled, because of an electrical problem. he calls it camshaft sensor. he had to replace it. parts: 95 labor: 95
there could also be a mechanical problem and he said that'd cost a lot more. but that didn't show up.
the check-engine light came up because of one more thing: the thermostat unit sensor. he replaced the whole thing/unit parts: 120 labor: 95
i got the full service because we couldn't determine if the full service had been done at 60K mileage. so i got that. parts & labor for a full service (which includes a coolant system flush and brake system flush): 500 approx.
i want to thank everyone who replied (some replied to my personal email as well).
so, there it is. i hope anyone who reads this realizes that when you post a problem and ask questions, it'd be nice to post a follow-up reply that gives the solution as well. no one bloody cares to post after they have found a solution; it isn't their problem anymore. that'd help out so many other guys and give a perspective. thanks anyway. ;-)
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thank you.

The Check light is a key to your troubles. The technician (you can do it yourself, but you said you lack the skill set) can check the codes that the computer generates, and take corrective action from there.
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