BMW Auto box gear select problem (offset drive gear???) Wierd

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Hi,
I'm about to buy a 3 series BMW (318i SE Auto). This is a second hand model and is a 2002 UK model. (The model just prior to the new angular one).
I know these are generaly very sound cars. My friend has a similar model that I've driven, when I am in neutral (from memory) the gear lever can simply be slipped down directly into drive gear. There is no need to push the stick slightly left then slip it down.
My problem is the car I'm about to buy requires a slight left movement of the gear stick and at the same time a downwards movement in order to go from neutral to drive mode. I don't remember any beemer requiring this motion. Usually BMW are simplicity itself to drive, and anything quirky is strictly not in BMW's book.
So I am concearned that
either:
1. My memory is completely going, and all BMW 3 series auto boxes require this "left slide and downwards shift" motion to select drive. I have simply forgotton that from the previous times I've driven similar models.
Or.
2. The 3 series autobox does not require anything more than a simple shift straight down from neutral to drive in order to select the driver gear. Which means the car I'm about to drive has a damaged auto box?
Please let me know your experience of the gear select on the 3 series auto.
Thanks
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My daughter drives a '00 325i (USA version) with an automatic transmission. I used it recently and noticed that if the car is in N, I had to depress the brake pedal to select D again, but if the car was in R, I could move the shift selector to D without doing anything else.
This seems to be a safety interlock item that prevents unintended gear changes in an unattended (by and adult) vehicle that might have a child inside. Never mind the fact that when the driver gets out of the car, it ought to be shut off, there are people <raising hand> that have gotten out of cars with the motor running and a child is sitting in a position to operate the gear selector. The kids in my world do not operate gear selectors, but BMW has no way of knowing about all kids, so they put in an interlock that should keep the kids from selecting gears at a time when there is no vehicle operator present.

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No auto I've ever driven can be put directly in drive - too easy to knock the lever.
--
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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wrote:

Every auto I've ever driven can be put into D without doing anything beyond yanking the shift lever. The only condition is, the brake must be depressed to get out of P. But, once out of P, the lever moves freely from R to N or D. The lever has to be manipulated again to select 2 or 1, but once either of those are selected, the driver can select D or N by simply moving the lever to the desired location. There are no gates to prevent shifting into D, there are only gates to prevent shifting out of D to a lower gear, or into R or P.
My daughter's '00 3 Series is the first car I encountered that does not follow this rule. There are conditions on this car that must be met to select D.
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Then that's not directly. And this feature of having to press the brake is relatively recent - in the UK at least. My '92 E34 didn't have it - you had to press a button on the shift lever.
--
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Hi, The safety point about accidentintal drive selection, is a good one.
But, as has been mentioned I thought this safety feature only applied when selecting drive from parking mode, or reverse gear. I am about 90% certain that once in drive you can freely slip the gear shift to neutral and back again into drive, by a simple sraight flick motion witout any fiddly left wiggling. I know this because when at traffic lights (which are on a flat road serface) I always slip the car into neutral and then back.
I also have a MGF tiptronic and that definately allows free linear movment between neutral - drive and back without any fiddling. BMW are about a billion times better than MGF's and pride themselves on BMW simplicity, so I can't imagine them introducing a (slightly more) "complex" gear change solution. Particulary when I look at the auto box and the lettering on the side (PRND+/-) all reads as if it is a 100% linear box. Mercades/ Lexus clearly have a wiggily auto box, so any lateral movement is obvious. My VW Golf auto had an obvious linear style auto box, but had a picture of a foot by the side of the drive gear, indicating the brake pedal has to be applied in order to select it. The BMW 3, does not have this, unless I'm mistaken, so I'm sill a bit confused?
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Most certainly allow you to select neutral from drive directly. I'm not sure about an interlock from neutral to drive is the car is at speed - it's not something most would normally try. But none I've ever driven allow neutral to drive directly with the car stationary - unless the brakes or parking brake is on. Try it. ;-)
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On Sat, 26 May 2007 11:07:21 +0100, "Dave Plowman (News)"

In the mid-70s, I had a '72 automatic Triumph 2000. The ignition inhibitor switch either got out of adjustment or failed, and I could start the car while it was in drive. I didn't get it fixed, it was very convenient, just turn the key and mash the loud pedal. I loved it.
--
Dan.

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That's fine until someone else drives the car - straight into the one in front. ISTR the old DAF variomatic belt drive required you start in drive - dodgy considering the appalling brakes.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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It's a US nanny state thing. I think some (manual) cars you can't start without the clutch depressed.
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wrote:

It is directly. there is no requirement to hold the brake pedal, or move the lever to one side or the other or press a button to get around a lock out.
The car is in P. Press the brake pedal, operate the lever to accompdate the lock out, and select R. Back out of the garage and down the driveway into the street. DIRECTLY shift to D by moving the lever without any lockout devices in the way.
I don't know how much clearer to say that.
My daughter's '00 3 Series is the only automatic transmission that does not operate that way. Having said that, perhaps all BMW atuomatics work the same as my daughter's, but apparently the OP and myself are the only ones that do not know this.
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wrote:

All U S automatic transmissions work this way. It is (now) a safety requirement that is mandated by the powers that be. Other countries may have different requirements.
At least that is what they telll us. Exactly how this became a safety requirement and what it protects is rather unclear to me.
Jim

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Probably because not many US drivers know what a stick shift is.
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snipped-for-privacy@nowhere.com wrote:

Enough of your childish trolling.
Plonk!
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Except that it's from reverse not neutral - not what was asked.
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wrote:

Once again, your reading comprehension has failed you.
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No - once again you're nitpicking.
Transmission selectors have to be designed to prevent idiots killing themselves, others, or simply wrecking it.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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wrote:

Once again, YOUR reading comprehension skills have failed you.
Read my first post (HINT: I was the first to reply to the OP), I said that BMW is accomodating errant shifts by locking out the selection of D.
Read my first post to you (HINT: I was the first to reply to your first reply to the OP), I said that no other car I've encountered has this sort of lock out.
I've got more general automotive experience than most, my father was the General Manager of a new car dealership, and he owned a used car dealership after that. I've been in literally thousands of makes and models of cars and trucks. Admittedly, the vast majority of them American cars and trucks, and American car companies tend to all do the same thing most of the time. But, in my experience, I've driven every major brand of automobile in the world, with very few exceptions.
In every case, the selection of D is a straight shot after the gear selector is taken out of P. My daughter's '00 3 Series is the first car I've encountered where this is not always true. If the car is placed into D, then placed into N or R (I forget which, and don't really care), the operator will encounter a lock out that demands depressing the brake pedal or operating the lock out button, or both (again, I don't know or care) to select D again.
Automatic transmissions around the globe have gates that the selector must be moved through to change gears. The gates can be in the form of a button on the shift lever that the operator must depress, or slots on the shift rail that the lever must be aligned with, or tabs that are cleared by pulling up (toward the steering wheel) in order to be cleared. The first two are found on floor-shift models, the third is found on column-shift models.
The gates are always as such P-- the gate is encountered to shift into and out of P. Aditionally, since about 1990 (give or take), the vehicle operator must also depress the brake pedal in order to shift out of P.
R -- the gate is encountered to shift into R from N. There is no gate to shift out of R to N. It pains me to state that there is a gate to shift into R from P because that gate is really to shift out of P.
N -- There is no gate to bar selection of N from any direction.
D -- There is no gate to bar selection of D from any direction, but there is a gate that bars selection of 2 and 1. The operator can shift from D to N at any time, but will encounter a gate to select any gear below D if there are any. (See NOTE below)
2 -- There is a gate that bars selection of this gear and the gear below it if there is one, but no gate to control the selection of D. The operator can move from 2 to D by simply moving the gear selector. If there is a physical gate that the selector must be laterally aligned with to get into 2, the selector will be spring loaded in such a manner to cause the selector to return laterally to the D gate without the operator making a conscious effort.
1 -- There is a gate that bars selection of 1, but does not impede the selection of 2.
The gate that bars movement out of P is for safety reasons. It prevents the vehicle from being put into motion inadvertantly. The relatively recent addition of the Brake Pedal switch to the P gates/lock out is a further attempt to make automatic transmission equipped cars and trucks safer.
The gate that bars selection of P from another gear selection is intended to protect the transmission. Inadvertant movement of the shift lever from a position that allows vehicle movement into P can destroy the transmission.
The gates that bar inadvertant selection of R, or the 2 and 1 gears is also are an attempt at fail safe -- if the selector is moved to these positions at an inappropriate time, serious damage to the engine or transmission can result. Albeit, recent improvements in automatic transmission controllers might preclude damage by selecting a low range gear at high speeds, the gates remain. The vehicle operator has to make a decision to select these gears. The decision may or may not be appropriate at the time, but it has to be made.
NOTE: Very recently, it seems that some car makers have added a Brake Pedal switch to prevent some selections of D. If there is such a switch, it will be for safety reasons -- the car will be prevented from being put into motion inadvertantly. If there is any prevention of placing the shift selector into D from N, it must be inoperative if the vehicle is already in motion.
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Sigh. And said every auto I've had since the '60s doesn't allow direct selection of drive from neutral simply by moving the lever. Whether by having a brake interlock on as later cars or by requiring a button etc to be pressed.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Sigh. You guys just can't get along, can you.

This is actually a safety feature - in case the throttle gets stuck, for instance.
FloydR
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