Despite a preference for manually operated transmission I drive a 3 Series BMW with a 4 speed ZF automatic gearbox for a substantial mileage each year.
As good as this gearbox is I never cease to wonder why the seven lever positions need to be in a straight line format. The total lever travel is only 4 inches so selecting the right position without visual help comes far from naturally.
Is there any reason why a nearer to normal manual box layout cannot be provided? With ‘D’. ‘1’, ‘2’ and ‘3’ at each corner of a square, ‘Park’ at 9 o’clock. Reverse at 3 o’clock, both protected by a lift catch and ‘Neutral’ centrally, the car would be transformed.
There would be no need ever to consult the position indicators (which you cannot see directly because BMW. like Mercedes, do not make any change for right-hand drive on certain models) and making a quick move from stationary forwards or backwards could be done with very much more certainty.
In city traffic a good automatic does make sense and I reckon it would make more sense elsewhere and be a lot more fun if my suggestion he adopted.
Selly Oak. BILL GOODMAN Birmingham