BMW 5 Series Owners & Service Manuals

BMW 5 Series: Shift paddles


The shift paddles on the steering wheel allow you to shift gears quickly while keeping both hands on the steering wheel.

General information


The vehicle only shifts at suitable engine and road speeds.

Short-term manual mode

In selector lever position D, actuating a shift paddle switches into manual mode temporarily.

After conservative driving in manual mode without acceleration or shifting via the shift paddles for a certain amount of time, the transmission switches back to automatic mode.

It is possible to switch into automatic mode as follows:

  • Pull and hold right shift paddle.
  • In addition to the briefly pulled right shift paddle, briefly pull the left shift paddle.

Continuous manual mode

In selector lever position S, actuating a shift paddle switches into manual mode permanently.

Steptronic Sport transmission

With the appropriate transmission version, the lowest possible gear can be selected by simultaneously activating kickdown and operating the left shift paddles. This is not possible in short-term manual mode.


  • To shift up: briefly pull right shift paddle.
  • To shift down: briefly pull left shift paddle.
  • The lowest possible gear can be selected by pulling and holding the left shift paddle.

The selected gear is briefly displayed in the instrument cluster, followed by the current gear.

Displays in the instrument cluster

displayed, The selector lever position is displayed, for example P.

Electronic unlocking of the transmission lock

General information

Electronically unlock the transmission lock to maneuver vehicle from a danger area.

Unlocking is possible, if the starter can spin the engine.

Before unlocking the transmission lock, set the parking brake to prevent the vehicle from rolling away.

Engaging selector lever position N

1. Press and hold down brake pedal.

2. Press the Start/Stop button. The starter must audibly start. Hold the Start/Stop button pressed.

3. With your free hand, press the button on the selector lever, arrow 1, and press the selector lever into selector lever position N and hold, arrow N, until selector lever position N is displayed in the instrument cluster.

A Check Control message is displayed.

4. Release Start/Stop button and selector lever.

4. Release Start/Stop button and selector lever.

5. Release brake, as soon as the starter stops.

6. Maneuver the vehicle from the danger area and secure it against moving on its own.

For additional information, see the chapter on tow-starting and towing.


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