Uncover the Most Bizarre Shifters in Cars


In the ever-evolving world of automotive design, it is fascinating to witness the creative ways in which manufacturers are reimagining the humble gear shifter. From unconventional styling to futuristic technology, these shifters aim to enhance the driving experience and leave a lasting impression.

In this article, we will explore a range of the most bizarre shifters in cars that have caught our attention. From the intriguing BMW i3s Bop-It Shifter to the perplexing Tesla's Terrible Touchscreen Shifter, we will delve into these unconventional designs that challenge the status quo.

But that's not all, as we will also uncover other unique shifters like the Audi Q8 E-Tron's distinctive gear selector and the iconic Oldsmobile Hurst Lightning Rods.

So, buckle up and join us on this journey as we unravel the fascinating world of the most bizarre shifters in cars.

Key Takeaways

  • BMW i3s Bop-It Shifter and Tesla's Terrible Touchscreen Shifter are unusual and innovative shifters that deviate from traditional designs.
  • The Audi Q8 E-Tron features a unique gear selector operated by a rectangular toggle, offering a fun and intuitive take on traditional gear selectors.
  • The Oldsmobile Hurst Lightning Rods have three gear knobs for different gears, allowing for a customized and engaging driving experience.
  • Traditional shifters, column shifters, rotary shifters, and electronic shifters are the most common types of gear selectors, each with its own advantages and popularity in different car models.

BMW I3s Bop-It Shifter

The BMW i3s Bop-It shifter is a unique and innovative gear selector that sets it apart from traditional shifters in cars. With its unusual design and user experience, this shifter adds a touch of fun and excitement to the driving experience.

Unlike most shifters that are integrated into the center console, the Bop-It shifter protrudes from the steering column, resembling a toy from the popular game. To change gears, the driver simply twists the knob or pushes the P button.

Additionally, the stalk housing the shifter also houses the car's start button, adding to the streamlined and minimalist interior design.

The BMW i3s Bop-It shifter not only stands out visually but also enhances the overall user experience, making it a memorable and enjoyable feature of the car.

Tesla's Terrible Touchscreen Shifter

Moving on from the unique and innovative BMW i3s Bop-It shifter, we now turn our attention to Tesla's unconventional touchscreen shifter. Tesla has always been known for pushing the boundaries of automotive technology, and their touchscreen shifter is no exception. However, this shift mechanism has raised concerns regarding safety and user experience.

Potential Discussion Ideas:

  1. Safety concerns with Tesla's touchscreen shifter:
  • Accidental shifting: With a traditional physical shifter, drivers can feel the gear engagement. However, the lack of tactile feedback in a touchscreen shifter may lead to accidental shifts, especially if the driver is not paying attention.
  • Distraction: Interacting with a touchscreen while driving can divert the driver's attention from the road, increasing the risk of accidents.
  1. User experience and usability of Tesla's touchscreen shifter:
  • Learning curve: Some users find the touchscreen shifter unintuitive, requiring a learning curve to become familiar with its operation.
  • Response time: Delayed response from the touchscreen can be frustrating for drivers who expect a quick and immediate shift.
  1. Reliability: Concerns have been raised about the reliability of touchscreen shifters, particularly in extreme weather conditions. Freezing temperatures or excessive heat could potentially affect the touchscreen's responsiveness, compromising the functionality of the shifter.

Audi Q8 E-Tron

An innovative and intuitive gear selector, the Audi Q8 E-Tron introduces a unique rectangular toggle located on a larger handrest for seamless operation. This unique handrest design enhances the overall user experience and adds a touch of sophistication to the interior of the car. The rectangular toggle allows for easy and intuitive gear selection, eliminating the need for complicated buttons or levers. Operating the gear selector is as simple as moving the little rectangle portion closest to the driver, providing a smooth and effortless shifting experience. The Audi Q8 E-Tron's gear selector is not only functional but also adds a sense of fun and innovation to the traditional gear selection process. With its unique handrest design and intuitive operation, the Audi Q8 E-Tron sets itself apart from other vehicles in terms of gear selector design.

Unique Handrest Design Intuitive Gear Selector Operation
Unique rectangular toggle Seamless and effortless shifting
Larger handrest Easy and intuitive operation
Adds sophistication to the interior Fun and innovative take on gear selection

Oldsmobile Hurst Lightning Rods

Oldsmobile Hurst Lightning Rods introduced an unconventional and innovative approach to gear shifting with its unique three-knob system. This gear selector design stood out from the crowd and offered a distinctive experience for drivers.

Here are some key features of the Hurst Lightning Rods:

  • Three gear knobs for different gears: The Hurst Lightning Rods had three knobs, each responsible for a specific gear. The knob farthest away handled first and second gears, the middle knob shifted to third gear, and the main knob shifted the car into overdrive.
  • Functionality like a normal automatic: While the three-knob system may seem complex, the Hurst Lightning Rods could also function like a normal automatic if certain shifters were pushed forward.
  • Unique and engaging driving experience: The Hurst Lightning Rods provided a unique gear shifting experience, allowing drivers to feel more connected to their vehicle.

The Oldsmobile Hurst Lightning Rods' unique gear selector design showcased the brand's commitment to innovation and pushing boundaries in the automotive industry.

Shifters and Gear Selectors Types

The world of automotive design and innovation extends beyond the Oldsmobile Hurst Lightning Rods, with various types of shifters and gear selectors adding a touch of uniqueness and functionality to modern cars. Different types of gear selectors include traditional shifters, column shifters, rotary shifters, and electronic shifters. Traditional shifters are commonly found in manual transmission cars, providing a more engaging driving experience and greater control. Column shifters are located on the steering column and offer more space in the front seat area. Rotary shifters use a dial or knob for gear selection, offering a sleek and minimalist design. Electronic shifters, on the other hand, are becoming increasingly popular and utilize electronic controls. They offer precise and quick gear changes, enhancing driving performance. However, electronic shifters may have disadvantages such as a lack of tactile feedback and potential reliability issues.

Type of Gear Selector Advantages Disadvantages
Traditional Shifters Engaging driving experience, greater control Not as common as automatic transmissions
Column Shifters More space in the front seat area Less common in modern cars
Rotary Shifters Sleek and minimalist design, intuitive to use Limited availability in certain models
Electronic Shifters Precise and quick gear changes, programmable Lack of tactile feedback, potential reliability issues

Innovative Shift Systems

In the realm of automotive innovation, the Koenigsegg CC850 stands out with its Engage Shift System (ESS), a revolutionary approach that combines the functionalities of a traditional gated 6-speed manual transmission and an automatic mode. The ESS in the Koenigsegg CC850 offers a unique and versatile transmission option for drivers.

Here is a comparison of the Engage Shift System with other innovative shift systems:

  • Pros of the Engage Shift System:
  • Provides the feel and control of a manual transmission with the convenience of an automatic mode.
  • Offers flexibility in transmission options, allowing drivers to switch between manual and automatic modes as desired.
  • Enhances driving performance with precise and quick gear changes.
  • Cons of electronic shifters:
  • Electronic shifters, like rotary shifters and button-operated shifters, may lack the tactile feedback of traditional shifters.
  • Some drivers may find electronic shifters less intuitive to use initially.
  • Electronic shifters may require additional electronic components, which can increase the complexity and cost of the vehicle's transmission system.

The Engage Shift System in the Koenigsegg CC850 represents a significant advancement in automotive transmission technology, providing drivers with the best of both manual and automatic transmissions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does the BMW I3s Bop-It Shifter Affect the Driving Experience?

The BMW i3s Bop-It shifter has a unique and funky design, protruding from the steering column. Its operation requires twisting the knob or pushing the P button. While it may be innovative, it can also be confusing and less intuitive for drivers.

Are There Any Safety Concerns With Tesla's Terrible Touchscreen Shifter?

Safety concerns may arise with Tesla's touchscreen shifter due to its least-intuitive design. The absence of a physical lever and the reliance on swiping gestures on a touchscreen may pose distractions and potential hazards while driving. In contrast, the BMW i3s Bop-It shifter, although unusual, requires twisting or pressing buttons, which may be less prone to accidental engagements.

What Makes the Audi Q8 E-Tron's Gear Selector Unique Compared to Other Vehicles?

The Audi Q8 e-tron's gear selector technology stands out among other vehicles due to its unique design and operation. The rectangular toggle on a larger handrest provides an intuitive and smooth user experience, offering a fun and innovative take on the traditional gear selector. The benefits of this technology include ease of use and a more engaging driving experience.

How Does the Oldsmobile Hurst Lightning Rods' Three-Gear Knob System Work?

The Oldsmobile Hurst Lightning Rods feature a unique three-gear knob system. The knob farthest away handles first and second gears, the middle knob handles the shift to third gear, and the main knob shifts the car into overdrive. This system offers greater control and versatility in gear selection.

Can You Explain the Advantages and Disadvantages of Each Type of Shifter and Gear Selector Mentioned in the Article?

Traditional shifters provide a more engaging driving experience and greater control, but require manual shifting and clutch engagement. Column shifters save space and were popular in older cars. Rotary shifters offer a sleek design, while electronic shifters provide precise gear changes.


In conclusion, the world of automotive design continues to push the boundaries with innovative and unique shifters and gear selectors.

From the BMW i3s Bop-It Shifter to the Audi Q8 E-Tron's unique gear selector, these unconventional options aim to enhance the driving experience and set themselves apart.

Whether it's through unconventional styling or futuristic technology, these bizarre shifters have truly made their mark in the automotive world.

Remember, in the world of automotive design, sometimes it's the unconventional choices that truly stand out.


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