It must be SEMA Show time again, because we're seeing the beginnings of an aftermarket accessory flood. Some of these products are useful, some aren't. AC Schnitzer, purveyor of aftermarket accessories, has just released a new LCD shift knob for manually shifted BMWs and Minis that we think falls into the latter category.
The red illuminated LCD screen on the top of the new shift knob displays the gear the vehicle is in up to sixth. The only connection to the vehicle are the wires for 12V power, so the LCD shift knob uses an accelerometer to determine in what gear it is sitting, up to sixth. AC Schnitzer hasn't released any information as to whether the shifter would automatically calibrate or have to be programmed before use, nor has it released any pricing information.
In our experience, keeping our eyes on the road and simply remembering what gear we're in is sufficient, so we don't think this would be useful unless you have a dangerously brief short-term memory. The shifter does, however, look pretty cool and is potentially a neat little piece of bling.