Oh God I Think I Actually Love BMW's Crystal Shifter

All image credits: Kristen Lee/Jalopnik
All image credits: Kristen Lee/Jalopnik

I like to think that my style is pretty understated. I keep my jewelry to a minimum and, despite being from New Jersey, I don’t own anything that’s bedazzled. Overly sparkly crap doesn’t do it for me—that is until I got behind the wheel of the 2019 BMW X7.

Rising wantonly from the center console is a shifter that may or may not be hewed from Swarovski crystals. Every friend and family member who got into the car with me this weekend pointed an accusing finger at it and said, “What is that?”

That, my dears, is my new favorite automotive accessory, purely because of how unashamed it is in its gaucheness. It’s quite impressive, actually. It sparkles when it catches the sun’s rays (which is often) and reflects the unfiltered light of opportunity right back into your eyes.

Illustration for article titled Oh God I Think I Actually Love BMWs Crystal Shifter

Alright, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, but the crystal shifter, to me, is like a statement piece. And as far as statement pieces go, you only sport one of them so as not to detract from the overall effect. Which is what BMW has done here. The rest of the X7's interior is pretty muted, save for this shifter. Almost like it is the centerpiece.

I like looking at the shape and it’s cut in such a way that it distorts the logo BMW stuck beneath it. And it just feels nice in the hand—much nicer than the plain, plastic shifters that ordinary BMWs come with. It kind of makes putting the car into reverse feel like grasping at handle of an ornate cane. Maybe one that has a sword hidden in it.

Anyway, I shouldn’t be too surprised. This kind of gaucheness has struck once before when I was in high school. I unironically tried on and bought a velour, hooded, Ed Hardy vest. It was 2009, I wore that shit to school and I have not gotten rid of it. I keep it at the back of my closet to keep myself honest.

Illustration for article titled Oh God I Think I Actually Love BMWs Crystal Shifter

This shifter is like that vest: Hated by some (see also: most) but a physical manifestation of the fact that sometimes gaudy baubles are there to remind you to find happiness in the little things.

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.

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the tactile touch and feel of your controls is super important to your overall enjoyment of the car, my personal hill on which i will fight to the death: wooden steering wheels!

i love the smoothness of a polished and glossed wood steering wheel, and in the same sense, i appreciate the leather and wood shift knobs in the same way the smoothness of the crystal just makes it a pleasure to touch!

although, there is one further consideration to factor in as well, and that would be how well shifter absorbs or dissipates heat and cold... i.e. civic si

there are of course solutions to this problem, but none i’d want to implement: