Originally Posted by mkoesel
Strictly speaking that's true, however recall that while the car will always start in S3, it also remembers the last D mode setting you were using. So, you'll start in S3 but when you switch over to D mode, it should be in the last setting (1 through 5) that you left it in.
According to the OP, his car is not behaving like this, and that's definitely not correct behavior. I'ver never heard of anyone else with this issue, so I'd be curious to hear more from him about this.
In addition, remember, because of the new "feature" whereby the car won't go to S mode from reverse unless you are firm on the brake pedal, in fact the car actually appears to default to D mode (at your saved setting) if you avoid using the brake when going from D to forward gear. So, for the OP, this would yield exactly the behavior he wants, if only he could get it to remember D4 like it is supposed to (like everyone else with an M3 in North America is able to).
This is good information - I had no idea it saved your D mode setting. Thanks
As an aside, I think I've used D maybe twice in the past two years
. Automatic mode (like the old SMG trans) is utterly rubbish in this car, IMO.