Originally Posted by volvodefector79
. . I DO see an amber-colored gear symbol light with an exclamation point in the center of the gear. Is that the "check engine" light?
No, that is the Automatic Transmission warning light. It's telling you there's a malfunction and that your tranny is operating on "limp mode". Unfortunately, there is nothing much you can do about this particular issue but have it looked at and serviced by a BMW authorized service center. Only they can diagnose this problem.
And yes, you should have a "CHECK ENGINE" light, apart from the "CHECK" light that tells you to look at your multifunction display. Considering the fact that you don't see it, and the problems you're having, I would suspect that the bulb was pulled out or burned out by the previous owner to hide the problems during the sale???