it really isn't that hard to pull out the shifter, just use some force but don't yank it - just slowly keep adding strength and pull it out. if you try to yank it out you'll hit yourself in head or the headliner as it pops out. just use elbow as pivot on the console. it's not that tough to do really.
E86 Z4 Coupe 3.0si TiAg / M Sport