Every carmaker with noble aspirations should buy one of these to store in a hermetically sealed case labeled Gold Standard of Driving Excellence. Withdrawal would be authorized for any employee hoping to understand the notion of entertainment behind the wheel. The 128i is reasonably affordable and a practical performer for a wide range of customers. But it especially stands out in the traits that matter to those who regard driving as an art. Steering and braking feel are superb. The clutch, the shifter, and the throttle are so well orchestrated that anyone with basic coordination can operate them smoothly and efficiently. The flaws and foibles that make many of today's stick-shift alternatives annoying at times are conspicuously absent here. Whoever coined the term "Joy" to sum up the essence of a BMW must have enjoyed many happy miles in a 128i.