Last week’s photo showed the door of the new BMW 3 Series sedan, which comes in both four-cylinder and six-cylinder forms. It’s easy to confuse the various models in the BMW family, and a number of readers guessed that the photo showed the larger 5 Series or the even larger 7 Series. For the complete picture and a road test of the popular 3 Series sedan, see this week’s review.
Chosen randomly from the correct entries was the name David Anderson, of Canton, Ga., a regular contestant in What Is It? He wrote:
“The chrome window trim surround and the unique multispoke wheels pinpoint this as a Luxury Line 3 Series sedan. Available as the 328 with a 2-liter four-cylinder pumping out 240 horsepower, or as the 335 with a 3-liter L inline-six pumping out 300 horsepower, both engine choices are twin turbocharged claiming 33 mpg highway. A six-speed manual transmission is standard with either choice. Although BMW’s tagline is the Ultimate Driving Machine, however, the 3 Series lineup is the largest sedan/coupe available with a manual transmission. If you need or want the larger 5, 6 or 7 Series, you have only the automatic transmission available.
“A recent news story made the point that the newer computer controlled automatic transmissions are now the mileage champions over the historically more fuel efficient manual. But the story also acknowledged that for most people buying a new car with a manual transmission, the fact that a manual makes the car more fun to drive is also a factor.
“This has always been my point in harping on the manual transmission. Driving a manual transmission requires more of the driver. You have to listen to the engine, coordinate your feet to back-off on the accelerator as you depress the clutch for the next shift. You have to know when to shift, know what gear you are currently in and know where the next gear is on the shift pattern. You have to be aware of the traffic around you, especially if you have to stop and restart on a hill. In a word, you have to be more involved in the actual driving of the car.
Maybe this is a partial solution to the teen texting-while-driving dilemma? Require them to only drive manual transmission cars and they’re too involved in just keeping the car going down the road that they don’t have a free thought, much less a free hand for that all-too-deadly texting.”
Anderson might be on to something there. For being selected, he wins a gift from The Augusta Chronicle.
The only other reader identifying the vehicle was:
AUGUSTA: George Ogles.