We've had a string of lovely BMWs travel through the office this the past summer. While we fell head over heels for the M3 and were ready to marry the 335i, we were surprised that we didn't enjoy the 135i a bit more. Not that it wasn't an exhilarating ride, but it was a little harsh when pushed. We loved the car, but we believe the 1-series chassis would benefit from a less-is-more approach: Less money, less weight (by a little, at least) and less power. It's a good chassis, but there's simply too much stuck to it.
What we need is an entry-level car with entry-level features. Enter the 128i.
The amenities are all BMW, so most of it feels a lot like the 335i in our project car fleet. Despite the absence of an iDrive interface, controls were easy to find and operate. The car didn't hold too many surprises, but we were impressed with the smooth power convertible top. There was enough room to squeeze a couple of kids or smaller adults in the back, but you'll never confuse it with a people hauler.
With a base price of $33,100, the 128i saves some coin compared to its siblings. However, premium options like the sport and luxury packages brought the bottom line of our test car to an eyebrow-raising $43,900.