confuZion3 UltraDork
7/29/08 3:42 p.m.

I liked the 128 convertible that I drove a few months back. It had a manual transmission which felt smooth and had logical gear progressions. The engine didn't seem to have the torque that I was expecting, but I imagine that void is more than filled by the 135i.

As for the top: it's nice to approach a car on a hot day and have it put the top down for you while you're still 20 feet away. And I never get over how beautiful the whole ordeal of putting a top down is in a complex convertible like the 128 or the 350Z. I also appreciate that they kept the 1 series simple with the fabric top, instead of moving to the more complex and expensive folding hardtop.

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Tom Heath
Tom Heath UberDork
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

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.

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