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2008 BMW 1-Series 128i 2dr Coupe

2008 BMW 1-Series
Trim Info:
Rear Wheel Drive, 2 Door Coupe, Subcompact
18 mpg city / 28 mpg hwy
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Expert Reviews

May 4, 2019 by Jon Alain Guzik

2008 BMW 1-Series 1
2008 BMW 1-Series

DriverSide Overview
BMW billed their 1-Series as a return the company’s roots and was intended as a modern update to their famed 2002, which ran in production from 1968-1976. The 1-Series, like the 2002, is small, nimble and packed with plenty of power under the hood. The 1-Series was highly anticipated by BMW purists for years and, as one might guess from its numeric label, it enters the market as BMW’s entry model, providing a welcome alternative to the significantly more expensive and larger 3-Series. Available with either a naturally aspirated 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine - 128i - or with our choice, a twin-turbocharged version of the same mill - 135i - both rear-wheel drive models are a refreshingly fun blast from the past and provide a driving experience that harkens back to a time when premium sports cars were small, agile and didn't cost a fortune.

What's to Like
This is a BMW, so build quality, workmanship and interior fit and finish are fantastic. With the 135i, there’s no lack of power – the twin-turbo inline-six puts out massive horsepower and torque to the rear wheels. Drop the clutch and mash the throttle and the laughs kick in immediately. While the six-speed manual transmission is the preferred gearbox, the paddle-shifter equipped auto isn’t bad either.
What's Not to Like
The 128i seems somewhat underpowered, the interior is somewhat cramped, the price is quite high, but it is a small BMW. Aside from that, the 1-Series is almost faultless.
The Drive:
DriverSide Driving Impressions

To say that the 135i is quick would be an exercise in minimalist diction. Mash the gas and the twin-turbo engine spools to life with no lag whatsoever, providing abundant power from low rpm. The suspension provides a comfortably stiff ride through town but comes into its own once properly apexed. Both the 128i and the 135i feel planted to the road even after charging the corner and braking late, inspiring confidence that you can rely on the car’s massive brakes to slow you down. The drive is spirited and inspires glee and happiness, something you can’t say for every sub-30k car.
Engine and Drivetrain
The 128i delivers 230 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque thanks to its 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine. The 135i’s twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine puts out 300 horsepower and the 300 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are available with a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and both are rear-wheel drive.
Interesting Vehicle Features and Options
Key Technology Evaluation

The 1-Series comes with a pretty trick key fob that plugs into the dash, allowing the driver to start the vehicle via push button. The cabin is laced with Bluetooth goodness for hands-free calling, in addition to a navigation system. An optional premium sound system complete with HD radio and audio in addition to USB inputs rounds out the otherwise utilitarian cabin.
Green Evaluation/Gas Mileage
Though the 1-Series is petite compared to its larger brother, the 3-Series, it’s no more eco-friendly, especially in 135i trim. The 128i delivers 18 mpg city and 28 mpg highway when equipped with the manual transmission and 19 mpg city, 28 mpg highway when you opt for the manual. Even with the dual-turbo set up, the 135i churns out 17 mpg city and 25 mpg highway in manual, 18 mpg city, 26 mpg highway as an automatic.
A Closer Look:  Vehicle Details

BMW took the Mies Van Der Rohe’s motto of “less is more" to heart. The 1-Series has one of those near-flawless utilitarian interiors that has made BMW the industry benchmark. The coupes come stock with leatherette seats that should hold up well to everyday wear, but non-vegans can opt for genuine leather for an extra $1,450. A number of beautiful accents are available inside as well, our favorite being the Gray Poplar Wood.
With styling distilled from the company’s larger coupes and sedans, this car reeks of sexy. A different front fascia with a more aggressive air inlet distinguishes the 135i from the 128i, as do HID headlights.
Market Segment and Pricing
BMW’s 128i has an MSRP of $28,600 for the coupe and $33,100 for the convertible. The more powerful 135i coupe starts at $34,900 and the convertible version starts at $39,100. Since this is a BMW, the price rises with every option. The 1-Series finds itself in odd company with rear-drive competitors like the Ford Mustang GT at $28,375, the Mazda RX-8 at $27,085 and its truest competition, the Infiniti G37 Coupe at $34,900. Also, it seems that BMW may be poaching its own sales with the 328i Coupe starting at $35,600.
What We Think
The 1-Series is a great step in the right direction for BMW. The concoction of small and fun-to-drive is nearly perfect, with one glaring exception – the price. The 1-Series’ MSRP puts it in direct competition with the German manufacturer’s 3-Series. If it were up to us, we would drop just a little more coin ($41,200) for the 335i Coupe and enjoy a larger cabin and comfortable ride, even at the expense of performance. The 1-Series is a remarkable car not because of any one aspect, but because of the holistic beauty of all the parts working together. BMW took a gamble bringing a small, powerful sports car to America and pricing it as a larger car.

Other Resources

Review: 2008 BMW 135i Coupe – (Credit: Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks) BMW's announcement of the 135i hit us like Pavlov's bell, the one he used to make his dog salivate. Once we got into the 2008 BMW 135i Coupe, all of our expectations were met, and more. BMW threw its best engi Source:

R32 vs GTI vs 135i - The R32 Challenge - Web Exclusive Material Included – R32 vs GTI vs 135i - The R32 Challenge - Web Exclusive Material IncludedWhen we first drove the Mk5 VW R32 (et 10/07), we gave it a slightly lukewarm reception: as did most others. However, our brief spell in the car didn't allow a final verdict. Yet Source:

2008 BMW 128i - One on One – 2008 BMW 128i - One on OneRead More | Digg It | Add to Source:

DRIVERS LOG: 2008 BMW 135i: – SENIOR EDITOR BOB GRITZINGER: This latest version of BMW's "entry" model eschews some of the $9,000 worth of options that punched the price of our previously tested 135i to $45,000. Source:

DRIVER'S LOG: 2008 BMW 128i Coupe: – MOTORSPORTS EDITOR MAC MORRISON: We have waited a long time to sample the closest thing BMW makes to an entry-level car, and I was pleased to find that the 128i's smaller engine does not make it feel altogether different from its 135i sibling. Source:

In The Autoblog Garage: BMW 128i Convertible – Filed under: In the Autoblog Garage, Convertibles, BMWBMW's 1-Series does not smirk at you and say "don't hate me because I'm beautiful." No, this small Teut is easy to deride on appearance; one look has you hating it because it's not beautiful while Source:

BMW 135i Coupe Sway Bar Fitting - BMW 135i Project update – BMW 135i Coupe Sway Bar Fitting - BMW 135i Project updateTurner Motorsport ( recently sent us the first pair of H&R sway bars in the country for our 135i project. Unfortunately, we hadn't anticipated the need to drop the rear Source:

Bimmer Forum – Interact with the BMW community on the forums. Source:

First Test: 2008 BMW 128i – We're all clamoring about the 135i, but can you blame us? The surprising power delivery and cornering capability of the BMW make it hard not to. But while the 135i is the focal point of the 1 Series offerings in the U.S., the 128i is the more sensibl Source:

Test drive: 2008 BMW 128i Convertible – Most of my regular readers know how I feel about BMWs. (If you don't, read the beginning of my 2008 BMW M3 test drive.) It's not the cars I have... Source:

BMW 135i Profiled – Has BMW created a new coupe derived of the same format as its earlier 2002 Turbo? Check out this video on the new 3.0 liter I6 Twin Turbo 135i. This car is a prime definition of fun. Download iPod / PSP Video Source:

Motive Long-Termers: BMW 135i and Audi S6 - Part 4 – Motive Long-Termers: BMW 135i and Audi S6 - Part 4 Source:

BMW 135i Project and Project Silverstone - Our Cars – BMW 135i Project and Project Silverstone - Our CarsAn Update On Our Project Cars And What We've Been Doing To ThemBMW 135I ProjectYou may recall last month that Turner Motorsport ( sent us the first pair of H&R sway bars in t Source:

Motive Project Car Update, um, Update: BMW 135i Alcantara Interior Trim – If you read today's long-term project car update (it's scrolling through the banner above, or you can click the features tab) you might have noticed that the photo of the BMW 135i's interior is missing the aluminum trim that came with the car, and in Source:

Rumormill: BMW 135i "SuperSports" model coming in 2010 – Filed under: Coupes, Sports/GTs, BMW, Rumormill Click above for a high-res gallery of the BMW 1 Series tii concept According to a report originally posted at Germancarzone and then repeated at BMW Blog, a certain Bavarian automaker is currently worki Source:

2008 BMW 135i - Proven – 2008 BMW 135i - ProvenMental Steroids For The Bantam BimmerBMW has created quite a stir with its return to small performance coupes. While some say the normally aspirated 3.0-liter found in the 128; is more than adequate for the car, the twin-turbo i Source:

2008 BMW 135i - Four Seasons Update - January 2009 – 2008 BMW 135i - Four Seasons Update - January 2009How is our 2008 BMW 135i fairing after nine months in the Automobile fleet?SuspensionThe complaints about the too-firm suspension, especially on rebound, has reached a fever-pitch now that the pavemen Source:

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