The 128i is almost the same weight and hp as the e36 M3. So is a e36 M3 an enthusiast's car? With MT, the 128i vert, heavier than a coupe, is rated at about 6.4 seconds zero to 60 and a 15 second quarter mile. It is not underpowered or slow. It is a lot of fun.
My decision point on power was a comparison to my 2006 Suzuki Grand Vitara SUV. It's V6 is rated 185hp and 185 ft lbs. It weighs about 3700 lbs. I have towed over 2000 lbs with 4 adults on board running the AC. That's about it's limit but with the 128i having about 50 more hp and 300 lbs less weight, I was sure it was quick enough to be entertaining. You need to keep the rpm up is you want to move fast but that is part of learning to drive.
I would rather have a dipstick but how often do you check your oil level? It's an adjustment to do this while you are driving but you don't need something to wipe the dipstick on when you check electronically. The RFTs will likely need replaced soon, if they haven't been already on a CPO.
The radio is better through 2009. The lowest level system BMW offered in 2008 and 2009 in the U. S. was the mid level system in other markets. In 2010 they went to the lowest level or the highest level system. The lowest level system has 6 inch woofers (versus 8) and no tweeters. The mid level system, base in 2008 and 2009, has 10 speakers, a 4 inch and separate tweeter on each side in both the front and the back and a 8 inch sub under each seat. I'm sure the higher system is better but this mid level system is good enough for me.
The clutch valve doesn't bug me. I've driven a manual nearly 40 years and a BMW manual is easier to drive than most. The hill hold is nice.
128i Convertible, MT, Alpine White, Black Top, Taupe Leatherette, Walnut, Sport
Ordered 5/22/09, Completed 6/4/09, At Port 6/9/09, On the Georgia Highway 6/13/09, Ship Arrived Charleston 6/24/09 at 10pm, PCD 7/21/09