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      01-26-2013, 07:57 AM   #1
Goombeh
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125i..... would never have thought.....

So many of us judge without knowing, so many of us assess and offer opinion without actually experiencing. It's a common forum thing, it's a common thing.

Well I may have been partially one of these, so when my wife said recently that she would really like a 125i and could we go and have a look at one, my immediate response was "why do you want the 125? we'll go and look at the 135."

We had a little discussion about it with me generally asserting confidently that "the 135 has the power you want, we're not doing it by halves". Well, she stood her ground and advised that she did not need the power, and that she just needs enough.

Off we go to Mornington BMW to have a look at 1 of the 7 manual 125s being advertised and arranged a test drive.

Wife drove first, and my immediate thought was, I thought this was supposed to be the sluggish one. Five minutes in and I was chomping at the bit to switch seats and take the reins.

First thing I noticed was that I was able to find a much more comfortable driving position due to this having the manual seats as opposed to mine with electric adjustment. Great start, but when the drive began, I was immediately impressed. The car felt very lively and responsive, the steering, although not as communicative, still felt very nicely weighted and direct. The clutch was very light but not overly so. But that engine response and sound.............sensational, I found myself constantly shifting between 6th and 3rd just for the hell of it, just for the little rev matching brrrappp accompanying each downshift, it was immensly enjoyable. The chassis was typical 1 series and felt super tight and rigid. Not harsh, but not completely insulating, very nicely tuned (it was the M-Sport pack) and judged.

I could go on, but the wrap up was that I had a ball in this little thing, and I didn't really feel like it was underpowered at all for daily driving. It sounded sensational which undoubtedly had something to do with the lack of snails. Brilliant little car, loved it, we bought one for her today, not that first one we drove as it was not the quality I was agreeing with, but found one which was like new and the drive was even better.

So next time you go to make comment or give opinion on something which you haven't actually experienced in any meaningful manner, I'd suggest reserving your judgement until such a time avails. Because as did I, you may find that your opinion is highly unfounded and inaccurate.

For those with the 135i's, I get it, for those with the 125's or 128i's I definitely get you too, because no longer do I think the 125/128 is just the one you get when you can't quite stretch for the turbo motor. It's a brilliant balance between handling and power and actually offers (in my opinion) a slightly more connected driving experience, undoubtetly attributed to the rapid responding throttle.

Enjoy your 1's, they're fantastic little machines.
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      01-26-2013, 09:22 AM   #2
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      01-26-2013, 09:26 AM   #3
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+1
125i is a gret car... NA straight 6 at its best!
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      01-26-2013, 10:11 AM   #4
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I just recently drove a 125i and really enjoyed it too. Just wait to you put a BMW Performance Exhaust on he car. It is by far the coolest sounding exhaust I have heard on a NA. Lots of pops and gurgling - really nice.
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      01-26-2013, 10:55 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goombeh View Post
So many of us judge without knowing, so many of us assess and offer opinion without actually experiencing. It's a common forum thing, it's a common thing.

Well I may have been partially one of these, so when my wife said recently that she would really like a 125i and could we go and have a look at one, my immediate response was "why do you want the 125? we'll go and look at the 135."

We had a little discussion about it with me generally asserting confidently that "the 135 has the power you want, we're not doing it by halves". Well, she stood her ground and advised that she did not need the power, and that she just needs enough.

Off we go to Mornington BMW to have a look at 1 of the 7 manual 125s being advertised and arranged a test drive.

Wife drove first, and my immediate thought was, I thought this was supposed to be the sluggish one. Five minutes in and I was chomping at the bit to switch seats and take the reins.

First thing I noticed was that I was able to find a much more comfortable driving position due to this having the manual seats as opposed to mine with electric adjustment. Great start, but when the drive began, I was immediately impressed. The car felt very lively and responsive, the steering, although not as communicative, still felt very nicely weighted and direct. The clutch was very light but not overly so. But that engine response and sound.............sensational, I found myself constantly shifting between 6th and 3rd just for the hell of it, just for the little rev matching brrrappp accompanying each downshift, it was immensly enjoyable. The chassis was typical 1 series and felt super tight and rigid. Not harsh, but not completely insulating, very nicely tuned (it was the M-Sport pack) and judged.

I could go on, but the wrap up was that I had a ball in this little thing, and I didn't really feel like it was underpowered at all for daily driving. It sounded sensational which undoubtedly had something to do with the lack of snails. Brilliant little car, loved it, we bought one for her today, not that first one we drove as it was not the quality I was agreeing with, but found one which was like new and the drive was even better.

So next time you go to make comment or give opinion on something which you haven't actually experienced in any meaningful manner, I'd suggest reserving your judgement until such a time avails. Because as did I, you may find that your opinion is highly unfounded and inaccurate.

For those with the 135i's, I get it, for those with the 125's or 128i's I definitely get you too, because no longer do I think the 125/128 is just the one you get when you can't quite stretch for the turbo motor. It's a brilliant balance between handling and power and actually offers (in my opinion) a slightly more connected driving experience, undoubtetly attributed to the rapid responding throttle.

Enjoy your 1's, they're fantastic little machines.
wow, you wrote up there every sensation I feel every time I drive my car... I've been driving it for 4 consecutive years now and I can't agree more...
125/128 are really very balanced and enjoyable cars, and unless one is racing on a track, they are really the most agile daily-driving-machine one can ever get.
My concern now is whether their 4 cyl. replacement engine are as good to drive and hear to as the inline 6. hope someone will be able to compare the 2 the way you did up here.

thanks for the review and hope you'll enjoy your wife's ride as much as she will :-)
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      01-26-2013, 11:10 AM   #6
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To the OP, you can add 52 hp to the 125i as well with just software than enables the DISA valves that are already there but not turned on. Check out the thread in the 128i engine section about that.

Nice to see someone finally get behind the wheel of the N52 and get it. It's a simply brilliant engine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dackelone View Post
I just recently drove a 125i and really enjoyed it too. Just wait to you put a BMW Performance Exhaust on he car. It is by far the coolest sounding exhaust I have heard on a NA. Lots of pops and gurgling - really nice.
Yup. With my SuperSpint headers any time I let off the gas and she goes into overrun there are just a series of pops and gurgles.
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      01-26-2013, 05:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dackelone View Post
I just recently drove a 125i and really enjoyed it too. Just wait to you put a BMW Performance Exhaust on he car. It is by far the coolest sounding exhaust I have heard on a NA. Lots of pops and gurgling - really nice.
Funny you say that Dack, the one we bought had the BMW performance exhaust on it and my wife was concerned about the volume. It was her car so I asked the dealer if he was able to replace it with a standard one. As I drove back to the showroom, we passed between two factories up a large driveway and as I trailed the throttle in second, the thing started crackling and burbling like a highly strung race tuned car, loved it! Opened that windows and said to wife, "you sure you want to change the pipe to standard" just as I backed off in gear again, crackle crackle burp.... hahahah... she looked at me and said, you like the sound don't you? "How can you tell" I said with a big dumb grin across my face.

She turned to the salesman and said, "we'll just leave the exhaust hey".

I'm so impressed, I'd stated clearly before that I've never really liked driving any of the 3 series to date, and does inlcude the E92 M3 yes, fantasic car but I felt like it made a hell of a lot of noise and didn't really do as much as it sounded like it was doing. And the 6 speed in that I think felt a little underdeveloped, still a little long in throw and baulky which took away a little of the fun. E46 M3 Gearbox felt the same too. Strange.

But every 1 series I've driven I've been very impressed with so far, even the new slightly pig faced 116, which did feel underpowered, but was still a decent drive.

So pleased BMW made these.
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      01-26-2013, 07:58 PM   #8
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YEAH, what he said...
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      01-26-2013, 11:13 PM   #9
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I just purchased a 135 and drove several 128s in the past.

The non-turbo version of the motor is tons of fun because you can wind it up and down which I think it is incredibly engaging.

With the 135, unless the roads are incredibly tight you end up between 2000 - 4000rpm most of the time unless you are "tracking it" with hard acceleration and braking the whole time which is kind of frantic.

I bought the 135 because it was a great deal but I would have grabbed a 128 as well if it had the sport package.
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      01-27-2013, 12:58 AM   #10
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I have a 135i and have ALWAYS admired the 128i. I understand exactly what you're saying OP. congrats on the new ride.
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      01-27-2013, 03:03 AM   #11
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Hurray +1 for the n52 guys. I've had lots of time behind the wheel of an n52 car and they are not underpowered at all in 6 speed form. Your dealer actually had manual 1ers on the lot that's a rareity stateside. Ida been perfectly happy with a 128s power. I bought my 135 because it comes standard with so much more an once I got done adding that to a 128 I'd be paying a 135price. That and I'm an exhaust whore and absolutely love the way it sounds when I start my n55 (like the n54 too but they have a slightly different note on startup) cold starts especially. That is something no matter what exhaust you throw on an n52 can't be replicated. Guess it has to do with the difference in fuel being injected into the engines at startup. Plus as one one stated earlier most times in a 135 you are between 2 and 4 k and don't really have room to rev it up high often. But so glad someone else appreciates the NA n52. It's the last of a dying breed. I'm gonna grab up me another NA BMW pretty soon I think.
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      01-27-2013, 04:27 AM   #12
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Well I didn't had a chance to drive 125i but my sister owns 325ti (compact) which should be something similar to 125i short wheel base great balanced weight nice NA engine + perfect sound. And the feeling of GO CART.

What I'm trying to say real balance is behind 125i weight distribution and stuff like that.

Just look how many problems have OEM 135i although it's a great car. But as we say it should came from the factory with Performance suspension, w/o runflats, with M3 bushings etc....
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      01-27-2013, 07:33 AM   #13
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They're also not under powered at all with automatic.
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      01-27-2013, 08:13 AM   #14
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Quote:
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They're also not under powered at all with automatic.
What he said A+
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      01-27-2013, 06:55 PM   #15
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They're also not under powered at all with automatic.
Not underpowered no but the auto trans is harder to extract the power out of where as the 6 speed is easier to keep in the sweet spot more of the time. I didn't mean to dog on it it's not the cars fault they should have made the auto tranny better that's all. Just my personal opinion that's all I'm sure not everyone will agree. But several people have said the difference between an auto n52 128/328 is night and day from a 6 speed and that it feels much better and makes the motor feel more lively and I agree. Me personally though I'm just not an auto guy. I need 3 pedals. My 135 is a 6 speed and I wouldn't have it any other way no matter how great the dct is. And it is great at what it does and was designed for.
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      01-28-2013, 12:05 AM   #16
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Quote:
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Hurray +1 for the n52 guys. I've had lots of time behind the wheel of an n52 car and they are not underpowered at all in 6 speed form. Your dealer actually had manual 1ers on the lot that's a rareity stateside. Ida been perfectly happy with a 128s power. I bought my 135 because it comes standard with so much more an once I got done adding that to a 128 I'd be paying a 135price. That and I'm an exhaust whore and absolutely love the way it sounds when I start my n55 (like the n54 too but they have a slightly different note on startup) cold starts especially. That is something no matter what exhaust you throw on an n52 can't be replicated. Guess it has to do with the difference in fuel being injected into the engines at startup. Plus as one one stated earlier most times in a 135 you are between 2 and 4 k and don't really have room to rev it up high often. But so glad someone else appreciates the NA n52. It's the last of a dying breed. I'm gonna grab up me another NA BMW pretty soon I think.
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      02-03-2013, 06:51 AM   #17
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Glad to see there are some 125/128 fans out there, great car.

So we brought the thing home, wife drove, I followed (it's her can after all), and we get home and she's having all sorts of trouble getting used to the clutch. She's been driving manuals all her life and would rather gouge her own eyes out with a plastic spoon than drive an auto. And she's good too, so she asked me if it's normal. So i took it for a drive, and it really was horrible. The take up and engagement was all over the place. She came back from the shops and said she was bunny hopping all over the carpark for the first time ever. Felt like she's forgotten how to control her left leg.

Then I remembered the CDV. Did some research to see if these had them. I took mine off the 1M and it was an improvement.

So up she went and off came the valve. Bled the clutch and back on the ground.

I called her out and said, let's take her for a drive. What a difference!! She just got in and drove it smooth. She was so pleased, so I took over and my word, the difference was so completely clear that it seemed like a different car. Just such a pleasure to drive now. I know I just changed the topic a little but I enjoyed it before we bought it, now it's just superb.
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      02-03-2013, 10:20 AM   #18
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I remember when i first got my 1er i thought i was just horrible at stick because of the CDV. once i removed it, shifting because 10 times smoother without the inconsistent feel in the clutch pedal.
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      02-04-2013, 07:04 AM   #19
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Congrats on the 125 purchase...... I too fell in love with the 125 over the 135. I had extended drives of both and bang for buck the 125 did it for me. Each are great cars but being the last of the NA straight six was too much an opportunity to miss. The turbo 4's will be great cars with better fuel economy but it will never-ever sound like the NA 6.
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      02-04-2013, 07:52 AM   #20
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Interesting thread. I had a 135i and my wife had a 125i for about 2 years. We bought both cars at the same time. I love the 125i every time I jumped in - the balance and that engine was just beautiful. It is what BMW was all about. I still think the 125i is a much more balanced and better handled package than the 135i.

However, whenever I jumped back in the 135i, I realised that torque is so addictive.
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      02-04-2013, 10:24 PM   #21
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Yeah balance is the word. Had I been looking at a 135 or 125, I'd dare say it would have been a hard one. The 125's motor just revs so quick and cleanly that it's just a delight. In fairness, I haven't spent a lot of time in a 135. But I reckon the 125 has enough go for the street. But then I'm a balance sort of guy, not a drag racer.
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      02-05-2013, 12:00 AM   #22
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This thread brought a tear to my eye and forced me to take down my listing to sell my car.
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