BMW 1 Series Coupe Forum / 1 Series Convertible Forum (1M / tii / 135i / 128i / Coupe / Cabrio / Hatchback) (BMW E82 E88 128i 130i 135i)
 





 

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      03-03-2017, 10:34 PM   #1
xlr231
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Need advice on 135i N54 vs N55 vs 128i

I need some advice on choosing between an N54 135i, an N55, 135i, or a 128i. Initially I was looking to get a 135i with an N55 and DCT because of of it's increased reliability over the N54. I've also been looking at a couple 2009 135i that I could get for about $5000 less than the 2011+. I've also started thinking about possibly just getting a 128i to avoid the turbo and direct injection related maintenance and potential reliability problems.

The extra power of the 135i would be nice but I'm not really sure I need it. I have driven a few of each, but couldn't really evaluate the speed and acceleration due to traffic, but I'm guessing the 128i would be adequate as an upgrade over my 1999 323i. I actually care more about the exhaust tone and cracks/pops that I'd get with a 135i than I'd care about the speed. But the low end torque would come in handy for jumping over a lane and getting up to speed when I get stuck going 20MPH behind someone who doesn't know how to use a highway entrance ramp.

One issue I've run into while looking for a car is that a 128i with Xenons is very hard to find, and the few I have seen are more than most of the 135i I've been looking at.

My must haves are - a coupe with Sport Seats and/or M sport. Probably a must have- Xenon lights. Would really like but could live without - Comfort Access, HiFi audio, heated seats.

Are Xenon headlights that much better than halogen that I should just get an 135i if I can't find a reasonably priced 128i with them? Is the power and exhaust sound on the 135i worth any possible reliability problems? Is the 135i too fast to really punch it and rev to redline on the street without crossing over into reckless driving?
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      03-07-2017, 12:23 AM   #2
fboutlaw
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Well, you're on a rabbit hole subject here that will lead to tons of here-say and conjecture. So I'll try to keep the moral high ground here.

Good Choice on looking at a 1.

In terms of engine, if you want to feel kicked back in your seat and smile occasionally (think every on-ramp), get a 135i (either N54 or 55). If you're not planning to mod it, either works well. Just look for a not over-abused or wrecked car. And... the reliability concerns are WAY overblown. Only get the 128i if the 135i is out of budget. Yes, it's more linear and smooth, but there's nothing special there, it's just all round pretty good... not great.

Headlights: xenons are great because they're active and follow your steering wheel. If you have twisty roads and drive at night, this is a big advantage. If it's all straight roads, then don't worry about them, very little advantage.

Your other options:
Comfort access - don't pay extra for it
Hifi audio - this wasn't worth the cost. don't pay extra. You can do better with a good set of paper-cone house speakers on the base radio.
Heated seats - I find this worth a few extra $$

Good Luck.
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      03-08-2017, 09:56 AM   #3
Gray_Panther
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If you can find the unicorn 128i then jump on it.
Otherwise, better off going with the N55 135i for reliability.
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      03-08-2017, 11:14 AM   #4
Dackelone
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Get a nice clean 135i N55. Get a 2012 or 2013... the 2013, 135i"s" came with the PE(Performance Exhaust & PPK added power PLUS pop, pop, POPs!).

What made me choose the 135i over a 128i when new car shopping was when I optioned a 128i the way I wanted too... xenons, heated seats, M-sport... it was only a few grand less than a 135i. That is what made up my mind. The added power is addicting too. Now I have a flash tune and 400 HP doesn't seem like enough!
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      03-10-2017, 05:50 PM   #5
asbrr
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Will add a 128i perspective here, I am a couple months shy of 2 years in my 128i (bought a 2010 sport package in May of 2015).

I went through a similar back and forth process on what car to get. Was coming from a slower car, like you, so a 128i still represented a good performance jump for me. I found a low mileage 128i with sport package (susp, seats, 18" wheels - that's how they came in Canada) but not the M-sport which I was fine with as it's super rare here. Saved about $6K from an N54 135i, and maybe $8-$10K from an N55 (Canadian dollars). I needed the car to be a daily driver, reliable, and relatively good on fuel while still fun. The fact that it's the last NA inline-6, compact, manual sporty BMW car that they have made really appeals to me, sort of the classic BMW formula.

The car has been dead reliable so far, and I have used the money "saved" to upgrade it on a number of fronts, using an "OEM+" mentality:

- 135i muffler with golf tee mod: Deeper sound, a few pops/burbles, but subtle. A PE muffler sounds fantastic on a 128i as it doesn't take much to get sound out of this engine as it is normally aspirated

- 135i front brakes: on the lighter 128i, they work very very well

- CDV delete, rouge transmission mounts: should've come this way from the factory, a 135i benefits just as much from these mods

- Bilstein B12 kit: nice daily driver performance, 15mm lower than stock M-sport, and much improved body control

- Dinan camber plates, and dinan shock mounts, went in same time as suspension

- Whiteline 2 piece subframe bushings: went in same time as suspension

- 10mm/12mm BMS wheel spacers

- BMW performance shift knob & boot

- AKG Shifter DSSR, Bronze clutch pedal bushings, and refreshed OEM shifter parts

- MFactory Helical Diff, 3.23 (stock) ratio

Next mods/plan:
- 3 stage intake manifold with software
- who knows what else....??

The car is a ton of fun right now, great as a daily driver and occasional DE/lapping day car. Happy with my choice....
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      03-13-2017, 11:19 PM   #6
xlr231
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Thanks for the input. I've been looking for over 3 months now, I'm starting to think I should just give up finding exactly what I want and get whatever I can find that is close.

The frustrating thing is the local BMW dealer had a 2011 135i that was pretty much exactly what I was looking for but was a little overpriced. I was out of town when they dropped the price and when I got back someone had put a deposit on it the day before.

I went to look at a newly listed 128i 6MT this weekend. When I got there they said they had shipped it out of state to have a recall taken care of.

They talked me into driving another 128i they had, it turned out to be a non-sport, convertible, with an automatic. I've already driven 4 other 1 series, but this was the first one I've taken on the highway. Maybe it was the fact that it was a convertible, but it seemed a little unsettled going over bumpy roads at that speed.

Also when I hit the gas to accelerate up to highway speed it seemed like the transmission didn't know what to do. It downshifted to first but then it was like it was stuck there and just kept bouncing off the rev limiter. I'm guessing maybe it was just something wrong with this one, but both 128i I've driven the transmission seemed a little off. But the other one had been sitting un-driven for months.

I've been leaning towards an auto since I'm not sure I want to deal with a clutch in Atlanta traffic. Not sure if the auto in the 128i really sucks or it's just issues with the ones I've driven.
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      03-14-2017, 12:46 PM   #7
asbrr
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Well I wouldn't do an auto in a 128i, if you want an auto I'd steer more towards the N55 w/ DCT honestly.
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      03-20-2017, 03:14 PM   #8
xlr231
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I went and test drove a manual 128 this weekend. Overall I liked the car. It's the color I'm looking for, had the M sport pack and the previous owner upgraded to bmw performance wheels and I'm guessing maybe exhaust as well based on how it sounded. Unfortunately it didn't have many other options. No heated seats, xenons, or comfort access.

I'm not sure the manual is the best choice for me. I live in Atlanta where traffic can sometimes be really bad. I'd like the manual shifting when I have the chance to do some spirited driving, but as my daily driver I think I'd get annoyed with it a lot of the time.
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      03-21-2017, 05:15 PM   #9
asbrr
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Yea - based on that go for a 135i, N55 with the DCT transmission. You will have more to choose from than finding a properly optioned 128i.
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