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      06-28-2015, 10:27 PM   #1
champignon
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Can I Love a 128i ?

This is, of course, a rhetorical question that none of you can answer for me, but I hope you will try :-)

By way of history, I am a disgusted former BMW owner who abandoned the brand around 2002, after having owned a 1973 2002 for 8 years, and a 1993 325i for 10 years. The 2002 was my first car, bought new for $3700, with crank windows, no A/C, and no radio. but I digress . . . .

I use the term "disgusted" because I think it is accurate. Of all the brands that should have abandoned "drivers' cars," to have BMW do it is enough to make one puke. Most modern BMWs are hardly better than Lexus or Infiniti or any other "luxury brand" when it comes to the "joy of driving." If all you want is comfortable chair in which to sit, with functional, automatic climate control, and isolation from the road while the car essentially drives itself, then there is no reason to be disappointed. But if what you seek is the "fun" of driving, then look elsewhere.

So, I abandoned BMW for Subaru, among other brands. My current "real car" is a 2015 Subaru WRX-STi, which is a rough and sometimes unpleasant experience to sit in, however, it delivers up heaps of road feel, control, and performance.

About 9 months ago I happened to run into someone I vaguely know, who was sitting in an ancient 3-series car with about 250,000 miles on it. We got to chatting and it made me yearn for my old and enjoyable experiences driving ancient BMWs, before the brand came to represent hardly anything at all other than outdoing your next door neighbor. This got me to thinking that maybe I should buy some old examples from the good-old-days.

So, now I have a couple of Z3 Coupes, one of which is an M, and they certainly drive like real BMWs. Of course, they are not comfortable like modern cars, but they are a lot of fun to drive, if not the most practical cars given their size and cargo carrying capacities. I expect to keep them for the duration.

Somehow I got interested in the 1-series as the last bastion of genuine BMWs, before electric steering, automatic transmissions, and all the rest turned BMW into a totally lost brand. Then I found the 1M and now I own one, and it is a great car, if not entirely representative of BMW's past, mostly because of the turbo engine. It's a keeper for sure.

So I am thinking about buying one more car to complete my little BMW collection. I've been thinking about buying a 128i, because it is the last naturally aspirated 6 cylinder small sport coupe that BMW is likely to ever make.

But them maybe I'm just fantasizing something that is not real, and that in actual execution it is just going to remind my of my 1M, and and not in a positive way, since it will be lacking in a number of the attributes of my real 1M. So maybe I should either buy something else, something older and more genuine, or just stop buying cars :-)

What do you think? All opinions welcome, especially from people who have formerly or currently own 128is, but also own or have driven 1Ms.
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      06-28-2015, 10:39 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by champignon View Post
This is, of course, a rhetorical question that none of you can answer for me, but I hope you will try :-)

By way of history, I am a disgusted former BMW owner who abandoned the brand around 2002, after having owned a 1973 2002 for 8 years, and a 1993 325i for 10 years. The 2002 was my first car, bought new for $3700, with crank windows, no A/C, and no radio. but I digress . . . .

I use the term "disgusted" because I think it is accurate. Of all the brands that should have abandoned "drivers' cars," to have BMW do it is enough to make one puke. Most modern BMWs are hardly better than Lexus or Infiniti or any other "luxury brand" when it comes to the "joy of driving." If all you want is comfortable chair in which to sit, with functional, automatic climate control, and isolation from the road while the car essentially drives itself, then there is no reason to be disappointed. But if what you seek is the "fun" of driving, then look elsewhere.

So, I abandoned BMW for Subaru, among other brands. My current "real car" is a 2015 Subaru WRX-STi, which is a rough and sometimes unpleasant experience to sit in, however, it delivers up heaps of road feel, control, and performance.

About 9 months ago I happened to run into someone I vaguely know, who was sitting in an ancient 3-series car with about 250,000 miles on it. We got to chatting and it made me yearn for my old and enjoyable experiences driving ancient BMWs, before the brand came to represent hardly anything at all other than outdoing your next door neighbor. This got me to thinking that maybe I should buy some old examples from the good-old-days.

So, now I have a couple of Z3 Coupes, one of which is an M, and they certainly drive like real BMWs. Of course, they are not comfortable like modern cars, but they are a lot of fun to drive, if not the most practical cars given their size and cargo carrying capacities. I expect to keep them for the duration.

Somehow I got interested in the 1-series as the last bastion of genuine BMWs, before electric steering, automatic transmissions, and all the rest turned BMW into a totally lost brand. Then I found the 1M and now I own one, and it is a great car, if not entirely representative of BMW's past, mostly because of the turbo engine. It's a keeper for sure.

So I am thinking about buying one more car to complete my little BMW collection. I've been thinking about buying a 128i, because it is the last naturally aspirated 6 cylinder small sport coupe that BMW is likely to ever make.

But them maybe I'm just fantasizing something that is not real, and that in actual execution it is just going to remind my of my 1M, and and not in a positive way, since it will be lacking in a number of the attributes of my real 1M. So maybe I should either buy something else, something older and more genuine, or just stop buying cars :-)

What do you think? All opinions welcome, especially from people who have formerly or currently own 128is, but also own or have driven 1Ms.
I am right there with you. I think a 128i with DISA, euro headers, the M3 front and rear control arms, M3 RSB and KW V3 kit might be one of the best BMWs for the money at the moment.

I've considered adding one to join my VO 1M (maybe a cabrio??). It's either that, or swap an S65 into my 1M... I'm just not a turbo guy...
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      06-28-2015, 10:56 PM   #3
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well....i originally started shopping for a 128i in 2013. i then ended up leasing a 135is.....and then ended up getting out of that and into a 1M.

i really love the 128i......i love the way the E82 looks and i like the simplicity of the 128i......

that being said.....you do already own THE best E82 that was ever made; so i kind of feeling buying something different altogether would be more interesting and worthwhile, IMO....different ideas for different days and different directions for different ways.
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      06-28-2015, 11:08 PM   #4
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well....i originally started shopping for a 128i in 2013. i then ended up leasing a 135is.....and then ended up getting out of that and into a 1M.

i really love the 128i......i love the way the E82 looks and i like the simplicity of the 128i......

that being said.....you do already own THE best E82 that was ever made; so i kind of feeling buying something different altogether would be more interesting and worthwhile, IMO....different ideas for different days and different directions for different ways.
So if I am going to buy another "collector's car" before I am done, what should it be? I wasted about 6 months looking at every M3 version, before deciding that M3s are not "collectible." Used M3s, especially if you go down to E36s and E46s, are definitely not worth buying, the resale market is dysfunctional, and all the decent lower mileage ones cost way more than they are worth, and once you buy one you can't resell them and get your money out.

If I bought a 128i I would use it differently than my 1M. My Subaru STi is going to be my go to winter car, and my 1M my go to summer car. The 128i would just be something to take on drives to go hiking, other elective little drives.

Alternatively, if I do buy another car, I could look for another 1M in a different color if the prices drop with the arrival of the M2.

Or, just forget about it and enjoy the cars I already have, which sounds the most sensible if the most boring choice!
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      06-28-2015, 11:22 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IEDEI View Post
well....i originally started shopping for a 128i in 2013. i then ended up leasing a 135is.....and then ended up getting out of that and into a 1M.

i really love the 128i......i love the way the E82 looks and i like the simplicity of the 128i......

that being said.....you do already own THE best E82 that was ever made; so i kind of feeling buying something different altogether would be more interesting and worthwhile, IMO....different ideas for different days and different directions for different ways.
I read this as- "go find a clean E46 M3"

Otherwise, you're looking a totally different price range... maybe a Cayman R?
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      06-28-2015, 11:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by champignon View Post
So if I am going to buy another "collector's car" before I am done, what should it be? I wasted about 6 months looking at every M3 version, before deciding that M3s are not "collectible." Used M3s, especially if you go down to E36s and E46s, are definitely not worth buying, the resale market is dysfunctional, and all the decent lower mileage ones cost way more than they are worth, and once you buy one you can't resell them and get your money out.

If I bought a 128i I would use it differently than my 1M. My Subaru STi is going to be my go to winter car, and my 1M my go to summer car. The 128i would just be something to take on drives to go hiking, other elective little drives.

Alternatively, if I do buy another car, I could look for another 1M in a different color if the prices drop with the arrival of the M2.

Or, just forget about it and enjoy the cars I already have, which sounds the most sensible if the most boring choice!
i guess i may not be the best person to ask i use my 1M for everything......and i mean EVERYTHING. daily driver, snowmobile, baby coming soon, NYC runaround, weekend fun, etc.....

i think you should do whatever YOU want. life is short....go after what you want. If that's a 128i...go for it...if that means enjoying what you have; by all means do so! You already seem to have plenty of nice toys-----so consider yourself fortunate!

i'm more of a minimalist....so i will run my 1M til the wheels fall off (hopefully i maintain it right and they don't! lol) and enjoy every second of it.

all the best in deciding!
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      06-28-2015, 11:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
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I read this as- "go find a clean E46 M3"

Otherwise, you're looking a totally different price range... maybe a Cayman R?
Been there, done that . . . .

Actually, I didn't do it. There were several E36 and E46 M3s that I got into protracted negotiations on. I negotiated on an E46 in Leguna Seca Blue for about 3 months. The problem (aside from subframe and other mechanical issues) was that once you buy you put yourself into the position that the seller was in before he sold it to you, being into a car for about 25% more than you could reasonably hope to resell it for, even 2 days later.

The only vintage M3 that I would buy is one with lots of miles on it that was well maintained and that cost maybe $12,000, tops. Otherwise you are going to get very severely screwed if you decide you want to resell it.

But getting back to the 128i; is it a pure, simple, old style BMW, or is it just a (very) poor man's 1M?
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      06-29-2015, 01:15 AM   #8
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This might sound strange but hear me out.

Like you I also was/am a massive bmw fan until they stopped being drivers cars. Still adore the z3 m coupe and e46 m3s. Currently own a 1m.

Then I discovered the clk63 black series. It's totally different car to drive from any bmw but the visceral thrill it offers surpasses even the m coupe. Once you learn the car it will really lay waste to all the cars you mentioned. But there is a learning curve. If you don't care about beating the other guy on the twisty road then mores the better. It just gives smiles on smiles on smiles.

Not comfortable at all tho.
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      06-29-2015, 01:18 AM   #9
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I love my 128i - you won't regret it

I didn't buy it to overtake every other car on the road though.
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      06-29-2015, 05:07 AM   #10
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my first bimmer was a 2006 325i sport. i got a good price on it and enjoyed. for unimportant reasons, i traded it in on an x3. mistake. not that the x3 is a bad vehicle, i just missed the sporty driving of the 325i.

i went to trade the x3 on an e46 m3, but by the time i got to the dealership, it was gone. but sitting there was a still dirty 2008 128i with 22k miles on it... it was late 2011. i drove it. it has the auto, which is fine. it was fun, snappy, small and had a nice tight feel.

fast foward 3.5 years, it has 94k miles on it, AA tune, k&n drop-in/charcoal delete, aFe scoops and i LOVE it! new lm reps on are their way today. i want to have them painted piano black to match the sportline trim (the car also has cold weather, premium, sport pkgs).

its had some issues, mostly electronic stuff, but all been fixed. its had all major gaskets replaced - oil filter housing, valve cover, oil pan. the trans fluid is getting changed at the end of july, when i have a little more time.

my goal is to get another 100k miles out of. by then, i may need a driver's seat!

so, buy the 128i and have a great time driving a fun, simple car.
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      06-29-2015, 08:46 AM   #11
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I really love my 128i, it offers what a true BMW should, but since you have a 1M, and Z3Ms, I think you'd have to do some solid modding to the 128i in order for you to think "hmm, I think I'll take the 128i out today instead of the 1M." I'm talking exhaust, maybe headers, M3 control arms up front, dampers and springs, upgrade the sway bars, wheels and good tires, subframe bushings . . .

And by all means get the 135i/M-sport bumper, or the aero package bumper. Without those, it really does look lame unfortunately
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      06-29-2015, 10:21 AM   #12
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I really love my 128i, it offers what a true BMW should, but since you have a 1M, and Z3Ms, I think you'd have to do some solid modding to the 128i in order for you to think "hmm, I think I'll take the 128i out today instead of the 1M." I'm talking exhaust, maybe headers, M3 control arms up front, dampers and springs, upgrade the sway bars, wheels and good tires, subframe bushings . . .
I have both a Z3M Coupe and a regular Z3 Coupe. I actually enjoy driving the regular Z3 Coupe and use it for little jaunts to go hiking and running around town.

If I was going to modify a 128i significantly, I'd either buy another car, or stop buying additional cars, which would probably be the smartest move anyway . . .

I keep looking for someone else's interesting modded vintage BMW, but all the ones I've seen so far are horrendous. For resale, collectors HATE modded cars, they prefer stock.
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      06-29-2015, 10:24 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by c63er View Post
This might sound strange but hear me out.

Like you I also was/am a massive bmw fan until they stopped being drivers cars. Still adore the z3 m coupe and e46 m3s. Currently own a 1m.

Then I discovered the clk63 black series. It's totally different car to drive from any bmw but the visceral thrill it offers surpasses even the m coupe. Once you learn the car it will really lay waste to all the cars you mentioned. But there is a learning curve. If you don't care about beating the other guy on the twisty road then mores the better. It just gives smiles on smiles on smiles.

Not comfortable at all tho.
I've looked at some other cars, especially Porsches, but in the end I think I'm too connected with the BMW brand, at least what it USED to represent, to go with something else. I have of course gone with something else for a daily driver, Subaru performance cars, but that is only because BMW no longer really wants that business.
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      06-29-2015, 12:40 PM   #14
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I am also disillusioned with almost everything from BMW except for 1M and maybe M2. I drive a NA 330i zhp and if I didn't have it already I would own a NA 128i and out big brakes and performance exhaust. If you can find an Msport with no sunroof and manual seats that is the purest BMW of late. It lacks the rear diff but 128i is lightest and purest and best sounding of later cars. I would buy one in a heartbeat if I didn't have the zhp already. Car and driver also felt the 128i was the purest and lightest when it came out. Best wishes.

No disrespect to 1M!!!!!!! I would take it over anything but the 128 as a daily good fuel Mileage car is hard to beat.

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      06-29-2015, 03:34 PM   #15
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I have both, 2013 128i and VO 1M.

It's odd and I can't quite explain it but as much as I love driving the 1M I also love driving the 128 and it doesn't even have a third pedal!

Odd indeed...
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      06-29-2015, 04:10 PM   #16
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It is an interesting question. I've owned a '99 E36 M3, an '07 STi, and now my 1M. If (read: when) I wanted another car I don't think I'd look for the baby brother of the 1M. I feel like every time I drove it I'd just look over at the 1M and ask myself why I wasn't driving that. I think this especially holds true if you would plan on modifying the 128 and have a 1M sitting right next to it...why? So when I do get another car it will likely be an E46 M3 (w/o SMG) or a Honda S2000.

As I have gotten older I have come to appreciate the soul of a car beyond what the numbers say. I've owned my 1M for just over a year now and only the other day looked up what it does in a quarter mile because it came up in conversation. I'm not sure I recall the 0-60...is it 4.7 or 4.8? I don't know what the best time is on the 'ring. And I don't care. People ask me if it's as fast as my stage 2 STi was. I tell them I don't know, who cares? The Driving Experience is amazing in the 1M. That's why I love it and that's why I'm not sure I'd want to supplement it with the 128 which, in my subjective opinion, would offer me less driving enjoyment.

E46 M3: NA...love how it looks...was the M3 I loved even before I got my E36...love the sound and driving 'feel'.

S2000: NA...It's a blast to ring it out to 9,000 (or 8,000 rpm)...it's a chassis that was built as a roadster (not a coupe that's been hacked into one)...love the fighter-jet-cockpit feel.
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      06-29-2015, 04:33 PM   #17
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As a long time BMW owner who shares the exact same viewpoint as you champignon, absolutely get one. The 128i represents the last gasp of traditional BMW. It has a silky smooth and wonderfully linear N/A inline 6, an incredibly feelsome steering rack, proper RWD, an excellent 6 speed transmission, low weight(mine is 3050lbs), and that fun that is simply lacking from the current lineup. It's only real flaw is the rather suspect styling that plagues the entire E82 lineup.

This is also the most modern BMW I will ever own. The brand after this car ended production is simply dead to me.

Other enthusiasts for the 128i include Mike Miller(of Roundel Tech Talk), who you are probably familiar with given your ownership of the 2002. His thoughts:





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      06-29-2015, 04:43 PM   #18
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Forgot to mention, the following items are required to make it a complete car:

-Remove runflats
-Replace subframe bushings with the M3 version
-At a bare minimum, some type of aftermarket shock


Bonus items to get 270-300hp:

-Headers
-3 stage intake manifold
-Tune
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      06-29-2015, 11:53 PM   #19
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Lots of GREAT replies in this thread; I really appreciate them, and keep them coming!!
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      06-30-2015, 01:11 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by champignon
Lots of GREAT replies in this thread; I really appreciate them, and keep them coming!!
Just to take a bit of a step back, you have a 1M for summer, an STI for winter, and the 128i would fill the void for odd commutes you wouldn't want to use the other two for, correct?

If this is the case why not look into a V8 X5 or X5M? I'm not sure what your lifestyle is like but the large storage capacity will offer a lot more practicality for hiking/camping trips or a new furniture purchase.

Until recently I've owned cars exclusively and always found ways to transport things in them, if it would fit, but to me the E82 is special. I won't take my 135i on gravel roads or try and transport something with it. For this reason I bought an SUV as a work/winter vehicle as I visit job sites for work. The flexibility this has added to my lifestyle has been great. No more phoning friends to help me get lumber for a project or move a couch. Makes camping trips in the back country a breeze, but it does leave me wishing I was driving the 1er once I'm back on pavement.

My point being that maybe you should entertain something other than another sports car simply for the flexibility it will add.
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      06-30-2015, 05:49 AM   #21
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I've got an S54 M Roadster and a 1M.
Yeah...you can totally love the 128 IF you've never driven a 1M.

Just my .02.

Honestly if you want a driver's car that will bring out your inner masochist (aka driver's car) then go Italian. I recommend the Alfa 4C. Or a Lotus Elise.

Last edited by Dee Pee; 06-30-2015 at 06:22 AM.
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      06-30-2015, 06:20 AM   #22
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Man, there's been a sea change of opinion towards the 128i here lately.

When the E82's were still in production, the prevailing attitude towards the 128i was negative. Now there seem to be a lot of second owners around, and the idea that BMW has "lost it's way" is a little more firmly entrenched in peoples' minds. I'm starting to see more and more threads in praise of the 128i, and now a thread full of 1M owners discussing the virtues of the car.

I love my 128i, after 5 years of ownership. All the basics are there: 6MT, slick top, xenons, sport package. It's been pretty extensively modded, but I think tastefully so, typically with OE or better quality components (DISA manifold, Ohlins suspension + M3 bits, APEX wheels, a few BMW Performance bits, and soon to be AA headers).

The modding has been part of the fun, though, and has really taught me a lot about the car (and cars in general). And I was able to pick up the car for about $30K brand new (through BMW Military Sales), so it feels like an incredible bargain, even after the money spent on mods. I love the car and I'm keeping it for many years to come. The only time I really yearn for something else is when I yearn for something older (2002tii, E28 M5) - but of course, the 128i has the advantage of being much younger, and I know it's entire history.
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