The BMW 1-Series has been admired, mulled over and coveted for so long now that its final arrival onto U.S. soil has almost gone unheralded. Some advertising has made its way onto American TV, magazines and internet, but has the hype overshadowed the entrance? And is the car we had hoped to find the same as the car we have finally received?
Coming onto the local BMW dealership it was interesting to find the new 128i Coupe in its BMW Red Metallic finished buddied up to a 2008 328i Coupe. This positioning (by convenience, by chance or by intention… What do you think?) made easy an eye-ball comparison of the two coupes with their matching powertrains.
It was interesting to see how much bulkier the 128i actually is when seated next to the 328i. Further inspection reveals the 128i to be a bit narrower, noticeably taller and only a slight bit shorter than its 3-Series counterpart; which may explain their performance similarities. The fatter snout and bonnet of the 1-Series makes for a bold, if not chunky, comparison to the sleek and sexy leanness of the 328i, and yet still the two models share more than enough design cues that lay evidence to their similar gene pools.
…Read on for more details and a large Gallery of photos…
What has not surprised us is the all too expected leap from the MSRP posted by BMW and the final retail price of the car. BMW’s are not cheap cars and their accessories and dealer add-on’s do not come cheap either. BMW’s factory Premium Package, Automatic Transmission and Destination Charges combine nicely to bring the $28,600 base price of the 128i all the way up to $34,995 (as evidenced in the Gallery to follow). The 328i incurs the same treatment as its factory installs raise its retail figure from a $35,300 MSRP to $45,095. The 128i Convertible tucked securely under the awning of the dealership we perused found enough extras (or necessities) to bring its retail price up to $42,575 from its base price of $33,100.
We do not disparage BMW for their pricing, but more for the implication that their MSRP’s provide. An advertised MSRP of $28k that leaps over $6k at the retail lot can turn away someone looking to step into their first BMW. Our advise to anyone put off by what they see immediately on the retail side is patience. If $34,995 for the entry 128i Coupe is too steep for you, but the 1-Series is all you can think about, then you might want to wait a year or two for some former lease vehicles to hit the Certified Used BMW lots. Let the Lessee take the hit on the immediate depreciation on the car.
For a closer look at the 128i Coupe, 128i Convertible and a 328i Coupe for comparison purposes check out the gallery below. For a better feel of what the 230-hp 128i gives back to its buyer go hit up your local BMW dealership for a test drive. If your inclination runs a bit more throttle heavy then the 300-hp 135i might make for a better sprint car for you… if you can locate one that has not already been claimed.