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2010 BMW 128i 6 speed

The last time I visited the fatherland (in my case, Portugal), I had a BMW 320d with a 6 speed manual for a rental vehicle. With its four cylinder turbo diesel engine, cloth interior and mid 40 mpg figures on the highway, I longed for BMW to offer a more basic vehicle to US customers, while still retaining the excellent road manners of BMWs of yore. When the 128i first arrived in the US in 2007, I had high hopes. Sadly, only a two door coupe and convertible were offered, not the two and four door hatchbacks available outside of these shores. Six cylinders were the only engines of choice, many of which were mated to automatic transmissions. My hopes of a 120Si, or even better, a 120d, were dashed. These 1 series were not a whole lot cheaper than some of their larger 3 series counterparts which begged the question…why?

Well, now that these 1ers have been out for a few years, resale values have dropped them into more realistic territory, prompting me to search out for my favorite of the bunch, the entry level 128i with a 6 speed manual. Here is one for sale in Pennsylvania at a shade over $20,000.

2010 BMW 128i on eBay

2010 BMW 128i Coupe, 6 Speed, sunroof, power & heated seats, bluetooth, satellite radio, iPod and USB connection. One owner, dealer serviced!

I have driven a 1 series before, specifically, a 2009 128i 6 speed manual. To be honest, it brought back a lot of fond memories of my 1988 325is. The engine sound and feeling of the gearshift and clutch gave it that old school BMW feel about it that we all know and love. No iDrive, no navigation system, no paddle shifters. Just plain old fun. I still think the first generation 1 series looked better as a two and foor door hatchback, but I have warmed up a bit to the coupe’s proportions over the past couple years. A price of over $20,000 seems a bit rich for a used 1 series, even if it is generally in line with the market. If the asking price fell in a range about $2,000 to $3,000 less, more enthusiasts might warm up to this car, which is quite possibly the car in BMW’s lineup which lives up to its illustrious past.



  1. Wes
    Wes April 19, 2012

    I will probably buy a 128 for my daughter’s first car. She’s 4 years old now so it will be a 14 year old car by the time she’s driving. 🙂 That seems about right.

  2. Wes
    Wes April 19, 2012

    BTW I like this car but it is missing ZSP which is really a must have for me.

  3. Kevin
    Kevin April 19, 2012

    After owning a 2006 325i for a little over 2 years/27K miles, I lost faith in the direction BMW appears to be headed.

    Interior quality was poor. Had to have several trim pieces replaced under warranty and had to fight the dealer to get them replaced.

    Run-flat tires. The ride poorly and the don’t last very long; plus they’re very expensive. They gave the car’s TPMS fits but I was stuck with them because the car didn’t come with a spare or even a place to put one.

    Worst of all, they are completely controlled by a series of very intrusive computers. You can’t do anything to these cars without hooking it up to the dealer’s computer and downloading updates from the mother ship. (It took the dealer 7 hours of programming just to get the SIRIUS tuner to work.)

    Modern BMWs (generally anything after 2003) have truly become cars you do not want to own out of warranty.

  4. Larry
    Larry April 19, 2012

    A 2010 with well over 50K miles? Somebody’s been having some fun with this car…

    Give this the full-on sports package – complete with sports seats – and the 128i stick is more in keeping with the classic BMW sports coupe ethic than most current BMW models.

    Unfortunately, the 1-series isn’t offered with x-drive here, so it isn’t on my daily driver option list here in New England.

  5. aulPb
    aulPb April 19, 2012

    @Larry- to me, it sounds like you need to step into a 1 series M.

  6. Wes
    Wes April 20, 2012

    @Kevin: The e46 (my current car) is probably the last BMW I’ll own out of warranty. Starting with the e60 BMW complicated their cars to the point that independent repair shops can no longer work on them, much less hack mechanics such as myself. One of the service advisors at my local BMW dealership even confided in me that their techs have a hard time keeping up with programming.

  7. Larry
    Larry April 20, 2012

    @ aulPb: I wish my finances would allow me to step into a 1M!

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