2008 BMW 1 Series Convertible Review | Edmunds.com

2008 BMW 1 Series Convertible

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BMW 1 Series Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.0 L Inline 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 230 hp @ 6500 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 18/28 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 BMW 1 Series

  • As a compact premium rear-drive coupe or convertible, the 2008 BMW 1 Series is in a class by itself. It's a class we'd like to enroll in, though.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    BMW driving experience at its purest, powerful and efficient engines, sports car performance with coupe practicality, high-quality interior, convertible's sun-reflective leather.

  • Cons

    Options cause the price to skyrocket, iDrive makes navigation a no-go option.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 1 Series is BMW's all-new entry-level car available in coupe and convertible body styles.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (12 total reviews)  |  Write a Review


My 2008 128i convertible

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Vehicle: 2008 BMW 1 Series 128i 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 6M)

I just bought a NEW 2008 model from the showroom floor. It's loaded with every conceivable option; but I got the car nearly $6,000 off invoice. Still pricey... but definitely worth it! I can't say enough about this little gem! It is the MOST fun I've ever had driving! I wake up every morning and cannot WAIT to drive my car to work! I love the top down fun with my iPod tunes blasting. The iDrive is a little quirky, but once you figure it out, it's fine. The ride is superb, the fit and finish is all BMW... the drive and handling is exactly what you would expect... perfection. Love it, love it, love it... you will NOT be sorry you bought this car! Just do it!




128i convertible

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Vehicle: 2008 BMW 1 Series 128i 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 6M)

I went from a Z4 to the 128i convertible and from manual to automatic transmission so there was an adjustment in expectations. Overall, I have been very happy with the 128. The build quality is outstanding. The handling is exceptional and the motor has plenty of punch, especially in manual shift mode. I love the way the car learns your driving style. The only negative is the standard sound system (not the premium pkg). Speaker placement makes it virtually inaudible with the top down at freeway speeds. The Z4 was better probably because the speakers were directly behind the seat.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

1st 1,000 miles

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Vehicle: 2008 BMW 1 Series 128i 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 6M)

All around solid, stays on road. Engine has a "low throaty" sound that sets off other car alarms - too cool! Small size is very convenient, fun and adds to the great acceleration. Quiet interior with top up, car suspension handles train track crossings and bumps with ease. In rain, excellent perf both from a handling, sound & water management. I have to admit, it is expensive and very unpractical, BUT it is a kick in the pants to drive and makes my commute fun! To hell with the economy and my crappy 401K perf - let's go for a drive!




Year one of the 1

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Vehicle: 2008 BMW 1 Series 128i 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 6M)

I love my 128. It is great fun to drive. It has more than enough power for a casual driver such as me. With its 6-speed transmission, it generally gets around 24-26 mpg in the city. I have always liked the looks of BMW. Now I get the look at a fairly decent price. The 128 is a luxury car without many frills. The interior has been pared of luxury to make space for roominess. Well for the people in front, anyway. It's still pretty much a 2-seater. Oddly, for a BMW, the interior is without many standards items I have grown used to over the years. Example: The 128 is curiously without a functional cupholder. The only working cupholder is directly behind the shifter. I still love it.




Glad i bought it

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Vehicle: 2008 BMW 1 Series 128i 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 6M)

My Z4 lease was up and after research on edmunds, I decided to test this car. I liked the seats, soft top and price better than the 3 series. I am enjoying the additional room this car offers, the better ride and the performance. The 4/50k service is a real plus. I really love this car.




Bmw 128i cabrio - wow!

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Vehicle: 2008 BMW 1 Series 128i 2dr Convertible (3.0L 6cyl 6M)

I considered the 3series convertible before purchasing my Mini Cooper S convertible in 2005. I loved driving it in town but it was stiff riding and uncomfortable on the highway. One day, one of my students brought in a 1 series brochure. I loved the car from the minute I saw it. Immediately I scheduled a test drive and ordered the car in April. After returning from Germany on June 20th, my BMW was waiting for me. I own the car for 9 days now. The car really drives well and I just love it. It performs well and is smooth riding on the highway. My husband liked the Mini Cooper S conv. a lot but after driving/riding the BMW conv. he changed his mind. I'm/we are sold on the new 1 series.



Full 2008 BMW 1 Series Review

What's New for 2008

The 1 Series is BMW's all-new entry-level car available in coupe and convertible body styles.

Introduction

Few brands have grown more than BMW in the past 25 years. That growth can be seen in their sales figures and the vehicles themselves. Today's 335i is larger than 1986's 535i, for instance, and it certainly sells in much greater volumes. This trend toward bigger and heavier has altered the brand's lineup to the point that there's now room for a cheaper, smaller entry-level car. Stepping boldly into the gap is the 2008 BMW 1 Series.

The 1 Series already debuted in Europe earlier this decade as a four-door hatchback, but that body style's limited appeal to American shoppers prevented its journey across the pond. With the introduction of new coupe and convertible body styles, however, BMW believes the timing is right for a small car revival.

With their compact two-door bodies, high-performance engines and scalpel-sharp handling, the 2008 BMW 128i and 135i are arguably the spiritual successors to BMW's classic 2002 coupe. Yet the 1 Series features many of the modern high-tech and luxury features that have become just as much a part of BMW during this decade as the raw driving experience. Some features like active steering and navigation with iDrive are dubious in terms of value, while others like keyless ignition/entry, premium hi-fi stereo and the convertible's heat-reflective leather seating are welcome niceties in a small car.

The 1 Series coupe is 8.7 inches shorter than a 3 Series coupe and a bit narrower as well. Though its front engine, rear-wheel-drive configuration is pretty unpopular in this size category because of its lack of space efficiency, BMW reckons its layout has unique appeal to people who care more about driving than carrying passengers. As such, the 1 Series comes with the same engines as the 3 Series: a 3.0-liter, 230-horsepower straight-6 for the 128i and a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter six good for 300 hp in the 135i.

Paying between $29,000 and $38,000 for a small coupe may seem shocking, but it's important to remember that this is a car without any real apples-to-apples competitors. Compared to this finely tuned sport coupe/convertible, potential rivals are either too big (Infiniti G37), have front-wheel drive (VW Eos), are too mechanically different (Mazda RX-8), are more an unrefined muscle car (Ford Mustang GT and even Shelby GT500) or don't offer the same high-quality interior (all of the above). The 135i can even hold its own against more expensive cars like the Porsche Cayman or BMW's own Z4 Coupe, meaning that as a pseudo sports car, the 1 Series can actually be seen as a value buy with a pinch of practicality and under-the-radar performance.

Therefore, the 2008 BMW 1 Series is a car like no other that may have a limited audience, considering its size and price. But for that money, it's hard to think of a car that brings as much performance, handling and refinement in a package that's still fairly user-friendly -- except for maybe all those BMWs of yore.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 BMW 1 Series is available as a compact coupe and soft-top convertible. Both come in 128i and 135i trim levels. Standard equipment on the 128i includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, a sunroof (coupe), cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, a tilt-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel and a 10-speaker stereo with CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. The 128i convertible adds a power-operated soft top and an upgraded climate control system.

The 135i trim level comes with a more powerful engine, a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch wheels, xenon adaptive headlights and automatic climate control. To make the 128i similar, there's that model's Sport Package, which features different 17-inch wheels, performance tires, the 135i's sport suspension and sport seats. The 135i Sport Package includes the sport seats and an M sport steering wheel. The Premium Package adds auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors, upgraded interior trim, mood lighting, BMW Assist, Bluetooth, leather upholstery and power front seats with driver memory. Popular stand-alone options include active steering, keyless ignition/entry, a navigation system with iDrive controller, rear parking assist, HD radio, an iPod interface, satellite radio and a premium audio system. Heated front seats are also available by themselves or in a Cold Weather Package.

The 1 Series convertible's options list includes the Moonlight Black soft top, which includes shiny metallic fibers that produce a metallic silver appearance in sun- and moonlight. The convertible's optional leather upholstery also features BMW's exclusive sun-reflective pigments, which the company claims can lower the seat surface temperature by up to 20 degrees.

Powertrains and Performance

All 1 Series send their power to the rear wheels. The 128i is powered by a 3.0-liter inline-6 that produces 230 hp and 200 pound-feet of torque. The 135i features a turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-6 making 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual is the standard transmission, while a six-speed automatic with manual shift control is optional. Expect 0-60-mph times in the low 6s for the 128i and in the low 5s for the 135i. Fuel economy estimates are 18 mpg city and 28 mpg highway for the 128i coupe and 17/25 mpg for the 135i coupe. Opting for the convertible and/or an automatic transmission decreases fuel economy only by a mpg or two.

Safety

The 2008 BMW 1 Series comes standard with antilock disc brakes (with brake drying and standby feature), traction and stability control and start-off assist for manual-equipped cars. Front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are standard on the coupe, while the convertible features front seat side airbags that extend higher to protect the occupants' heads. The convertible also features pop-up rollover hoops.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 1 Series features four seatbelts, but how many get used depends on how large the front passengers are and/or how forgiving potential rear passengers are. There's not much legroom in back -- especially the convertible -- but most small coupes suffer from less-than-welcoming rear quarters, so the 1 Series is certainly not damned in this regard. In fact, the 3 Series coupe doesn't really offer much more head- or legroom.

Despite being the cheapest BMW sold, the vehicle's interior materials are consistent with its larger and more lavish siblings. This little car may be expensive, but you pay for quality to match. The 1 Series convertible, for instance, offers optional sun-reflective leather seating. Also like those siblings, the overall design is a little bland, but certainly functional and unfettered. Ordering the navigation system also brings BMW's infamous iDrive control interface, which many people find exasperating to use.

Driving Impressions

Whether in coupe or convertible guise, the 2008 1 Series is a pure BMW, feeling just as confident and adept at carving a serpentine strip of pavement as its larger siblings. Body roll is minimal, and overall grip on models fitted with the sport package is superb. This isn't a mini M3, however, as BMW engineers tuned the 1 to be comfortable enough for daily use and built in some understeer to prevent rear-wheel-drive neophytes from spinning their highly powerful first BMW off a cliff. As such, the 1 Series (135i especially) is the perfect "training Bimmer" for aspiring driving enthusiasts -- it's docile enough for just about anyone to drive, yet still has the excellent suspension tuning and telepathic steering to please even the most ardent track-ready pilots. And with 300 hp going to the rear wheels, it's still possible to hang the tail out for a little muscle car hooliganism.

Having said that, it's a safe bet that most owners will find the less-powerful 2008 BMW 128i plenty quick for their daily drive. With an estimated 0-60-mph time in the low 6-second range, the 128i is certainly no slouch, even if the 135i gets all the headlines. And with 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque, those headlines will be filled with exclamation marks. The car's twin-turbo straight-6 engine is incredibly flexible, delivering strong power in any situation with no discernible turbo lag. (The torque peak is maintained from 1,300 rpm all the way to 5,000 rpm.) Yet whichever 1 Series you choose, you're assured of a fun time.

Read our BMW 135i Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test

Talk About The 2008 1 Series

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 18
  • cty
/
  • 28
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs