2012 BMW 1-Series 2-door Coupe 135i Angular Front Exterior ViewEnlarge Photo
BMW’s entry-level coupes and convertibles carry on with few changes for the 2012 model year, save for a few tech updates and a mildly revised front end. In the disappointing-news-department, the beloved 1-Series M Coupe
is gone from the lineup for the 2012 model year, although there are rumors of its return in the future.
There’s still a lot to like with available 1-Series models
, including the gateway-to-the-brand 128i. The car comes packing a 230-horsepower, 3.0-liter inline-six engine that can be mated to the buyer’s choice of either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. Opt for the 135i, and you’ll get a twin-scroll turbocharger on the 3.0-liter six that raises output to 300 horsepower, as well as your choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch (DCT) gearbox. Both cars come in either coupe or convertible variants.
Inside, base models can be somewhat Spartan for an entry-level luxury car. If you like black plastic, you’ll probably like the 128i’s cockpit; if you don’t the interior can be dressed up in higher-trim models. Front seats are comfortable and supportive, but rear seats are best reserved for children, thanks to a lack of both leg room and head room.
The 1-Series’ handling is quite good, thanks to the cars’ front-engine, rear-drive layout and a suspension that nicely balances cornering ability with ride comfort. Buyers wanting the sharpest handling can opt for the Sport Package (or better yet, the M Sport Package), while those focused on comfortable cruising may be happiest sticking with the base suspension. Even base-model cars provide good steering feel and reasonable handling, which translates to BMW’s claimed “Freude Am Fahren,” or joy in driving.
coupes start at just over $32,000 (assuming you could locate a 128i with no options), while a fully featured 135i convertible can cross the $56,000 barrier. That’s a broad enough range to appeal to a wide range of shoppers, assuming you can live with the limited interior room of BMW’s entry-level offering.
For a detailed look at BMW’s 1-Series models, see our complete review on The Car Connection