Some people consider BMW’s 1-series, like today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe 128i to be the spiritual successor to the company’s famed 2002. Let’s see if low mileage and a potentially low price means this one stands a ghost of a chance.
I was shocked yesterday to see that the comments on the jacked-up 2001 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup we looked at falling in two basic categories—hate, and… well, even more hate. Wow.
Equally as loathed as the truck was its $20,000 price tag which engendered vitriol and voting that left it at a massive 97 percent Crack Pipe loss. Geez, you’d think it was a confederate statue or something.
Okay, enough with big trucks, let’s get back down to something more our size, say a small Bimmer. Maybe even, the smallest Bimmer.
This 2008 BMW 128i was, at the time of its manufacture, the smallest four-wheeled vehicle you could buy from the company, the electric i3 still being a good three-years out.
The 1-series took over from BMW’s prior entry-level offering, the 3-series based compact, in 2004. Instead of shrinky-dinking the 3 this time, the company invested in a whole new range of cars that included three- and five-door hatches and a bit later, two-door coupés and convertibles.
The cars were slotted to compete with the likes of VW’s Golf and Mercedes B-class, but in traditional BMW fashion, the E8X 1-series was designed around a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive chassis. That meant that the cars had tighter passenger space inside, but more engaging handling for the traditionalists.
This 128i comes to us in Montego Blue Metallic over a black leatherette interior. The seller says it was purchased new while they stationed in Germany, and that it followed them home to the States post-tour of duty.
Over the course of its life, it has managed 104,500 miles and has a few nicks and dings here and there to show for them. Overall, there’s nothing aesthetically egregious that would require immediate attention, but a number of little niggles that should be addressed at some point.
The interior shows its age as well. The design of the E81 interior is also a bit of a Bangle bungle, what with all the extravagant swoops and angles it exhibits. That’s more personal taste that anything else, but the split in the driver’s seat upholstery is something we all can agree to dislike. On the plus side, the car comes loaded with your standard spate of power accessories, dual-zone climate control, and a moonroof.
At one point in time, you could discern a BMW’s engine size by the last two digits in its badge. If that had been the case when this 128 was built you would naturally assume it to have a 2.8-litre mill under the hood. Unfortunately, over the years BMW has massaged that convention to assign names based on model placement rather than actual displacement.
That means that this 128 actually comes with a 2996cc straight-six, here producing 228 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque. That’s seemingly running without issue at the moment and is backed up by a six-speed manual with a clutch that, according to the ad, is the reason for the car’s current price. The seller says that the clutch is slipping, but assures prospective buyers that the car remains “very drivable”despite that.
Having the clutch replaced—which you will have to do at some point in time—could cost you almost half the car’s $4,000 asking. Of course, a good chunk of that is labor so doing it yourself could save you a sizable bit of bank. Let’s say you’re not up to that task. Or, that you’d just rather have it done for you. Does that then make this car a good value?
What do you say, is $4,000 with a slipping clutch and a splitting seat still a good deal for this small BMW? Or, do those issues make this the One to pass up?
H/T to NotoriousDvV on the Twitter for the hookup!
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