2008 BMW 128i Convertible, Part Three

Illustration for article titled 2008 BMW 128i Convertible, Part Three
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Why you should buy the 2008 BMW 128i Convertible: You just found out that the Botox you had injected straight into your eyelid didn't leak into your brain thereby ending an existence that has, up to now, been mostly pointless. No longer. Your new life is going to have meaning, you're going to shun materialism and embrace the world. To celebrate this epiphany you're going to buy a blue one, because blue is the color of tranquility.

Why you shouldn't buy this car: You can't afford the kind of girls that are attracted to men in little BMW convertibles. You're short and scrawny with girlishly long hair and the sight of those skinny arms next to that thick steering wheel and pudgy body just makes you look that much more like an Abigail Breslin body double. You like the simple things in life and you don't have $50,000 to blow on a car that can't carry your laser tag gear. You want a capable sports car that's fast, fun and simple.

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Suitability Parameters:
Speed Merchants: No
Fashion Victims: Yes
Treehuggers: No
Mack Daddies: No
Tuner Crowd: No
Hairdressers: Yes
Penny Pinchers: No
Euro Snobs: Yes
Working Stiffs: No
Technogeeks: Yes
Poseurs: Yes
Soccer Moms: No
Nascar Dads: No
Golfing Grandparents: Yes

Also Consider:
• VW Eos
• Mini Cooper S Convertible
• Mazda MX-5
• Volvo C70
• A well-sorted 1992 325i convertible with Eibach springs and shocks, Yokohama AVS Intermediates, AP Racing brakes, a K&N filter, Borla exhaust, performance chip, a sweet 5-speed manual and performance driving lessons.

Vitals:
• Manufacturer: BMW
• Model year: 2008
• Base Price: $33,100
• Price as Tested: $33,100 plus a Suzuki ($47,395)
• Engine type: 3.0-Liter DOHC I6
• Horsepower: 230 @ 6,500 RPM
• Torque: 200 @ 2,750 RPM
• Transmission: 6-Speed STEPTRONIC Automatic Transmission
• Curb Weight: 3,571 lbs
• LxWxH: 171.7" x 68.8" x 58.0"
• Wheelbase: 104.7"
• Tires: P205/55R17
• 0 - 60 mph: 7.0 Seconds
• EPA Fuel economy city/highway: 18/27 MPG
• NHTSA crash test rating: NA

Also see:

DISCUSSION

laughing_guitarist
laughing_guitarist

The rear damper tower brace helps a little, but not much. Two reasons for this:

1. The rear suspension is not strut-based. The springs load up on the rear section of the frame rails. The 'tower' just locates the damper. It does take load on a rebound - but not as much on compression.

2. The majority of the flex in an e30 cabrio comes from the cabin. So the front and rear halves don't move as one on a bumpy road (since the cabin does not tie them together as well).

There is one company that makes a brace that connects at the two subframe mounting points. This helps more. But for real bracing, the same company sells essentially metal girders that run all the way up to the front control arm mounts. Now this helps a lot since you tie the front and rear together more solidly. Its still rather sub-optimal though. A coupe with a sunroof is probably still better :)

I used to always be perturbed by the fact that my e30 325iS with m3 springs and bilstein dampers on 15" wheels with 55 series tires was far harsher over sharp impacts than an e36 m3 with 17" wheels, bilstein dampers and stiffer springs. This is when I started reading up on dynamic rigidity and its effect on the sprung/unsprung ratio. I know... giddy stuff ;)

I always chuckle silently when I see stock e30 bodies with 17" or larger wheels and aggressive springs and swaybars. The car would probably handle *better* if on 14/15" wheels with mildly stiffer springs. Atleast that way you don't have a large amount of unsprung, undamped weight (the oscillating body). Now add a nice roll-cage and I'll have to stop (silently) chuckling