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-   -   E46 vs 128i (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=651424)

aj330xi 10-12-2012 10:40 AM

E46 vs 128i
 
I'm looking at getting rid of my 01 330 for an 09 128i (can't afford the 135i). Anyone made the same switch? If so I'd like to hear how you like the change. The only real cons I see are lack of a dipstick and spare tire. Long time BMW owner - started with a 320i, then a 318is, and then the 330.
Thanks

thumper_330 10-12-2012 01:15 PM

Well... indirectly I sort of did what you did. I loved my 330i to death and in some ways still regret getting rid of it. Anyway, I got a 135i (as seen in sig) so I'll keep the engine out of the discussion... so a comparison...

I love the 1'er. It's like a reborn E46. The dash and interior are very similar in layout and feel to the E46... to the extent that from behind the wheel it feels extremely familiar the first time you sit in it. Visibility is better though because of the tall greenhouse.

Driving feel... well I had the "late 2001" steering so it wasn't the lighter "pre-mid-2001" steering that caused so much wailing and gnashing of teeth. So steering is similar but not identical. The run flat tires are a lot of that, and suspension changes to deal with the RFT's mean that steering feel is different. Not necessarily worse... just different. I have days when I swear I can feel more... days when I swear I feel less. YMMV.

Seating position... almost identical to the E46 again. I sit a smidge closer to the dash in the 1'er because I think the pedals are a bit further forward... but it's only really an issue if I'm trying to get into the car with a bag or something in my arms... which I shouldn't be doing anyway.

The only place I think the 1'er falls behind the E46 is in maintainability. As you mentioned there's no dipstick... but the car has become far more computerized (as have all of them). The E46 had a certain mechanical elegance to it that meant that maintenance was a snap... loved the oil filter on top of the engine and the fact that the entire front of the car would basically "unclip" to allow major maintenance. But really... the complexity of the 1'er is no worse than just about any other car out there these days... they've all become so computerized in the race for better efficiency and power... not to mention repair lock-in.

Still, despite that I wouldn't go back to the E46. Maybe a ZHP... but I digress; the 1'er is definitely an evolution of the E46... in fact the 1'er bears more similarity to the E46 in my opinion than the E90 ever did... and don't get me started on the F30, which kind of makes me think it's more of a kid sister to the E60 than the E90 or E46... but I digress.

You can't go wrong with the car. Just make sure you get it with real cogs... the auto just isn't good in the 1'er in my opinion. I went with a DCT because of knee trouble... but if a traditional auto was my only alternative choice on the 1'er I probably wouldn't be driving one today. It's part of the reason I decided to spend the extra on the 135i.

HTH.

aj330xi 10-12-2012 01:52 PM

Much thanks. The one I am going to look at is a 6 speed. That was one of my 2 must have criteria - manual and heated seats. Sounds silly but once you get used to heated seats on those 20 degree days you just can't see going back.

aj330xi 10-17-2012 09:27 AM

Update
 
Picked up the 128 on Sat. Black with black leatherette interior, 56K, 6spd, heated seats, cruise and rain sensor wipers. Really reminds me of my 91 318 with the M42. Has brand new Pirelli P-Zero run flats. After all I read about run flats being harsh, etc I was pleasantly surprised. I-80, US 177 Omaha back to Manhattan and the ride and handling were superb. Now, if Bentley would only publish a damn manual.

thumper_330 10-19-2012 03:47 PM

Congrats!!!

I will be patiently waiting for pics... ;)

SilverX3 10-20-2012 01:29 PM

Nice any pics ?

Dave 330i 10-20-2012 05:13 PM

I'm staying with my 330i, 5spd, SP (BMW replaced my early 330i Buick steering rack-free of charge in May 2001) until the F90 M3 comes out.

remaek 10-22-2012 07:01 AM

love the e46

ChocolateLab 10-30-2012 08:40 AM

I had a similar question about the 135i... I've had three three series (two e46) and an X3, and am now looking at a 135i that is a good value. I liked the 1-series much more than the new 3-series, but I actually would almost prefer the 128 because honestly, the turbo scares me a little -- I usually drive my BMWs to well over 100k. Thumper, any concerns in that area?

Also, just curious, but Aj330, did you buy that 128 in Omaha that was on Ebay a few weeks ago, black manual transmission? Had that one in my watch list for a while. :)

aj330xi 10-30-2012 10:22 AM

Sorry for the delay in pics - will try to get some this weekend - been slammed at work. Don't know if it was also on E-Bay, I first found it on AutoTrader and then went to the dealer website. It was at Mercedes Benz in Omaha. Absolutely love the car. My first BMW was a 79 320i, then a 91 318i, then the 01 330xi. I really loved my 01 330xi with all the options (save nav) but it always seemed like a big car. This 128i with the 6 speed takes me right back to that rev happy M42 in the 91 318i. Like ChoclateLab, I also tend to keep mine well over 100K (165K on 318i, 205K on the 330xi) and that was one of the reasons I opted for the 128i over a 135i.

ChocolateLab 10-30-2012 10:48 AM

Ha, just checked (still have it in my watch list) and that's the one... Ebay number 120995115294... Very nice car. I actually halfway considered driving up from Texas on that one!

See, I'd actually prefer that, I think, because I'd rather have the gas mileage and reliability than to cut .6 off my 60 time. What can I say, I'm getting older. :) And not like the 128 is slow.

But this 135 is a good deal and a good value. And maybe the turbo concerns are a little overblown. Seems like most of the issues I saw with that engine were in the 07 and 08 years in the 335... But I haven't been researching this all that long, so I'm not too sure.

aj330xi 10-30-2012 11:41 AM

Yea like all forums you just hear the problems. I had driven a 135i and it was a real hoot, but I just couldn't see the price difference considering how rarely I'd have the chance to take advantage of it since I don't track the car. But I wouldn't let the problems stop me. Most if not all of the fuel pumps have been changed under warranty and any other issues should also have been handled under warranty. With all used Bimmers my first check is how complete are the service records - that being said with the 135i my main concern in terms of keeping it past 100K would be replacing the turbos.

thumper_330 10-30-2012 01:33 PM

@ChocolateLab: Yeah, honestly the 128i is an absolute blast... though make sure it's got the sport suspension and a stick! The auto in the 128i is good, but far from great (same as the last gen 3-series) but it loses a lot of its perceived power through that torque converter!

The 135i is a step up, no bones about it. It's fast... sometimes scary fast. It can get you in trouble REALLY quick on any stretch of highway and has enough power to shred those expensive run-flats in no time flat. But it's also a phenomenal highway cruiser. I guess it depends a lot on the way you drive; if most of your driving is cruising at 60-70 on the superslab then both cars are a dead heat... they'll both do the job fantastically well and the only benefit you'll gain with the turbo is the passing power. For the record; the 135i pulls like a freight train anywhere over 2000rpm, so you even have ample passing power in 7th on the DCT.

Now reliability? Well, the N54 (pre 2010 I think) has the old twin turbo which had the well documented problems. They have an extended warranty on the HPFP to 120K miles as I recall... more than enough in my opinion. The N55 went to the twin-scroll single turbo and as far as reliability so far I think it's been rock solid. I haven't seen any more reports of problems than you would expect to see out of any production run of cars; a few lemons here and there but in no way indicative of a widespread problem. Having said that, some people prefer the feel of the N54 to the N55.

But the suspension mods made in 2011 model year are far more important in my opinion. I drove a 2010 135i and didn't like the way it felt. It accelerated great but I didn't connect with it at all. However, when I drove a 2011 it was like a totally different car. The modifications are small, but very significant. If you get a 2010 or earlier you might want to research suspension mods.

For my part, I love the car. I would've been just as happy with a 128i, but only with a stick. Part of the reason I spent the extra was for the DCT because I don't like autos and was having some knee trouble at the time (which has since been resolved... maybe the next car will have a real clutch again!)

ChocolateLab 10-30-2012 02:17 PM

Thanks a lot, thumper. The one I was looking at would have the N54, so I guess that's something to think about. Car only has a little warranty left, so I guess I need to research that some more.

I did drive an e92 last year and was very unimpressed... Thing drove like an Accord. From what I read later, it was because it didn't have the sport suspension. Sounds like the 1 series is similar.

And only a MT for me... In 20+ years of driving I've never once owned an automatic and hopefully never will!

thumper_330 10-31-2012 07:40 AM

The warranty on the N54 is separate from the car itself... see here;

http://www.bmwblog.com/2012/08/16/n5...stegates-only/

There are two major things that are warrantied; the high pressure fuel pump was an issue and thus has extended the warranty to 8 years / 120K miles. Should be enough. The actual article I linked talks about a wastegate rattle problem that has extended warranty to 8 years / 82K miles, but mentions the first one too.

I'd say go for it if you like it. :)

fahrhaus 11-01-2012 11:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by thumper_330 (Post 7130161)
I love the 1'er. It's like a reborn E46. The dash and interior are very similar in layout and feel to the E46... to the extent that from behind the wheel it feels extremely familiar the first time you sit in it. Visibility is better though because of the tall greenhouse.

You can't go wrong with the car. Just make sure you get it with real cogs... the auto just isn't good in the 1'er in my opinion. I went with a DCT because of knee trouble... but if a traditional auto was my only alternative choice on the 1'er I probably wouldn't be driving one today. It's part of the reason I decided to spend the extra on the 135i.

HTH.

I wholeheartedly agree that the 1 series is a "throwback" car - it feels a lot like a modern version of my '72 tii - big greenhouse, bulldog stance, great size and turning circle, immensely tossable.

The one area where I disagree, however, is in the manual-vs-auto contention. I just picked up a new 128i M Sport on Friday with the slushbox and paddle shifters - it's the second automatic I've bought in the last 15 years and 20 cars. The first was my 2011 328i sedan. Both cars are for dealing with SoCal traffic, so please, no lectures! I will say that when driving either of these cars, I have NEVER missed the stick shift - the engine and transmission combo are absolutely sublime, and it's one of the best automatics I've ever driven. The only one that comes close is the 8-speed AT in the new X1 2.8xDrive - if I could have got that transmission, I would have.

That said, I'm fortunate to have several other cars with manual trannys in my garages in case I feel nostalgic. Perhaps it's telling, though, that I've not driven my M Roadster, Carrera S, or 2002tii in almost a week since I got the 128!

OP - best of luck with the new ride. I've been having an absolute blast with mine. One suggestion - the Burger Motorsports Powerbox ECU tune - 15 WHP and 12 torques. Makes a huge difference to throttle response and low- to mid-range acceleration. Approx $400. I literally drove the car to them straight from the dealership, and it's been worth every penny. The 328i has an appointment next week for the same :)

PC in Ohio 11-24-2012 02:27 PM

Thinking of getting into a bimmer and thinking about these two myself. I want a rwd and MT as my top two priorities.

Can an occasional human fit in the backseat of a 128 and - oh yeah - how about golf clubs in the trunk?

mr29 11-24-2012 06:35 PM

great advice here

Sent from my XT557 using Bimmer App

ChocolateLab 11-24-2012 08:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PC in Ohio (Post 7211822)
Thinking of getting into a bimmer and thinking about these two myself. I want a rwd and MT as my top two priorities.

Can an occasional human fit in the backseat of a 128 and - oh yeah - how about golf clubs in the trunk?

Glad I got the email on this thread because I just bought a 128i. Funny that earlier I was asking about the 135, concerned about the turbo, etc, and then a couple weeks later I found the 128 that I preferred. (And yes, IMO it is plenty fast in its own right. Coming from my old 328, I find the 37 added horses more than enough to get in trouble.)

The back seat is pretty small -- it seems smaller than that in the e46. I used to carry at least one person back there with little problem in my 328, but I doubt they'd want to ride in the back seat of this one for very long.

But most importantly, I'm a golf nut myself and yes, my large, almost staff-sized carry bag fits great in the trunk of the 1 series. I actually considered a couple of small, non-BMW cars this time and I was surprised that some of these little hatchbacks aren't even wide enough to hold a golf bag!

thumper_330 11-25-2012 06:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PC in Ohio (Post 7211822)
Thinking of getting into a bimmer and thinking about these two myself. I want a rwd and MT as my top two priorities.

Can an occasional human fit in the backseat of a 128 and - oh yeah - how about golf clubs in the trunk?

A lot of it depends on the height of the people and the height of those in the front seats (and therefore how far back they have the seats. I know I have had four people in my 135i for an hour's drive... and three people for longer (about three hours). However, the two people in the back seat were 5'1" (my son) and 5'4" (my girlfriend), while the people in front were myself (5'9") and my girlfriend's sister (5'9"). So none of us are exactly towering people... and we fit in there relatively comfortably.

If you or your frequent passengers are much taller, then it's probably not going to work out well for long drives. But I myself have spent half an hour or so riding in the back seat as well, and it's actually pretty comfy. It's certainly cozy, but no worse than many of the cars I grew up with (I grew up in Europe).

PC in Ohio 12-09-2012 05:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ChocolateLab (Post 7212289)
Glad I got the email on this thread because I just bought a 128i. Funny that earlier I was asking about the 135, concerned about the turbo, etc, and then a couple weeks later I found the 128 that I preferred. (And yes, IMO it is plenty fast in its own right. Coming from my old 328, I find the 37 added horses more than enough to get in trouble.)

The back seat is pretty small -- it seems smaller than that in the e46. I used to carry at least one person back there with little problem in my 328, but I doubt they'd want to ride in the back seat of this one for very long.

But most importantly, I'm a golf nut myself and yes, my large, almost staff-sized carry bag fits great in the trunk of the 1 series. I actually considered a couple of small, non-BMW cars this time and I was surprised that some of these little hatchbacks aren't even wide enough to hold a golf bag!

Thanks! I won't need to drive others around in the backseat except rarely, so I think that'll work. That's good news on the golf sticks.

I'm biased against turbos for me because I know how much they cost to replace, so I like the idea of a non turbo. My last two cars have been 4-cylinder Toyotas, so this will feel like a rocket:roundel:

So far in my local search using cars.com, craigslist, and autotrader, the avg used 128i is ~ $20-$25k and the e46's are around $10-12K. Now it's time to test drive...:smokin:


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