2012 BMW 128

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$31,200

starting MSRP

2012 BMW 128
2012 BMW 128

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Inline-six-cylinder performance
  • Handling
  • Solid, convertible chassis
  • Steering feedback
  • Top-down looks (convertible)

The bad:

  • Minimal backseat space
  • Occasional clumsy shift from automatic
  • Sharp edges on turn-signal stalk
  • Interior door pulls lack leverage
  • Long reach for seat belts

1 trim

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

  • i

    $31,200

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2012 BMW 128 trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • Visual updates for 2012
  • New higher-performance 1 Series M
  • Coupe or convertible
  • Standard power soft-top (convertible)
  • Rear-wheel drive, manual or automatic transmission

2012 BMW 128 review: Our expert's take

Vehicle Overview

The rear-wheel-drive BMW 1 Series enters its fifth year on the market with a few visual changes, as well as a new higher-performance version from BMW’s M division, dubbed the 1 Series M. At the other end of the lineup is the 128i, which is the least-expensive entry point to BMW’s entire lineup. Available as a coupe or convertible, the compact 1 Series occupies a space with few competitors. The Nissan 370Z, Infiniti G37 coupe and top-end versions of Detroit’s muscle cars come closest to filling out the competitive slate.

The 135i is covered separately in Cars.com’s Research section.

(Skip to details on the: BMW 1 Series M)

Exterior
Visual updates for 2012 affect the 128i more than the 135i. The 128i carries revised circular fog lamps, replacing last year’s horizontal lamps. Outboard of the fog lights, vertical slats improve air flow around the fenders, enhancing the car’s aerodynamics. The headlights have new whitecaps up top, mirroring the headlight treatment across most other BMWs. These lights include a string of LEDs embedded in the caps; it’s a visual cue used in the automaker’s redesigned 6 Series.

On the 128i, an optional M Sport Package adds dark window frames and a more aggressive front bumper with three large air inlets. Rather than the 3 Series convertible’s folding metal hardtop, the 128i convertible has a fabric soft-top that can open or close in 22 seconds, BMW says. It operates at speeds up to 25 mph.

The 1 Series remains a small car overall, about 2 inches shorter and narrower than a Scion tC. The BMW 3 Series coupe is about 10 inches longer.

Interior
The 128i’s interior design is fairly traditional, with more upright shapes than sweeping contours. Dual-zone climate controls sit below the center air vents and optional navigation system, with BMW’s latest-generation iDrive knob controller ahead of the center console. The system can read text messages aloud or stream songs off a paired Blackberry smartphone.

BMW says the cabin controls boast “a more refined look and feel” for 2012, though the layout is hard to distinguish from 2011’s. In contrast to the seat belts that motor forward for easier reach in the 3 Series coupe, the 1 Series’ belts are fixed onto the B-pillars.

On 128i coupes, the two-position backseat folds in a standard 60/40 split. The convertible offers only a center pass-through. Vinyl seats are standard, with leather optional. The M Sport Package adds unique headliner materials, an M-branded steering wheel and shifter, and sport seats with more aggressive side bolstering.

Under the Hood
BMW’s inline-six-cylinder engine makes 230 horsepower and 200 pounds-feet of torque in the 128i. It works through a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. The automaker says a stick-shift 128i coupe can hit 60 mph in 6.1 seconds, with the automatic making the sprint in 6.7 seconds. The M Sport Package adds a sport-tuned suspension.

If that isn’t enough, consider stepping up to the 300-hp, turbocharged 135i, which is covered separately in the Cars.com Research section. It trims the zero-to-60 mph sprint down to about 5 seconds, BMW says.

Safety
Active head restraints, two-row side curtain airbags, front airbags and side-impact airbags for the front seats are all standard. So is an electronic stability system, antilock brakes and traction control. Like most convertibles, the 128i convertible does not have the curtain airbags; it does have pop-up roll bars behind the rear seats that deploy in the event of a rollover.

1 Series M
Rather than the single-turbo setup from the 135i, the 1 Series M gets a twin-turbo six-cylinder that’s good for 335 hp and 332 pounds-feet of torque. In extreme situations, the 1 Series M can enter an overboost mode to crank out 369 pounds-feet of torque (horsepower remains the same). A standard limited-slip differential can go all the way to lock, rendering maximum straight-line acceleration and better traction on slippery surfaces.

The 1 Series M comes only as a coupe, and only with a six-speed manual transmission. Citing a lower center of gravity and overall weight savings of 35 pounds, BMW will not offer the 1 Series’ optional moonroof on the M car. That helps it tip the scales at just under 3,300 pounds, more than 400 pounds less than the 414-hp M3 coupe — the next rung up on BMW’s M ladder. Indeed, the 1 Series M’s zero-to-60 time — just 4.7 seconds, BMW says — ties a stick-shift M3’s.

Visual changes include unique side mirrors that look similar to those on the M3, as well as a more aggressive front bumper and quad tailpipes. The 1 Series M’s extended fenders house a track that’s 2.8 inches wider up front and 1.8 inches wider in back versus the 135i. The suspension, which shares its aluminum components with the M3, supports lightweight 19-inch wheels. The car also gets cross-drilled 14.2-inch front and 13.8-inch rear brake discs.

Inside, the 1 Series M gets standard sport seats, plus gray gauges and leather-wrapped portions of the dashboard. Back to top

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.4
  • Interior design 4.6
  • Performance 4.8
  • Value for the money 4.5
  • Exterior styling 4.9
  • Reliability 4.9

Most recent consumer reviews

5.0

Great Touring Car for Tall People

I have had convertibles since 1975. 68 Camaro, 76 Jeep CJ5, 92 Chrysler LeBaron GTS, 96 BMW 328iC, 06 Pontiac Solstice and now the 12 BMW 128i. Retired in 2017 and had to feed the desire for another convertible in 2019 and the 128i ticked all the boxes for my current desires. Fit and reliability. At 6'1" I don't fit into a MX5, so that's the 1st two check offs. RWD, so no Audi, A4 FWD in my price range. Six cylinder preferably straight 6 for perfect engine balance. Nissan 350/370 are ugly chops. Then the exotics(shut up Porsche boys) were too expensive for repairs. I learned "basic" repairs on the E36. I have done many easy maintenance jobs in my garage that allows me to have this Touring car. As a touring car having a back seat is great for a cooler, backpack, and doggy space. With the trunk space (2X) of MX5 this makes a great touring car for weeks on the road. 230hp for a car this small is great for ripping through the Rockies and the Twisted Sisters outside of Fredericksburg of Texas.

5.0

I love this car, amazing

The 1 series is so in demand and delivers pure adrenaline and value. Highly recommend if you can find it! Perfect handling and easy to do anything in.

4.9

Fun to drive every day

I bought a 2012 128i used, and I’ve loved every drive in it. Smooth inline six, flat through my local roundabouts with the Sport suspension, and reasonably comfortable on city streets. Great looking in Deep Sea Blue metallic.

See all 22 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by BMW
New car program benefits
Bumper-to-bumper
48 months/50,000 miles
Corrosion
144 months/unlimited distance
Powertrain
48 months/50,000 miles
Maintenance
48 months/50,000 miles
Roadside assistance
48 months/unlimited distance
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
Certified Pre-Owned Elite with less than 15,000 miles; Certified Pre-Owned with less than 60,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
1 year/unlimited miles from expiration of 4-year/50,000-mile new car warranty
Powertrain
N/A
Dealer certification required
196-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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See all 2012 BMW 128 articles