• (4.5) 11 reviews
  • Available Prices: $8,729–$20,441
  • Body Style: Coupe
  • Combined MPG: 23
  • Engine: 230-hp, 3.0-liter I-6 (premium)
  • Drivetrain: Rear-wheel Drive
2012 BMW 128

Our Take on the Latest Model 2012 BMW 128

What We Don't Like

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

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 Reviews

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.
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Consumer Reviews

(4.5)

Average based on 11 reviews

Write a Review

I love this car

by shannon from Fl on November 30, 2017

This is an extremely reliable car. It is very sporty. A bit faster than the 328I i owned before this one. The ride is very smooth for a sport suspension. I go ofer speed bumps at 20 miles per hour, a... Read Full Review

Read All Consumer Reviews

2 Trims Available

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Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2012 BMW 128 trim comparison will help you decide.
 

BMW 128 Articles

2012 BMW 128 Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports

Recalls

There are currently 4 recalls for this car.


Safety defects and recalls are relatively common. Stay informed and know what to do ahead of time.

Safety defects and recalls explained

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $3,000 per year.

Save on maintenance costs and do your own repairs.

Warranty Coverage

Bumper-to-Bumper

48mo/50,000mi

Powertrain

48mo/50,000mi

Roadside Assistance Coverage

48mo/unlimited

Free Scheduled Maintenance

48mo/50,000mi

What you should get in your warranty can be confusing. Make sure you are informed.

Learn More About Warranties

Warranties Explained

Bumper-to-Bumper

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

Powertrain

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

Roadside Assistance

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

Free Scheduled Maintenance

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

Other Years