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2008 BMW 1 Series

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2008 BMW 1 Series Review

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Rising fuel prices and increasingly crowded roads have turned many car-buyers' eyes toward small cars. BMW would love to cash in on this growing interest, but can it do so without diluting or cheapening the brand's premium image? BMW hopes the 1 Series will prove it can, and is entering the lower levels of the United States' luxury market cautiously, so only the 1 Series Coupe and Convertible will be sold here, even though three and five-door versions are also available in Europe. Those who think the 3 Series has grown too big or expensive can look to the 1 Series as the new heir to BMW's compact performance crown.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you think smaller and lighter cars tend to be the most fun, we think you'll like the 2008 BMW 1 Series. MINI Cooper fans looking to move up to a slightly larger, more serious car will also feel at home in the 1 Series.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Those looking to maximize their buying dollars may not be attracted to the 1 Series. For just a little more money, buyers can step up to the roomier and arguably more desirable 3 Series. Plus, the 1 Series has seating for only four passengers, so if you need room for five look elsewhere.

What's Significant About This Car?

BMW's last model in the entry-level market, the 318ti, never really caught on with U.S. buyers. With nearly a decade to mull over what went wrong, BMW is once again ready to dip its toes into entry-level luxury waters with the new 1 Series.

Driving the 1 Series

Driving Impressions Those who are familiar with BMW's approach to suspension tuning will immediately feel at home in the 1 Series. Goldilocks herself would approve of the steering feel, which is neither...

too firm nor too light and offers precise control of the front wheels, and we think the 1 Series will deliver all the driving enjoyment and performance balance BMW drivers have come to expect. The 230-horsepower engine in the 128i is no slouch, but with 300 horsepower the twin-turbocharged engine in the 135i is the real star. It's the same engine used in the larger, heavier 3 Series and, in the smaller 135i, it delivers great power to pass and a swift zero-to-60-mph time of 5.3 seconds.

135i Twin-turbo Engine
Big horsepower numbers are impressive but, from the driver's perspective, a wide useable power band is just as important. The twin-turbocharged engine in the 135i delivers exhilarating performance and easy acceleration in all gears.

Big Brakes
The capability for performance must be matched by a capability to get the car slowed down, and the 135i has huge front brakes that not only slow the small coupe with ease but also look great peeking out from behind its 18-inch wheels.

2008 BMW 1 Series Details
Interior

It may be the least-expensive BMW sold in America, but the interior treatment of the 1 Series is anything but cheap. The materials have a high-quality feel and the interior design features all the modern style found throughout the rest of the BMW lineup. The 1 Series seats only four, but front-seat passengers enjoy plenty of head and legroom while the rear seats offer comfortable but cozy quarters. The trunk offers a reasonable 10 cubic feet of storage space and the rear seats can be folded to accommodate larger items.

Exterior

The 1 Series represents one of the most refined applications to date of BMW's "flame surfacing" design motif. Its basic silhouette has the proportions of a classic performance car, with a long hood, abbreviated trunk and wheels located at the far corners of the body. Adding to the 1 Series' visual flair are a sharply creased shoulder line, signature BMW twin-kidney grille and a rear spoiler integrated into the trunk lid. The more-powerful 135i sports an aggressive exterior treatment that includes 18-inch wheels and an aero kit inspired by BMW's M performance division.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Among the standard features offered on the 2008 BMW 1 Series are automatic climate control, power windows with one-touch up-and-down function, rain-sensing windshield wipers, cruise control and a 10-speaker audio system with auxiliary input for MP3 players. In terms of safety, the 1 Series includes standard front, front-side and side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability and traction controls and a system that automatically dries the brakes in wet conditions.

Optional Equipment

Many of the options offered for the BMW 1 Series are divided into packages. The Cold Weather Package includes a ski bag, heated front seats and headlight washers that are standard on the 135i. The Premium Package features power front seats, auto-dimming mirrors, leather seating and an interior lighting package. The Sport Package increases the speed setting of the top-speed limiter and adds sport seats plus other racy details. Stand-alone options include a navigation system, xenon headlights, HD radio, satellite radio and BMW's Active Steering system.

Under the Hood

Most buyers will find the 230-horsepower in-line six-cylinder engine powering the 128i to be perfectly acceptable. Those who want even more performance can choose the 135i and its twin-turbocharged engine, which produces 300 horsepower, enabling acceleration from zero to 60 miles per hour in a little more than five seconds. Both models feature a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic.

3.0-liter in-line 6
230 horsepower at 6500 rpm
200 lb.-ft. of torque at 2750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/28 (automatic), 18/28 (manual)

3.0-liter in-line 6 Turbocharged
300 horsepower at 5800 rpm
300 lb.-ft. of torque at 1400-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26 (automatic), 17/25 (manual)

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2008 BMW 1 Series Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.0
Out of 10

Based on 136 Ratings for the 2008 - 2013 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.9/10
    Quality
    9.2/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    9.6/10
  • Comfort
    9.1/10
    Styling
    9.2/10

Big Engine + Small Car = Ear-to-Ear Smiles!!!

By on Wednesday, January 06, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,366

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "FUN TO DRIVE PERIOD."

Cons: "2013 was last year made..."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"With an impressive power-to-weight ratio - the 128i is the far more reliable, "second cousin" to the stout 135i. However, in comparison, the 128i is certainly no slouch in the driving excitement department either. The refined, 3.0L six-cylinder engine has been in service, since 1992 and is simply bulletproof. Get one now....BMW will never produce a car of this caliber again."

75k miles and very little maintenance

By on Wednesday, December 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, fast car"

Cons: "No spare wheel"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car is used as a daily commuting car (~100miles a day) and get about 25mpg city + HWY (~30mpg at 65mph). I've had no maintenance issues after 75k miles (besides the fuel pump which was changed early on). The car is great, acceleration is amazing and it's easy to park anywhere. I've tuned it up to ~390bhp (Dinan Stage 2) a few years back and got larger better michelin PSP tires. I'd definitively recommend it !"

6 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Great toDrive

By on Thursday, November 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Driving feel, smooth 6 M. overall responsiveness."

Cons: "No spare tire"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Bought a base white 6 speed manual 2013 128 coupe new,sunroof delete, added the BMW performance suspension, BMW exhaust and intake, black grilles and had the wheels powder-coated black.Car handles like crazy especially after Michelin PS 2 tires were substituted for the awful run flats.And the sound,with the BMW exhaust is intoxicating!Its what a basic BMW should be; love it each time I get behind the wheel.Go find a good one, you'll be happy if you like a driver's car.Zero problems with this car Wife drives a 128 convertible,that we bought in 2011."

6 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Exceeded All Expectations

By on Thursday, June 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Driving Perfection, Performance to value,"

Cons: "No cup holders, Tends to scare some passengers"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I do not even know where to begin. This is a true drivers car. If you care about cup-holders and passenger convenience look at a different car. If you want the best driving and performing vehicle for the money look no further! I looked hi and low for the best balanced performance for under $50k in a new car. There is not a single vehicle that can touch this one in STOCK form at that price. $20k more or modified equally priced cars are the only competition. The fact that it is perfectly balanced and hits 90% of peak torque at 1900 RPM in a car the size of a HONDA CIVIC will blow you away! Don;t get me wrong, there are quicker and faster cars out there, just not in this price range. If you have a chance to get a 2013 135i or better a 2013 135is (like I have) you should not hesitate! Buy it and enjoy it until it dies a fun death on a track in a controlled environment! Just kidding PLEASE don't wreak it!I am only considering selling mine because my wife is going to become a stay at home mom and we are trying to consolidate bills. If I can find a way I will not sell it! I will keep it forever... Happy Hunting!"

15 people out of 29 found this review helpful

Awesome car! Reliable, Sporty, Cute, Fun to drive

By on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,978

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Very fun to drive!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This little car is everything I was looking for when I bought her two years ago and still is. Except I just need something bigger now. its quick off the line and very responsive handling."

9 people out of 15 found this review helpful

Great car fairly sporty

By on Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,700

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I needed a car with a back seat, but wanted something sporty and fun to drive. I traded a Porsche Cayman in for this, I miss the Porsche but glad to have the BMW handles great, fun to drive, decent gas mileage. Done a few autocross events handles good at the limits."

12 people out of 19 found this review helpful

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