When BMW introduced its 1-series to the U.S. market, it quickly followed on with a 1-series convertible. Like the Coupe, the Convertible can be had as the 128i or the 135i model, denoting the different engines available.
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Although the smallest of BMW's offerings, the 1-series doesn't look terribly different from the 3-series in front. The difference in body styles is most notable from the side.
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The 3-liter straight-six engine is the same as used in the 328i. It produces a modest 230 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque.
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Our test car came with the Sport package, which includes 17-inch wheels. We really couldn't imagine smaller wheels on this car.
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Unlike BMW's convertible sedans, the 128i uses a soft top. It is power-operated and works quickly.
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Although a sport-tuned suspension came with the Sport package, we weren't terribly impressed by the 128i's handling in the corners. It didn't feel as glued to the pavement as the 135i.
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Because the convertible is a soft top, it doesn't compromise trunk space, as a retractable hard top would.
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The cabin materials and finish don't differ greatly from more expensive BMW models. We particularly like the dark wood trim in this car. The LCD is a pop-up unit.
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The 128i delivers good steering response, as we would expect on a BMW, but the suspension limits what you can do in the corners.
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BMW uses a very clean design for its gauges, and trip computer information is shown on the display between the tachometer and speedometer.
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A six-speed automatic is an option on the 128i Convertible, in place of a six-speed manual. This automatic transmission has normal, sport, and manual modes.
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BMW's navigation system includes traffic reporting, with traffic flow displayed as arrows. The closer together the arrows, the slower traffic is going.
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The navigation system can also show its maps in 3D format.
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The optional USB port can be used with a USB thumb drive or with an iPod. Music from either type of device is displayed on the car's LCD.
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The interface for USB drives is very simple, merely letting you browse folders until you find MP3 files.
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BMW uses a nice design for the radio tuner. Along with standard radio, the car can be optioned up with HD and satellite radio.
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Bluetooth cell-phone integration comes with the BMW Assist package, which also includes a telematics service.
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You can program the diamond and star buttons on the steering wheel's right spoke, assigning the functions shown on this screen.
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