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Byrneon27
Byrneon27 Reader
8/18/20 6:47 p.m.

I worked on BMWs for a living when they were new. I work on more BMWs than planned now. My everyday car is a very very fast 170,000mi 07 335i, I sent the most important person in the world to me on a 1000mi round trip in it this weekend without so much as lifting the hood, granted she's car people and I'm sure made some checks but the point remains I'll hop in that car and go anywhere without anxiety. Yes they have issues which for the most part have been mentioned already take care of them and you'll end up getting quite the bargain on one of the better everything cars I can think of. 

02Pilot
02Pilot UltraDork
8/18/20 7:38 p.m.

Just to add a data point, as I'm in the Love It category on these, mine came with a full set of records, and already had Eibachs and Bilstein Sports installed. I recently swapped out the Bilsteins for Konis, which improved the ride quality a bit, but the biggest improvement was installing the E9x M3 control arms - the fronts add some negative camber, and several rubber bushings on the stock arms are replaced with ball joints - and rear subframe bushing inserts. Those mods really improved handling, especially the inserts. A good alignment wakes up the front end. Really the only thing I'm tempted to experiment with is a larger rear bar to dial out some understeer, but honestly the limits are so high that on the street this just isn't much of an issue.

I don't see a need for more power, and the stock brakes are plenty for the street. Only the suspension needs a little massaging to make it what it should be (IMO).

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
8/18/20 7:44 p.m.

I deleted the CDV in my E36 M3 and in my dad's E39 540i. I honestly didn't think it made a huge difference. It's dual mass fly wheel if I remember right. I remember reading, at the time, that that was a contriubutor to the vague engagement.

FWIW, I thought the 128i clutch, without any changes that I know of, was sharper than the older E36 M3 and E30 I had, and 540i. I remember it sticking out to me how much better the 128i was. Engagement was closer to the floor and more precise. Maybe it had a clutch stop that I didn't know about, who knows, wasn't my car.

The clutch stop was a fantastic change in my E36.

That white 128i looks great! 

G_Body_Man (Forum Supporter)
G_Body_Man (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
8/18/20 9:00 p.m.

I've got an E90 325i which shares a lot of components, and have driven a 128i before. They're simply brilliant and the last semi-reliable car BMW made. Parts aren't as terrible as E46 owners make them out to be and they're just so refined yet dynamically accomplished. On 300TW tires and a longer wheelbase I'm outrunning BRZs and WRXs with similarly-experienced drivers at autocross. The two achilles heels are electric water pumps (a bit pricey) and oil filter housing gaskets, otherwise they're fairly solid.

cones36
cones36 New Reader
8/18/20 9:06 p.m.

Cool cars. It's a shame they didn't come with an LSD.

02Pilot
02Pilot UltraDork
8/18/20 9:18 p.m.

In reply to cones36 :

For street use, the electronic LSD function of the DSC doesn't do a terrible job. It definitely has it's limits, but it's not a liability.

First post in this thread is a useful explanation of it. It quickly degenerates into a E36 M3show, so you may not wish to read further.

cones36
cones36 New Reader
8/18/20 9:32 p.m.
02Pilot said:

In reply to cones36 :

For street use, the electronic LSD function of the DSC doesn't do a terrible job. It definitely has it's limits, but it's not a liability.

First post in this thread is a useful explanation of it. It quickly degenerates into a E36 M3show, so you may not wish to read further.

Interesting -- didn't know about that!

scs
scs New Reader
8/19/20 8:07 p.m.

For some reason I recall not liking the 128i all that much when I first tested it, but last year I married a woman with a mint convertible, and I can't find much not to like about it, especially after Rennie and Redline went through it, starting with the coils. Decent power, good handling, and more comfortable inside than I recall -- someone mentioned that the base seats weren't great, perhaps that was a problem with my test car. Still pretty, too - local BMW place said they love to get them in trade.

Brake_L8 (Forum Supporter)
Brake_L8 (Forum Supporter) Reader
8/20/20 2:32 p.m.

I had a 2009 128i 6MT for about a year. It was a phenomenal daily driver and I only sold it because I needed to finally buy a tow vehicle for my E36 M3. Yes, I had the two cars at the same time, though the E36 was well on its way to being a caged time trial/W2W race car by then. In any case, as others have said, they are very similar power/weight ratio and the E82 has a MUCH better interior than any E36 could dream of. 

Mine was Jet Black (blah) on Coral Red (yasss) with Sport, Premium, and Cold Weather packages. I threw a set of BBS wheels on it, removed the clutch delay valve, and added an AFE intake that was kind of worthless. 

My car also had the CIC second-generation iDrive which I really liked (started in 2009). Some of the later cars got NBT iDrive which feels even snappier and more modern. In either case, you can update nav maps through the grey market for like $50 and the system works really well. Do note that CIC iDrive will only allow Bluetooth phone calls, no music streaming. NBT supports Bluetooth calls and music both natively. If you get a car with CIC, you can use a Bovee A2DP Bluetooth adapter with the BMW iPod cord to stream music from your iPhone or Android phone.

As others have said, the N52 is a very solid engine, keep an eye on the oil filter housing gasket and the drive belt tensioner. If either is leaking (the tensioner can leak whatever fluid/grease is inside) replace them ASAP. The electric water pump sounds like a PITA but aside from being more costly to replace, is easy enough to do yourself. I believe the car can set a CEL/iDrive message for "reduced flow" so you know the pump is on its way out instead of just failing out of nowhere. The coolant bleed procedure is all done with the Engine Start button and throttle pedal, i.e. you do a dance and the electronics handle it. Super cool.

They accept E90 M3 suspension bits if you want to mess with things. It's hard to fit big wheels/tires up front on a stock setup. I think I ran 235s on a 17x8.5" wheel and ended up with too tall of a sidewall, which rubbed on bumps.

The Sport seats are a must (look for extendable thigh support to tell), I also really enjoyed the adaptive HID headlamps that turned with the steering wheel (part of Premium package, I think). My car had the Logic7 top-end sound system, which had a subwoofer under each seat and was generally very excellent.

They're great cars and likely the last N/A, rear-drive, inline-six, manual-trans car BMW will ever make. Buy one.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
8/20/20 2:51 p.m.
Brake_L8 (Forum Supporter) said:

Some of the later cars got NBT iDrive which feels even snappier and more modern. In either case, you can update nav maps through the grey market for like $50 and the system works really well. Do note that CIC iDrive will only allow Bluetooth phone calls, no music streaming. NBT supports Bluetooth calls and music both natively. If you get a car with CIC, you can use a Bovee A2DP Bluetooth adapter with the BMW iPod cord to stream music from your iPhone or Android phone.

I had a late build '13 135i..............it still had CIC iDrive apparently because I was going to need a music adapter to make streaming work. Confirmed by multiple people on the forums as well.

White on Coral. I really loved the car, but my wallet didn't.

Brake_L8 (Forum Supporter)
Brake_L8 (Forum Supporter) Reader
8/20/20 2:55 p.m.
z31maniac said:
Brake_L8 (Forum Supporter) said:

Some of the later cars got NBT iDrive which feels even snappier and more modern. In either case, you can update nav maps through the grey market for like $50 and the system works really well. Do note that CIC iDrive will only allow Bluetooth phone calls, no music streaming. NBT supports Bluetooth calls and music both natively. If you get a car with CIC, you can use a Bovee A2DP Bluetooth adapter with the BMW iPod cord to stream music from your iPhone or Android phone.

I had a late build '13 135i..............it still had CIC iDrive apparently because I was going to need a music adapter to make streaming work. Confirmed by multiple people on the forums as well.

White on Coral. I really loved the car, but my wallet didn't.

Weird! I thought some of them got NBT, a friend bought a 135i when I had mine and his car could stream music with no extra gear. Knowing BMW, a random assortment of 17 cars in 2013 got NBT or something.

shagles
shagles Reader
8/22/20 7:57 p.m.

I've got a 2009 6mt and really like it. I did put konis and M performance springs on it though. The only gripes i have have been covered already, the base model seats and no diff. I've been trying for 2 years to find some sport seats with no luck. 

A couple other things that go out that haven't been mentioned are the valve cover gasket and oil pan gasket. Both are diy-able, they just take a while. Also the valve cover can sometimes crack around bolt holes so check it if you replace the gasket. BMW plastic and valve covers shouldn't mix. 

All in all it's been a solid car that i enjoy driving. 

OzarkOwen
OzarkOwen New Reader
8/22/20 10:33 p.m.

FYI the car that caused me to start this topic was about three hours away.  It sold before I could go see it. This discussion was interesting, and helpful. Thanks!  I think that I’ll keep a 128i manual on my list of “yeah, I might like one of those”. 

 

Carbon (Forum Supporter)
Carbon (Forum Supporter) UberDork
8/7/21 6:05 p.m.
cones36 said:

Cool cars. It's a shame they didn't come with an LSD.

Ew, they're open diff?!? Gross. 
 

not to say they can't be swapped easily enough but wtf bmw?

504tgriffin
504tgriffin New Reader
2/26/22 12:52 p.m.

In reply to Brake_L8 (Forum Supporter) :

The coral is beautiful

Loweguy5
Loweguy5 HalfDork
2/27/22 9:35 a.m.

In reply to racerdave600 :

Over the course of 35 years of driving and owning North of 100 cars, I've learned to buy like you do:  overpay a little for a really nice example up front.  It's amazing what a difference you can have in an ownership experience starting with a car that has been looked after and not beaten on.

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