BMW 128i vs BMW 323i – THE GOOD CAR GUY EXAMINES THE WHYS AND WHY NOTS


Would you pay $500 extra per door to upgrade from a BMW 1-Series to a BMW 3-Series? Some would say that choice is obvious. In Canada, it’s a possibility only because of an engine option not available in U.S.-bound 3-Series sedans. BMW’s 2.5L inline-six generates 200 horsepower and 180 lb-ft. More importantly, it creates a $6,500-lower MSRP than if the base 3-Series were a 328i as it is south of the border.

However, just because BMW Canada is willing to slot the 2.5L straight-six in to the 3-Series doesn’t mean the 1-Series will be similarly kitted out. Indeed, as in America, the basic 1-Series is the 128i with 230 horsepower and 200 lb-ft of torque, a fairly wicked powerplant capable of chucking the 128i up the road nicely. As a result of losing out on the 123i moniker, there’s no $6,500 price drop for the 1-Series and its base price cuddles up nicely with the 323i at $33,900. Yes, that’s just $1,000 less than the least expensive 3-Series.
In semi-traditional GoodCarBadCar.net style, let’s start a Top 5 – a Double Top 5 – to assist in coming to a conclusion: BMW 128i or BMW 323i, which will it be? An examination of pros and cons begins below.
TOP 5 REASONS TO CHOOSE THE BMW 128i
#5 – The 128i is the quicker car. 0-60mph comes up in less than six seconds.
#4 – Youthful exuberance always leads to a coupe.
#3 – Even with more power, the 128i is more fuel efficient than the 323i, but only by a nose in city driving. Each car, with a manual tranny, is rated at 6.9L/100km on the highway.
#2 – Doesn’t everybody want the better-looking car? The 128i is more purposeful and more together, although bettering the current 3-Series sedan hasn’t been a challenge for anyone.
#1 – It’s better to buy the least expensive house on the nicest street in the neighbourhood than the nicest home on the worst street in the neighbourhood.
TOP 5 REASONS TO CHOOSE THE BMW 323i
#5 – Everybody, even self-proclaimed BMW haters, has always had a place deep down in their heart that wanted, wants, and will want a BMW 3-Series.
#4 – A basic BMW 323i without sports suspension or supersized wheels is inevitably going to be a smoother-riding machine than a BMW 128i.
#3 – You have friends? Give them their own doors to open.
#2 – Quit acting like there’s something wrong with 200 horsepower. The largest-engined non-M 3-Series in 2000 was a 328i with a sufficient 193 horsepower.
#1 – Though slightly more expensive than the BMW 128i, the 323i is less expensive than the Audi A4, Infiniti G37, and Mercedes-Benz C250.
TOP 5 REASONS TO AVOID THE BMW 128i
#5 – You could’ve had a 3-Series for an extra $20/month or so.
#4 – The 128i should be a lot quicker. But at 3,232 pounds, each of the 230 horses is pushing around some serious heft for such a small car.
#3 – Not the prettiest headlights, are they? No, they’re not.
#2 – You’ll miss every one of the lost 4.5 cubic feet of passenger space.
#1 – BMW’s 323i is just one way to get more car for your money at this price level.
TOP 5 REASONS TO AVOID THE BMW 323i
#5 – Obvious much? Everybody and their dog already has a BMW 3-Series.
#4 – Everybody and their dog already has one of the least attractive cars in the category, a BMW 3-Series.
#3 – 16-inch wheels in a 2010 BMW 3-Series? Haha. Teehee.
#2 – Unless it’s de-badged, everyone will know your BMW 323i has less umph than a ho-hum V6 midsize sedan.
#1 – Three-two-three makes it sound like you’re driving a mid-90s Mazda compact.
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