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.