Unlike Phil, I can't say that I enjoyed the 128i more than the Z4, but that might just be because I didn't get to spend very much time in the 1-series. If I had, it'd be a tough call, because both droptop Bimmers are heaps of fun. The 128i doesn't have the Z4's (or the 135i's) twin-turbo straight six, but this normally aspirated engine still sounds fantastic and begs you to keep the revs high. The six-speed stick encourages you to play, too. 1-series gearboxes are notably better than other BMW boxes I've shifted (although I've not driven a 3-series recently); the movement is still nice and slick, but the annoying slop is gone in these cars.
The 1-series isn't the most masculine-looking automobile, but it looks fairly tough in this bright blue hue. In fact, if I were going to buy a 1-series, I think I'd spec it just like this car, but with one additional option - heated seats - and possibly without the sport package. Otherwise, this bare-bones 128i is very good. No nav, no iDrive, no bling - just a sweet-handling, nicely balanced, droptop that fits you like a glove.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor