Ultimate BMW E82/E88 1 Series Buyers Guide: Best BMW E82 Models (2023)

The BMW 1 Series debuted in 2004 as the E87 5-door. It wasn't until 2008 that BMW brought the 1 Series to North America as an E82 coupe and an E88 convertible. Models include the 128i, 135i and the legendary 1M. We will refer to some foreign models, but this article is mainly aimed at US models. In this guide, we take a look at the chassis of the BMW E82 and compare the performance, reliability and handling of the E82/E88 128i, 135i and 1M.

Basic information about the E8x chassis

Here, too, we mainly focus on American models. However, we will briefly detail some useful data for the chassis of the BMW E8x. It is available in the following body styles:

  • E82 - 2-Turiges Coupe
  • E88 - Cabriolet with 2 engines
  • E81 - 3-door hatchback
  • E87 - 5-door hatchback

US models include BMW E82 and E88 chassis only. BMW 1 Series models include:

  • 116i / 116d
  • 118i / 118d
  • 120i / 120d
  • 125i / 123d
  • 128i
  • 130i
  • 135i
  • 135ist
  • 1 million cup

E82 and E88 models are available in the US in 128i, 135i, 135is and 1M models only. They were sold from 2008 to 2013.

O motor E82/E88

There is a wide range of engines to choose from for the BMW 1 Series. Much of this E82 buyer's guide and comparison boils down to these engines. Foreign models include many options such as the N43, N45, N46 and N47 diesels. There were also options for the N52, N54 and N55. The last 3 will be our focus as they are the options available on US 1 Series car models.

  • N52 - 3.0L Inline-6 ​​​​​​Saugmotor
  • N54 - 3.0 liter inline 6 twin turbo
  • N55 - 3.0-Liter-Inline-6-Single-Twin-Scroll-Turbo

As we move through the first buyer's guide, we'll continue to take the engines apart. Now, let's quickly run through each of BMW's 3.0-liter inline-6 ​​engines found in the E82 Coupe and E88 Convertible.

MotorBMW N52

As with all of these engines, the N52 is a 3.0-liter inline-6. It offers 228 hp in the BMW 128i model. Foreign use of the N52 engine includes the detuned 125i variant with 215 hp and a 130i with 255 to 261 hp. All very respectable numbers for a small and light car.

However, the N52-powered 128i lacks turbos and remains the least powerful US 1-series variant. However, some appreciate the NA design and the ease of maintenance and repair.

(Video) Buying a used BMW 1 series (E87, E81, E82, E88) - 2004-2013, Buying advice with Common Issues

N52 Engine Trouble Guide

Bolt-On N52 Mods Guide

Engine BMW N54

The N54 is always an interesting discussion. We fell in love with this engine and it is largely responsible for the fact that we started this blog. However, those familiar with BMW have probably heard plenty of N54 horror stories. It was BMW's first attempt at a production turbo engine with direct injection.

Many aspects of the N54 are excellent and it is the modern formula for powerful, high performance engines. With 300 hp, 300 torque, and minimal factory turbo lag, it's a solid performer. However, the N54 really shines in the aftermarket, where simple mods can easily boost the N54 to 450-600+ horsepower. On the other hand, the lack of reliability can put many off.

*N54 found in 2008-2010 E82/E88 135i and 2012-2013 BMW E82 1M Coupe. The 1M models get a 335hp N54, making them the most powerful E82/E88 1 Series on the market.

N54 Engine Trouble Guide

N54 500hp per $1500 token

Engine BMW N55

1 Series models with the N55 engine include the 2011-2013 135i and 2013 135is. The N55 offers the same 300 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque as the previous N54 engine. However, BMW has scaled back aftermarket potential in favor of working on reliability. The N55 135i is still capable of 400+ hp with some basic modifications.


This is considered by some to be a huge reliability improvement over the N54. This was the case in the early days as the N54 suffered from HPFP, turbo and injector issues. The N55 didn't really encounter these problems when it was new. However, these 3 issues on the N54 are now largely resolved. Otherwise, the N55 suffers from many of the same reliability concerns.

N55 Engine Trouble Guide

Guia N55 400 Whp por US$ 1.500

bmw 1st price

Since this is a buyer's guide, we will focus on current prices as of 2021 and ignore any MSRP. Even at current prices, there's not much to argue about. However, if you're not budgeting more than $40,000 for an 8-10 year old car, you might as well cross the BMW 1M off the list. They are extremely rare and hard to find for sale. The few that end up on sale usually cost between $40,000 and $60,000.

The 2013 BMW 135is models are another expensive option. They are also hard to find, usually appearing in the $20,000 to $30,000 price range.

The regular 128i and 135i models are the easiest to find and are reasonably priced. In fact, they can be found for very similar prices. Most 128i models range from $8,000 to $15,000. 135i models are also available for less than $10,000. However, newer 2011-2013 N55 models will likely cost upwards of $15,000. Some clean, lower-mileage examples are still going for $20,000 or more.

BMW E82/E88 Performance

We have a driving section to follow, so this part is mostly about engines and performance in a straight line. Let's get to this topic quickly as we provided a quick overview earlier. Long story short, if you're looking for the best performing E82/E88 on the market, consider the N54 and N55. The 135i and 1M models offer much more power from the factory.

Above all, the N54 and N55 can be easily modified for higher performance. Simple bolts can easily boost these motors to over 400 horsepower. The N54 has a slight advantage when it comes to internal strength and tuning potential. The stock N54 twin turbos are good for 450-500+ whp, and turbo upgrades can easily boost them to 500-600+ whp. Of course, the costs add up quickly when you shoot in such large quantities.


Anyway, we could sit here and list the 0-60 and 1/4 mile times. However, all of these numbers vary depending on the driver, conditions, gearbox, etc. The point is: if you want performance, the N54 or N55 with 135i, 135is and 1M technology are the way to go.

E82 128i, 135i, 1M Drive

Handling is one area where the E82 and E88 chassis really excel. Convertible models with similar options add anywhere from 200 to 275 pounds to the car. As such, you may want to avoid the convertible in some cases if you're looking for a drive. However, most of the additional weight falls on the E88. It's not good to have more weight, but it's less harmful to handling if it goes down. You still lose some abilities, as well as braking and acceleration.

Either way, the BMW E82 1M will offer the best overall handling and performance. It makes sense, since it's the high-performance version developed by BMW's legendary M division. But what about the 128i and 135i?

Handling of the BMW 128i vs. 135i

Here the BMW E82 128i gains a slight advantage over the heavier 135i. Turbochargers add weight. The N52 also uses lightweight magnesium, but for added strength the N54 and N55 have aluminum. The N54 and N55 engines weigh about 75 pounds more than the N52 in the 128i. The additional weight is located just above the front axle.

In general, the 135i is 100 to 200 pounds heavier than the 128i. However, it can vary greatly depending on specific features, streaming, and more. Regardless, the 128i has a slight advantage thanks to its lighter weight, especially on the front axle. However, both are capable artists. Despite the added weight, the 128i will look similar to the 135i to most drivers. The extra horsepower in the 135i is probably more noticeable than the weight difference.

Reliability and Problems of the BMW E82

Again, we'll be quick when we've touched on this before. The links above to our engine trouble guides are helpful resources for specific engine problems. An advantage of almost all BMW E82 and E88 models is their simplicity. They must be smaller and lighter cars. As such, BMW 1 Series cars generally come with a little less technology and features.

Power seats and steering wheel adjustment (among many other things) are commonly found on the larger 3 and 5 series. Although they were optional on some 128i and 135i models, many are manual. The basic design reliably helps you avoid the electric goblins that many older BMWs seem to encounter.

All engine options can be hit or miss. The N52 128i probably has an advantage since they are NA engines. The 135i models with N54 and N55 technology can be a bit more demanding to maintain. Direct injection raises concerns about carbon buildup. Turbo engines burn out spark plugs and ignition coils. Therefore, E82/E88 turbo engines leave more room for potential failure.

(Video) This Is Why You SHOULD Buy A USED BMW 1 Series!

Otherwise these engines share many similar reliability concerns. Things like VANOS solenoids, valve cover gaskets, oil pan gaskets, water pumps, coolant hoses, expansion tanks, etc. They are quite common problems. Especially with the age of the BMW E82 1 Series, all of these engines could use a little work from time to time. Most repairs aren't too expensive to do it yourself, but costs add up quickly if you go to a repair shop or dealer to do it all.

E82/E88 Buyer's Guide Summary

The BMW E82 and E88 chassis have many advantages. In general, cars are getting bigger every year. The E82 128i, 135i and 1M are all small and light in weight compared to cars of the time. All US models receive 3.0-liter inline-6 ​​engines, making the BMW 1 Series a very capable car.

Sadly, most have to cross the fantastic BMW 1M off their list immediately. Priced from $40,000 to $60,000 and powered by the N54 engine, these cars aren't cheap to buy or maintain. The 135is is an attractive option, but for an 8 year old car they are also very expensive.

So for most, the BMW E82 comparison comes down to the 128i and 135i. Both have so much to offer and we find it hard to go wrong with either. BMW 135i models are at the forefront of performance and fit, especially with the N54 biturbo engine. However, the lighter 128i may be a better choice for a balance between fuel economy, reliability, and handling. Both are very capable cars, so it all comes down to personal preference.

What are your experiences with the BMW E82 and E88? Are you considering one?

Leave a comment and tell us!

Looking for something bigger?Check out our E90 Series 3 Buyer's Guide


What models are E82? ›

2-door coupe (E82)

The model range consisted of the 118d, 118i, 120i, 120d, 123d, 125i, 125se, 128i, 135i, 135is, and the M Coupé. In North America, the E82 went on sale in October 2007 with the 128i and the 135i models. The E82 was produced until August 2013.

What is the difference between BMW E82 and 2 Series? ›

Compared to the E82 1 Series coupé, the F22 2 Series is 72 mm (2.8 in) longer, 26 mm (1.0 in) wider, and 5 mm (0.2 in) lower. The 2 Series also has 6 mm (0.2 in) more front headroom and 21 mm (0.8 in) more rear legroom, and has an additional 20 litres (0.71 cu ft) trunk space at 390 litres (14 cu ft).

Which BMW 1 Series is most reliable? ›

rated the diesel-engined 1 Series in first place on its list of the most reliable family cars. The petrol-engined versions ranked tenth. The 1 Series maintained its top raking in the 2021 edition of the reliability survey, although the petrol versions were reported to be more reliable than the diesels.

Is the E82 a classic? ›

The E82 1 Series: Building on a rich coupe heritage

Due to its size and warm reception by the public, it is frequently considered to be a true successor of the classic E30 3 Series 2-door coupe of the '80s era.

What engine does BMW E82 have? ›

The BMW E82 1 Series Coupe 120d has a Inline 4, Diesel engine with 1995 cm3 / 121.7 cu-in capacity.

Which is the best BMW 2 Series engine? ›

The mid-spec 230i is probably the best overall engine option in the 2 Series range.

Which second hand BMW should I buy? ›

10 Best BMWs To Buy Used
  • 10 M5 E60.
  • 9 325i (E30)
  • 8 Z3 M.
  • 7 2002.
  • 6 i8.
  • 5 Z4 E89.
  • 4 X3 E83.
  • 3 5 Series E28.
Jun 27, 2022

What does the E stand for in BMW? ›

For instance, if you have a 2003 330i, it is termed an e46. These 'e' terms are used to identify BMW Body style design depending on the look and year of your BMW. E is short for “Entwicklung” which is the German word for development, or to link the 'e', evolution.

Which BMW 1 Series have timing chain issues? ›

The BBC 1 Watchdog program on 12th June 2013 showed that BMW have had significant issues and complaints from BMW owners about total engine failure in the BMW 1-Series, 3-Series and 5-Series vehicles built between 2007 and 2009 due to BMW N47 timing chains.

What is the best engine of BMW 1 Series? ›

BMW 1 Series diesel engines

The 2.0-litre 118d with 148bhp is a popular choice for those covering more miles, with a new design of turbocharger which makes its ample torque available from slower speeds. This adds up to the 0-62mph sprint taking just 8.4 seconds and a top speed of 134mph.

Are BMW 1 Series rare? ›

Every 1 Series is unique. Just look in a crowded parking lot for one. The one you see will likely be yours. It's a rare car, I have seen so few in the last ten years!

What year is BMW E82 LCI? ›

BMW 1 Series Coupé E82 LCI 2011 - 2013.

How old does a BMW have to be classic? ›

For insurance and registration purposes, the age of a classic car, in most cases, is at least 20 years old but not more than 40 years old.

Are E82 reliable? ›

The short answer is no these engines have timing chain issues even car with FSH are affected , I'll be honest & say they're best avoided or find one that's had the work already done.

What is a BMW 1 Series E88? ›

The BMW Series 1, also called the E88 was a rear-wheel drive car, offering a choice of four petrol and one diesel engines. The convertible was based on the already released coupe, however, it was 12mm lower even if the length, width and the wheelbase length remained unchanged.

What is E82? ›

Ben Ho, "E82 has been a common error on the slims for some time since release, E82 error is the GPU has overheated and come unseated from the main board.

What is the top speed of BMW E88? ›

The BMW E88 1 Series Cabrio 135i top speed is 250 Km/h / 155 mph.

What is the fuel economy of BMW 1 Series E82? ›

BMW 1 series E82 coupe average fuel consumption in combined cycle for petrol engine is from 6.6 to 9.2 litres per 100km, whereas for diesel engine - from 4.5 to 5.6 litres per 100km.

Which BMW 1 Series have turbos? ›

The turbocharged engine option is available in selected models of BMW 1 Series [2013-2017] - 118d Hatchback, 118d Sport Line [2013-2017].

Which BMW model has the best engine? ›

– The S54 inline-six engine from the E46 M3 is often considered one of BMW's best engines ever. It's incredibly powerful and sounds great, but it's also known for being very reliable. What is this? – The N54 twin-turbocharged inline-six engine from the E90/E92/E93 M3 is another one of BMW's best engines.

What is the best all round BMW? ›

  • BMW E30 M3 (1986-1991) The BMW M3 that started it all – the E30 was the very first M3 made and is considered by many car enthusiasts (us among them) to be the best ever. ...
  • BMW i8 (2014-2020) ...
  • BMW 4 Series (2014-present) ...
  • BMW 3 Series (1975-present) ...
  • BMW X1 (2009-present) ...
  • BMW Z3 (1998-2003)

What year and model is the best BMW? ›

Here are 10 of the greatest BMWs ever built
  • BMW 507: 1955-59. For decades this was BMW's highest achievement. ...
  • BMW 700/CS: 1959-65. ...
  • BMW 1500/1600/1800/2000: 1961-72. ...
  • BMW M1: 1978-81. ...
  • BMW M3 (E30): 1986-1991. ...
  • BMW 3 Series (E36): 1990-90. ...
  • BMW X5 (E53): 1999-2006. ...
  • BMW M5 (E60): 2005-10.

Which BMW holds its value best? ›

The BMW 2 Series holds its value even better, with the most accurate BMW resale value estimates expecting it to retain around 49% of its total value after five years. Once again, around 25% of that depreciation takes place within the first two years.

What is the best mileage to buy a used BMW? ›

The cutoff for good mileage on a used car is generally somewhere between 30,000 and 60,000 miles, but today's used cars are lasting longer than ever!
Shopping for a Used Car: What Else Should You Keep in Mind?
  • Does the vehicle have structural damage? ...
  • How was the vehicle used by its previous owner?

Is buying an old BMW worth it? ›

BMW, like other luxury automotive brands, tends to depreciate in value more than general economy brands. They cost a lot when they are brand new but drop significantly in price when resold. In fact, a study shows that luxury cars tend to cost roughly 30–40% less when purchased used.

Why is BMW called a Beamer? ›

The nickname “Beamer” comes from Great Britain – and originally served to distinguish it from a British manufacturer* whose motorcycles bore the nickname “Beezer”. But BMW motorcycles also achieved great success on the British racing scene, including the “Isle of Man TT Races”.

What does BMW mean in German? ›

The acronym BMW stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke GmbH, which roughly translates to the Bavarian Engine Works Company. The name harks back to the company's origin in the German state of Bavaria.

Why did BMW change from E to F? ›

BMW E and F Numbers

The E in E-number stands for the German word Entwicklung - meaning Development. E numbers are the factory code numbers given to new cars in the process of development prior their official sales name has been allocated. When E numbers reached triple digits, they became F numbers.

When should you change the timing belt on a BMW 1 Series? ›

Although timing belts are critical, there's no need to replace them regularly –unless explicitly recommended in your BMW owner's manual. Some automakers recommend changing a timing belt between 60,000 and 100,000, others don't. Many of today's timing belts can go 100,000 miles or more without needing to be replaced.

How long does a timing chain last on a BMW 1 Series? ›

BMW use timing chains in almost every model of engine that they produce. It is recommended to replace your timing chain before failure as repair prices can become very high from internal engine damage if left. The average life of these timing chains is 90,000 miles or 9 years.

When should I replace my BMW 1 Series timing belt? ›

It depends on your motor's age and condition, but on average, you might need a new belt after 4 years, or 6, or after driving 40,000 or 100,000 miles.

What is the most reliable BMW engine ever made? ›

Here are the top 5 most reliable BMW engines.
  • BMW B58 Engine. The B58 is a relatively new but already renowned engine from BMW production. ...
  • BMW M54 Engine. Another straight-6 gasoline engine but this time a naturally aspirated one. ...
  • BMW N52 Engine. ...
  • BMW N55 Engine. ...
  • BMW S62 engine.
Jan 31, 2023

What mileage is too high for a BMW 1 Series? ›

I consider "high mileage" to be anything over 200,000 km (124,000 miles) but it's really not because, if maintained, almost all engines will last well beyond that before needing any major work. Mileage is just a number on the dash.

What is the most successful BMW model? ›

1) BMW 3 Series - 111,209 models sold

There was only ever going to be one winner. Whether it is the saloon or touring variants, the 3 Series is one of the most popular cars on the road today.

Is it worth buying used BMW 1 Series? ›

The BMW 1 Series is a popular choice for used car buyers.

Because the 1-Series feels like a 3-Series to drive but costs less people overlook the small boot and that is also hard to load. The rear legroom is pretty poor too, but not much worse than any other hatchback of this size, or indeed the 3-Series.

Is it expensive to maintain a BMW 1 Series? ›

Are BMWs expensive to repair? The general consensus amongst mechanics and drivers is yes, BMWs are expensive to repair. But as with most things in the automotive world though, most individual answers to that question tend to be influenced heavily by own personal experiences and opinions.

What year BMW is most reliable? ›

10 Most Reliable Cars BMW Ever Produced
  • 8 2008 BMW 750i.
  • 7 2010 BMW E90 328i.
  • 6 2012 BMW Z4.
  • 5 2016 BMW M4.
  • 4 2005 BMW 325i.
  • 3 2019 BMW F40.
  • 2 2018 BMW i3.
  • 1 2006 BMW E90 330i.
Dec 13, 2022

How many BMW e82 were made? ›

A total of 6,309 examples were made through June of 2012. Photo by Tom Kirkpatrick, courtesy of Bayerische Motoren Werke AG. Under its short hood is BMW's N54 engine, a 3.0-liter inline-six that develops 335 hp and 332 ft lbs of torque, or more urgently, 369 ft lbs with overboost from the twin turbochargers.

Why was the BMW 1 Series discontinued? ›

Over its 4 years of existence on our shores, which included a mid-life update in 2015, it failed to capture the imagination of any kind of buyer. There could be two reasons for it. One - it wasn't priced right. The 118d Sport Line, just before it went out of production, was priced at Rs 30.3 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

Is the BMW 1 Series made in Germany? ›

The BMW 1 Series (F40) is the third generation of the BMW 1 Series range of subcompact executive hatchback cars.
BMW 1 Series (F40)
ProductionJuly 2019 – present
Model years2020–present
AssemblyGermany: Leipzig (BMW Leipzig Plant); Regensburg
20 more rows

What does LCI mean on BMW E82? ›

As is the convention with BMW models as they near the end of their lifespan they receive a facelift, referred to by the catchy acronym LCI which of course stands for Life Cycle Impulse.

What does LCI mean on BMW? ›

The current BMW 5 Series doesn't feel aged despite being launched in India three years ago. But that hasn't stopped the Bavarian brand from giving the sedan a mid-life cycle update referred to as LCI (Life Cycle Impulse) outside India.

How do I know if my BMW is an LCI model? ›

If you have the taillights with curved lines, that's LCI, if you have the straight tail lights, that's pre-LCI. That's the easiest way to tell, assuming the PO didn't switch out the tail lights. If you have the taillights with curved lines, that's LCI, if you have the straight tail lights, that's pre-LCI.

Is my 20 year old car a classic? ›

Vintage: any vehicle built before 1930. Post vintage: any vehicle built between 1930 and 1945. Classic: a matter of opinion, often based on the car's style, production numbers or critical reception, but 'classics' can include some cars as young as five years old.

Does BMW make parts for old cars? ›

Original BMW parts will help you enjoy your classic for many years to come. In the future, you will be able to source the BMW Classic parts you need – chassis, electrics or bodywork-related – from your local BMW dealer, BMW branches and BMW Classic partners.

Is a 50 year old car a classic? ›

Classic vehicles might range in age from 10 to 50+ years old, and the term "classic car" may include vintage, antique, and collector vehicles. Ultimately, it depends on the classic car definition used by your state, insurer, or car collecting club — each may have its own age rules.

Are E82 and E92 mirrors the same? ›

They're all the same. I ran into one bread there was mixed answers, does anyone have a solid answer does it change depending on the year.. Mirror side parts, wiring, coding and folding engine are equal, just the attachment triangle for the E82 differs from the E92 version.

Which series of BMW is best? ›

  • BMW E30 M3 (1986-1991) The BMW M3 that started it all – the E30 was the very first M3 made and is considered by many car enthusiasts (us among them) to be the best ever. ...
  • BMW i8 (2014-2020) ...
  • BMW 4 Series (2014-present) ...
  • BMW 3 Series (1975-present) ...
  • BMW X1 (2009-present) ...
  • BMW Z3 (1998-2003)

What is the best BMW as a first car? ›

If you're looking for a BMW as your first car, theBMW 1 Series is probably your best bet. It's small and agile, making it easy to drive for new drivers with less experience.

What type of BMW is the best? ›

Best BMW Cars & SUVs
  • 2023 BMW X1. Combined Mileage: 28 mpg. Overview. ...
  • 2023 BMW 7 Series. Combined Mileage: 21 - 27 mpg. Overview. ...
  • 2023 BMW X7. Pros. Stellar performance. ...
  • 2023 BMW X5. Pros. Sporty handling and potent power. ...
  • 2023 BMW X6. Pros. Quick acceleration. ...
  • 2023 BMW 4 Series. Pros. Strong performance. ...
  • 2023 BMW 2 Series. Pros.

How much does a BMW side mirror cost? ›

The Best in Auto Repair

The average cost for a BMW 328i door mirror replacement is between $880 and $898. Labor costs are estimated between $71 and $90 while parts are priced at $808. This range does not include taxes and fees, and does not factor in your specific model year or unique location.

What are the three buttons on my BMW rear view mirror? ›

They are your home link buttons that can be used for such things as opening your garage door, but they might be able to be programed for other uses. There is info in your owners manual to guide you through it, although some garage door opening remotes are harder to program.


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