Lexus has said it could never build a car priced under $30,000, because it wouldn’t be a Lexus, it would be a Toyota.
That’s a respectable position to take, because it gives the luxury brand at least a little separation from its plebeian cousin.
Other luxury automakers have decided against that strategy and built entry-level vehicles designed to entice younger buyers into their brands. That decision, though, cheapens the brand for more upscale buyers.
Small, less-expensive luxury cars are great for production volume and a padded bottom line, but I’ll tell you what, seeing a BMW 1 Series pulling into a large parking spot is more humorous than impressive.
As the company’s entry-level model between 2008 and 2013, the 1 Series offers decent BMW performance at an affordable price on the used market. The car, with styling that is best described as an acquired taste, is popular because buyers like the BMW name at a very non-BMW price. For that reason, it’s one of the best values on the used-car market.
The 128i came with a standard 230-hp 6-cylinder engine, but luxurious features like leather upholstery were expensive options. The base car was a decent buy, at around $31,000, but it would’ve made more sense for buyers at the time to step up to the 3 Series instead of adding options, because 1 Series prices could quickly approach $40,000.
That’s a lot of money for a car not much bigger than a MINI Cooper.
I’m of the belief that luxury automakers should follow the lead of Lexus, and let their used cars serve as entry-level cars.
Is a used BMW 1 Series appealing to you?