Top 10 cars for summer

4. BMW 1-Series Convertible

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    The 300 hp. turbocharged BMW 135i is more expensive and offers slightly less frugal fuel economy than the 128i, but substantially more spirited performance.
    Courtesy of BMW/File
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With the universally loved 3-Series having moved steadily upmarket since it became “hip-to-be-square” around 1985, the 1-Series has finally stepped in to take its place as BMW’s entry-level offering.

Just because the 1-Series is relatively inexpensive does not mean it’s cheap. The same razor-sharp handling, legendary steering-feel, and premium build quality that define the BMW lineup is present here, albeit with a few less pounds of sound-deadening material.

But you won’t miss that sound-suppressant, because you’ll want to savor every second you get to spend listening to the brilliantly dialed-in engine under the hood of the 128i or more powerful 135i.

The 128i Convertible starts pricing at just under $37,000, and returns 22 m.p.g. in mixed driving. The naturally aspirated inline 6 pushes 230 hp. to the rear wheels. For $5,000 more, you can get into the 300 hp. turbocharged 135i, which offers slightly less frugal fuel economy but substantially more spirited performance. For those who really want to dial up the fun, an “M Sport Package” is available that increases top speed, dresses up the interior, and fits some slightly sleeker bodywork. But these options increase the price quickly. So, if you’re seeking a BMW with the brand’s Motorsport-level performance, you’d be best served searching the preowned market.

However, one major advantage that new BMW owners will experience is the “Ultimate Service” package; a four-year/50,000 mile maintenance program that covers all consumables and scheduled maintenance, as well as provides unlimited roadside assistance in addition to the standard warranty. Now, if only they’d pay for gas!

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