The 128ti revives a badge that has been used since the 1960s to denote particularly sporty BMWs. Picture: SUPPLIED
The 128ti revives a badge that has been used since the 1960s to denote particularly sporty BMWs. Picture: SUPPLIED

BMW has revealed a new 1-Series hatchback that will directly compete with Volkswagen’s eighth-generation Golf GTI.

The new BMW 128ti is powered by a detuned version of the 225kW/450Nm 2.0l turbocharged engine found in the range-topping BMW M135i xDrive. Packing 195kW and 400Nm, the front-wheel-drive 128ti is capable of scooting from 0-100km/h in just 6.1 seconds and on to a 250km/h top speed, says BMW.

The sporty hatch puts the power down via an eight-speed automatic transmission, with a Torsen mechanical limited-slip differential to optimise traction in the driven front wheels. The car also adopts firmer anti-roll bars, M Sport suspension that lowers the car by 10mm, an M Sport braking system with red-painted brake calipers, and remapped electric power steering (EPAS).

Weighing 80kg less than the all-wheel drive M135i xDrive, the 128ti wears distinctive 18-inch Y‑spoke wheels that can be fitted with grippier Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres as a no-cost option.

The 128ti is visually distinctive from other 1 Series models by its extended “Shadowline” package which comprises a black high-gloss finish on the kidney grilles and side mirrors. The M Sport model gets added visual verve with the side skirts and front and rear air curtains finished in red (cars ordered in Melbourne Red or Misano Blue get more subdued black accents).

The cabin is made racier with red contrast stitching, and sport seats with red detailing. The “ti” logo has also been embroidered onto the centre armrest.

The cabin is made racier with with red contrast stitching, and sport seats with red detailing. Picture: SUPPLIED
The cabin is made racier with with red contrast stitching, and sport seats with red detailing. Picture: SUPPLIED

The 128ti revives a BMW badge that has been used since the 1960s. The “ti” stands for “Turismo Internazionale” and marks out particularly sporty models, from the BMW 1800 TI and BMW 2002 TI to the BMW 323ti Compact and BMW 325ti Compact of the late 1990s.

The BMW 128ti will go on sale in SA in the first quarter of 2021, with pricing to be confirmed closer to the time.

The third-generation 1 Series, internally dubbed the F40, is built on the same platform as the Mini Countryman and BMW X1. It was launched in SA in October 2019 in 118i and M135i xDrive models.

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