BMW’s long-anticipated 128ti is now available in South Africa, and it’s aimed squarely at beating the VW Golf GTI in every way.
TopAuto paid a visit to BMW Midrand – which has already received their first 128ti models – to have a closer look at what it has to offer.
The 128ti – ti being short for Turismo Internazionale – is the company’s newest performance-oriented 1-Series.
It features the best underpinnings from the range-topping 135i as the main focus was to create a front-wheel-drive hot hatch with great driving dynamics.
As a result, it’s not fitted with all the premium options in the BMW option book – but you’d be hard pressed to find something lacking.
The partial-leather seats with red stripes are as comfortable as they are good looking, and the latest iDrive infotainment system works just as well on the 8.8-inch display as it would have on a larger one.
There is red contrast stitching that creates a dynamic atmosphere, accompanied by an all-digital instrument cluster with sporty graphics.
The embroidered ti logos continue this look, while several panels covered in soft-touch leather remind you that you’re still in a premium German automobile.
It also supports several connectivity features such as Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and satellite navigation.
On the outside, it differentiates itself from the “normal” 1-Series through the addition of red bumper air curtains, side skirts, and brake calipers; exclusive 18-inch wheels; the Shadowline styling package that adds black body bits; and the all-important “ti” badging.
Under the hood is where the 128ti shows why it’s special.
The engine compartment is filled with a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-petrol motor that generates 180kW of power and 380Nm of torque.
This is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission which sends power to the front wheels only.
However, the “ti” in its name means it not only gets a powerful engine, it also gets sporty components.
This includes a larger turbo than the rest of the range, a new limited-slip differential, M Sport brakes, M Sport suspension with stiff springs and shock absorbers, firmer anti-roll bars and mountings, and an active exhaust system that opens up the second valve at higher speeds and temperatures.
All these additions help the 128ti sit 10mm lower – at 1,434mm tall – and come in at 80kg lighter – at 1,515kg – when compared to the standard variants.
The dynamic set-up allows the hot hatch to sprint from 0-100km/h in 6.3 seconds – making it 0.1 second faster than the new VW Golf 8 GTI.
The BMW 128ti went on sale in South Africa in April, at a starting price of R687,418.
This price includes a 5-year/100,000km BMW motorplan.
BMW 128ti – Photos
Photos of the 128ti at BMW Midrand are shown below.