Wednesday, January 20, 2021
News The 128ti is BMW's Answer to the Hot Hatch Question

The 128ti is BMW’s Answer to the Hot Hatch Question

Thanks to turbo power and limited-slip, the BMW 128ti is a Bavarian hot hatch

  • 265 hp, front-drive, Torsen limited-slip

  • Red trim standard, running to redline optional


The BMW ti models have always been slightly odd, at least once you moved past the now-ancient 2002 models. We’re talking the hatchback versions of the 3 Series that used newer noses and older rears to give the company a more affordable model. Now, though, it’s something better. A hotter version of the BMW 1 Series hot hatch that gives BMW a competitor for the likes of the Volkswagen GTI and the Honda Civic Si.

BMW starts the new 129i off with shadowline trim or the front grille and headlights and offers an M Sport trim that puts a red surround on the front air curtains, red on the side skirts, and a cool retro 2002-style ti script just ahead of the rear wheels.

But this is more than just a trim package, BMW has given it some real changes that drivers are sure to love. Like a new steering setup exclusive to the ti, along with a 10mm lower M Sport suspension tuning that gives it the stiffer roll-bars and mounting bits from the M135i, the same larger M Sport brakes, and no-charge Michelin Pilot Sport 4 performance tires.

The only gearbox is an eight-speed automatic, and it’s connected to a 265 hp version of the 2.0L turbo-four that’s in the M135i. What really makes it special is a Torsen limited-slip differential connecting the front wheels for optimal traction.

While less powerful than the 305 hp M135i, and driving just the front wheels, the 128ti is 80 kilos lighter than the M135i, which, much like the differences between Golf GTI and Golf R, should help make the ti model more fun to drive.

Inside, it’s also well adorned sporting ti-logo embroidery, loads of hot-hatch red trim, and standard sport seats.

The ti, or Turismo Internazionale, starts from €41,574.79 (CAD 65,000) in Germany, including tax, and goes to market next month.

 

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