BMW continues tradition with unveiling of 128ti

BMW takes on hot hatch segment with front-wheel drive BMW128ti

Reuben Van Niekerk
Hot Hatch

The BMW 128ti breathes new life into a long tradition at BMW, since the 1960s the ti badge has stood for Turismo Internazionale and has represented particularly sporty models, from the iconic BMW 1800 TI and BMW 2002 TI to the 323ti Compact and 325ti Compact of the late 90s. Now that tradition continues as BMW are set to launch the 128ti as their contender in the front wheel drive hot hatch segment.


Dynamic prowess

With its specially tuned M Sport suspension, which has been lowered by 10 millimetres, a Torsen limited-slip differential and a bespoke steering application, the exclusively front-wheel-drive compact sports model is focused squarely on highly engaging driving pleasure and is set to immediately be a strong contender in the popular hot hatch segment.


Fitting in the range between the 120i and the M135i xDrive the 128ti offers a dynamic front-wheel drive package that BMW hopes will attract younger customers to the brand as they search for a sporty front-wheel drive hatchback.


The 128ti inherits the firmer anti-roll bars and anti-roll bar mounts with high preload from the M135i xDrive. Stiffer springs and shock absorbers adapted accordingly provide excellent driving dynamics while the front-wheel-drive layout offers a weight saving of over 80 kilograms compared to the flagship model.


Going and slowing

The 2.0-litre engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo technology is a direct offshoot of the variant in the BMW m135i xDrive, BMW’s most powerful four-cylinder unit that develops 195kW and 400Nm and is coupled to the same eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission. BMW claim that this model can sprint form standstill to 100km/h in 6,1 seconds, on its way to a top an electronically limited top speed of 250km/h.


The standard M Sport braking system with red painted brake callipers provides the stopping power, while the 18-inch Y-spoke bi-colour light alloy wheels are reserved exclusively for this model. Sporty Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres can be specified as a no cost option.


The BMW 128ti looks the part thanks to distinguishing features inside and out. Using the M Sport model as a basis, specific covers and trim mouldings, side skirt trim and a ti badge complete the exterior.


Racy interior

The interior also contains a host of red accents including a large Race Red surface in the backrests of the standard sport seats, the embroidered ti badge in the central armrest and contrast stitching in the other armrests, door panels and instrument panels while the steering wheel rim and airbag cover of the M Sport steering wheel feature red stitching.


When will it be available?

The BMW 128ti is expected to arrive in South Africa in the first quarter of 2021.