New BMW 128ti to take on VW Golf with 261bhp

The new BMW 128ti revives the brand’s famous ‘ti’ badge after a 15-year hiatus

This is the new BMW 128ti. It’s the German brand’s latest offering in the highly competitive hot hatchback market and will go head to head with the Mk8 Volkswagen Golf GTI and the recently revised Hyundai i30 N. It revives BMW’s famous ‘ti’ badge following a hiatus of more than 15 years. 

The 128ti is available to order from November, with prices expected to start from around £33,000. First deliveries are due at the beginning of 2021.

Under the bonnet, it features the same turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that’s found in the MINI John Cooper Works – although power rises from 227bhp and 320Nm of torque in that car to 261bhp and 400Nm. BMW says the added grunt is enough to propel the hot hatchback from 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds and on to an electronically limited top speed of 155mph.

Unlike with BMW’s flagship 1 Series, the four-wheel-drive M135i, the 128ti’s engine sends power to the front wheels only – although it does retain the same eight-speed automatic gearbox. In an effort to minimise torque steer, BMW has also added a Torsen mechanical limited-slip differential, which the company says will improve traction by directing power to the wheel with the most grip.

To support the new powertrain, BMW has fitted a host of chassis upgrades, including four-piston monoblock M Sport brakes, lowered suspension, stiffer anti-roll bars and stickier Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres. What’s more, engineers have also shaved 80kg off the hatchback’s kerbweight when compared with the M135i, in an effort to improve handling and acceleration.

There are also a few subtle styling tweaks that mark out the 128ti from the rest of the line-up. A more aggressive bodykit and wider side skirts are included, as well as a new front splitter, a carbon-fibre rear diffuser and red accents on the bumpers. The mirror caps are also made from lacquered carbon fibre, while buyers can choose from either 18-inch or 19-inch alloy wheels.

The cosmetic overhaul continues inside, with an Alcantara M Sport steering wheel, figure-hugging bucket seats, stainless-steel pedals, M Sport tread plates, branded seat belts and unique graphics for the car’s digital gauge cluster and infotainment system. Finally, a 9.2-inch head-up display can be specced as an optional extra.

What does the new BMW 128ti have to beat? These are the best hot hatchbacks on sale right now...

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