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BMW prices new 128ti from $56,900 plus ORCs

BMW’s new front-wheel-drive 128ti asks Golf R money for GTI performance

1 Dec 2020

THE front-wheel-drove hot hatch segment is about to get one of the biggest shakeups in recent memory as BMW prepares to launch its new 128ti, with the new Bavarian front-driver set to enter showrooms early next year priced from $56,900 plus on-road costs.


That base asking price catapults the 128ti almost straight to the top of the segment price tables, commanding an extra $1910 over the rabid Honda Civic Type R ($54,990) and a hefty $5110 over the Renault Megane RS Sport ($51,790).


Crucially though, the 128ti is priced almost $10,000 clear of the current Volkswagen Golf GTI ($47,190), the next generation of which – also due here early next year – has been touted by many as the BMW’s biggest and most logical rival.


At first glance however it seems the newcomer could be on the back foot from the get go with the only on-paper advantage afforded by the $9710 price premium over the Golf being an extra 10Nm of torque.


Power and torque in the 128ti come from a detuned version of the flagship M135i xDrive’s turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine which develops 180kW between 5000-6500rpm and 380Nm of torque from 1500-4400rpm.


These outputs put the 128ti towards the bottom of the segment standings in terms of power – the Focus ST, Civic Type R, i30 N and Megane RS all surpass the 200kW mark – while the claimed 6.3-second dash from 0-100km/h matches the Mk8 Golf GTI to the tenth.


As previously mentioned, drive is sent exclusively to the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission while a Torsen limited slip differential keeps the front end in check through the bends.


While not a fully-fledged M or M-Performance car, the 128ti is pitched by BMW as a genuine performance hatch with the ‘ti’ badging standing for ‘Turismo Internazionale’, a nameplate first seen in the early 1960s adorning the sportier model variants.


To make it as dynamically competent as possible, engineers rummaged through the M Sport parts bins and have fitted the 128ti with lowered M Sport suspension, BMW Performance Control (torque vectoring), firmer anti-roll bars and pre-tensed anti-roll bar mounts as well as stiffer springs and shock absorbers.


The sports steering system has been given its own bespoke tune to match the front-wheel-drive set-up while four-piston M Sport brakes have been fitted as standard, acting on 360x30mm ventilated front and 300x20mm rear discs.


Rolling stock meanwhile comes courtesy of a set of unique 18-inch Y-spoke M alloy wheels which can be had wrapped in stickier 225/40 sports tyres for no extra cost.


To ensure the world knows exactly which 1 Series is on the road, the 128ti brandishes a set of unique styling cues including red air intake covers, air curtain trim and rear air vents, not to mention the blacked-out kidney grille and unique ‘ti’ badging adorning the rear tailgate and side skirts.


The sporty theme continues on the inside too with a black interior accentuated by red stitching and highlights, with standard equipment including cloth and Sensatec upholstery, Comfort Access System, M seat belts, M leather steering wheel, velour floor mats, electric seat adjustment, 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen, digital instrument cluster, 9.2-inch BMW head-up display, adaptive LED headlights with high-beam assist, dual-zone climate control, M rear spoiler and BMW Individual high-gloss Shadow Line with extended content.


Those wanting more from their 128ti can opt to include a number of enhancement, comfort and convenience packages which add items like a panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control, premium paint and seat heating, with each pack commanding up to $3700 on top of the vehicle purchase price.


BMW Australia has sold 1963 1 Series’ so far this year ending October, enough to secure it third place (16.7% share) in the $40,000-plus small car segment behind the Mercedes-Benz A-Class (43.8%) and Audi A3 (19.6%).


2021 BMW 1 Series pricing*

118i (a) $46,990
128ti (a) $56,900
M135i xDrive Pure (a) $64,990
M135i xDrive (a) $69,990

*Excludes on-road costs

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