October 24, 2020

Wheels & Tyes | Driver Magazine Australia

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Future Models – BMW – 1 Series – 128ti


BMW Australia has detailed most of the key features and specifications of the Bavarian brand’s newest hot hatchback, the 128ti, with the big news being the confirmation of its 180kW/380Nm outputs – some 15kW down on the European-spec cars.

 

While local pricing is yet to be revealed, BMW Australia also confirmed a first quarter 2021 arrival for the hi-po little five-door, a move which should see it in showrooms around the same time as the eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf GTI.

 

As previously reported by GoAuto, the 128ti is BMW’s first attempt at a front-wheel-drive hot hatch offering and will enter a market not previously explored by the premium brand.

 

Powered by a detuned version of the flagship M135i xDrive’s turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, the 128ti develops its 180kW of power between 5000-6500rpm while all of the 380Nm of torque is on tap from 1500-4400rpm.

 

As previously mentioned, these figures are down on the European-spec cars which develop a meatier 195kW/400Nm and place the Australia-bound cars bang on par with the Golf GTI, but behind most of the segment’s heavy hitters including the Ford Focus ST (206kW/420Nm), Honda Civic Type R (224kW/400Nm) and updated Hyundai i30 N (206kW/392Nm).

 

BMW Australia would not be drawn into revealing the specifics of the power deficit, instead citing market configurations and segment positioning.

 

“BMW Australia’s 128ti is especially configured for our market and its position in the segment,” the brand said in a statement.

 

Nevertheless, the 128ti will dash from 0-100km/h in 6.3 seconds and push on to a top speed of 243km/h.

 

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 devoid of the M nomenclature, BMW is marketing the 128ti 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.

 

As a result, the 128ti is underpinned by a range of parts rummaged from the M Sport parts bins, including lowered M Sport suspension, BMW Performance Control (torque vectoring), firmer anti-roll bars and pre-tensed anti-roll bar mounts taken straight from the M135i, as well as stiffer springs and shock absorbers.

 

Likewise, the sports steering system has been given its own bespoke tune to match the front-wheel-drive set-up while four-pot M Sport brakes have also been fitted as standard.

 

The 360x30mm ventilated front discs and 300x20mm rears are mounted behind a set of unique 18-inch Y-spoke M alloy wheels which, like the European cars, can be had wrapped in 225/40 sports rubber for no extra cost.

 

Visually, the 128ti can be singled out by its red air intake covers, air curtain trim and rear air vents as well as the previously mentioned alloy wheels.

 

Six colour schemes will be offered, four of which – Storm Bay metallic, Mineral Grey metallic, Sapphire Black metallic and Alpine White – are complemented by red side skirt trim and ‘ti’ badging.

 

Examples ordered with the Melbourne Red metallic or Misano Blue metallic finishes meanwhile will ship with black accents and ‘ti’ badging.

 

At the rear, the ‘128ti’ badging is finished in chrome, complemented nicely by the dual chrome exhaust tips measuring 90mm in diameter.

 

The sporty theme and red highlights are continued inside the cabin too with an abundance of contrasting red stitching against the black upholstery, including the ‘ti’ badging stitched into the centre armrest.

 

In a statement release when news of the 128ti first broke, BMW said the new offering was aimed at “a particularly young target group with a focus on typical BMW driving pleasure”.

 

“The new BMW 128ti is much more than just a new BMW 1 Series variant,” the statement read.

 

“In addition to many differentiating exterior and interior features, the entire suspension and steering were specifically tuned to offer extremely sporty and driver-oriented driving dynamics.”

 

Standard equipment on the local cars is yet to be finalised however some of the key features include an M Sport steering wheel, M door sill strips, M seatbelts, 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen, digital instrument cluster and a 9.2-inch BMW head-up display.

 

Boost space is officially pegged at 380 litres and expands to 1200L with the rear seats folded flat.

 

BMW has sold 1853 examples of the 1 Series so far this year ending September, accounting for 17.2 per cent of the $40,000-plus small car segment behind the Mercedes-Benz A-Class (4796/44.4 per cent) and Audi A3 (1964/18.2%).

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