New front-wheel-drive BMW 128ti hot hatch revealed: price, specs and release date

March 22, 2021 by

The new BMW 128ti has been revealed as the brand’s first-ever front-wheel-drive performance car. Read on for full details.

  • New 128ti revealed
  • Front-wheel drive only
  • Red exterior trim
  • Sporty interior upgrades
  • Limited-slip differential
  • 265hp 2.0-litre engine
  • Costs from £32,995
  • On sale now

The BMW 128ti is the first true alternative to the VW Golf GTI BMW has ever made. This 265hp front-wheel-drive hot hatch costs from £32,995, and is now on sale.

The new BMW 128ti is based on the 1 Series M Sport model.

2021 BMW 128ti design

At a glance, the new BMW 128ti looks very similar to the standard BMW 1 Series in M Sport trim. BMW has added a few red trims around the air intakes in the front bumper and on the side skirts, however, along with some ‘ti’ badging under the back doors.

These 18-inch alloy wheels and red decals are unique to the 128ti.

The 18-inch alloy wheels are exclusive to the new 128ti model, and the new car comes with lowered suspension and dark-coloured mirror caps and grille inserts as standard. You also get a set of 90mm chrome exhaust tips and the standard alongside the 1 Series’ optional M Sport brakes with a bright red finish on the callipers.

The new BMW 128ti gets a 265hp 2.0-litre petrol engine. 

2021 BMW 128ti engine and driving

The BMW 128ti comes with a 265hp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. This power is sent to the front wheels through the same eight-speed automatic gearbox as the MINI Clubman JCW.

The 128ti is BMW’s first front-wheel-drive performance model. 

To help maximise grip when you accelerate hard, the new BMW 128ti comes with a limited-slip differential and sticky Michelin Pilot Sport tyres as standard. The 128ti’s anti-rollbars are stiffer than in the standard 1 Series and the springs have been stiffened, too – all to help stop it leaning in tight corners. Thanks to its simpler front-wheel-drive layout, the new 128ti is around 80kg lighter than the four-wheel drive M135i.

BMW says the new 128ti will accelerate from zero to 60mph in 6.1 seconds. That’s 0.2 seconds faster than the new VW Golf GTI, which completes the same sprint in 6.3 seconds, but 1.3 seconds slower than the four-wheel-drive BMW M135i.

Red highlights are the biggest change for the 128ti’s interior.

New BMW 128ti interior

There are plenty of sporty upgrades inside to help the new BMW 128ti’s interior stand out from the standard 1 Series. You get a set of supportive sports seats with red backrest trim, a red ‘ti’ logo embossed on the armrest and a load of bright red stitching on the doors, dashboard and steering wheel. Spotted a theme yet?

The new BMW 128ti costs from £32,995

New BMW 128ti price and release date

The new BMW 128ti is now on sale and costs from £32,995. That’s approximately £500 less than the new Volkswagen Golf GTI and around £4,500 less than the BMW M135i. If you fancy spending more, you’ll be able to pay extra for a set of carbon-fibre M Performance upgrades including bumper trims, mirror caps and a rear spoiler.

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