UPDATE: BMW South Africa has confirmed the 128ti for South Africa from the first quarter of next year. No pricing has however been announced
Following its sighting for the first time last month, BMW has officially detailed its first front-wheel-drive hot hatch in the shape of the 128ti.
Reviving the iconic ti designation famously used on the 2002ti and more recently on the E36 and E46 3 Series Compact, Munich’s answer to the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Hyundai i30 N retains the 2.0-litre turbocharged engine from the all-wheel-drive M135i, but with power and torque outputs lowered from 225kW/450Nm to 195kW/400Nm. Mated only to the sports optimised eight-speed Steptronic gearbox, the 128ti will get from 0-100 km/h in 6.1 seconds and hit the electronic speed buffers at 250 km/h while consuming unleaded at a claimed 6.4 L/100 km.
In terms of aesthetics, the 128ti rides as standard on 18-inch Y-spoke bi-colour light alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres, while also receiving high gloss black detailing as part of the standard M Sport pack, red Air Curtains on the flanks of the front bumper, base of the door sills and on the rear bumper, a black grille and mirror caps as part of the optional Shadowline pack, dual exhausts integrated into the diffuser and a choice of six colours; Alpine White, Sapphire Black Metallic, Storm Bay Metallic, Mineral Grey Metallic, Misano Blue Metallic and Melbourne Red Metallic, the latter pair resulting in the ti badging being black instead of red.
Optionally available with 18-inch Jet Black double-spoke M Performance alloy or 19-inch double-spoke M light alloys, the removal of the all-wheel-drive system, amongst others, has resulted in a 80 kg weight drop over the M135i with further revisions underneath being the inclusion of a mechanical Torsen limited slip differential, a 10 mm ride height drop, stiffer springs and shock absorbers, standard fitting of the M Sport suspension, upgraded anti-roll bars and a front-wheel-drive tuned stability control system.
Stopping power is provided by the standard M Sport brakes which utilise a four-piston aluminium monoblock fixed calipers setup at the front and single floating at the rear, with the calipers themselves being red, a 1 Series first, and the discs measuring 360 mm at the front and 300 mm at the rear.
Unique touches inside include sport seats in perforated black, black/blue, Magma Red/grey Dakota leather, the optional M Sport seats trimmed in Magma Red or black Dakota leather or Trigon/Sensatec faux leather with M badged headrests, the M Performance steering wheel in carbon/Alcantara or carbon/leather with red 12 o’clock marking and carbon gear shift paddles.
In addition, the interior further comes with red ti decals on the centre armrest, door panels, floor mats and instrument panel, M door sills and seatbelts and the optional Live Cockpit Profession that consists of the 10.25-inch iDrive infotainment system with 7.0 operating system and gesture control, the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and colour Heads-Up Display.
In Europe, sales kick-off next month with a starting price of €41 574 (R811 677) in Germany before options.