Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring

WATCH: BMW 128ti takes on VW Golf 8 GTI in hot hatch shootout

Will the audacious front-wheel-drive BMW have enough grunt to usurp South Africa’s most popular badge?

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Finally. The Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI takes on the BMW 128ti in a hot hatch battle for the ages.

The battlelines were drawn back in February when BMW rolled out the 128ti in a bold bid to usurp the Golf GTI as South Africa’s fastest hot hatch. But with the Golf 7.5 GTI all but sold out at the time, it took a painstaking six months for the latest reincarnation for the latest version of Mzansi’s favourite model to make it local arrival.

Powered by a 180kW/370Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, the Golf 8 GTI’s claimed 0 to 100 km/h time is 6.4 seconds. But Road Test Editor Mark Jones managed to record a best sprint time of 5.88 seconds during his high-performance test at Gerotek earlier this month. This surprisingly quick time put the 128ti under huge pressure right from the get-go.

ALSO READ: Golf 8 GTI even faster than what Volkswagen is telling us

The BMW 128ti certainly fits the bill as a worthy rival to the Golf 8 GTI, with its aggressive styling and competitive price two standout features during its launch. It is powered by a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine and has a similar 180 kW power output to the Golf 8 GTI. It makes 10 Nm more torque than the VW’s 370 Nm.

The BMW’s grunt is sent to the front wheels via an eight-speed Steptronic transmission, with the GTI’s mill hooked up to seven-speed DSG. BMW claims that the 128ti can reach 100 km/h from a standstill in 6.3 seconds. Before we had actual test data, this was 0.1 faster than the Golf 8 GTI. Now that we do have data on the Golf, the BMW will have its work cut out if it wants to dethrone the king.

We are processing the test results and reveal all in the next few days.

For more information on the BMW 128ti, click here.

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