BMW 128ti takes on Golf GTI head on

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BMW has unveiled the 128ti, a model targeting the legendary Golf GTI


The Golf GTI is all about being an all-round hot-hatch and the 128ti will have to ensure it ticks all the “GTI” boxes to entice buyers away from the Wolfsburg hatch. Starting off with the looks, the 128ti comes standard with the M-Sport design, red accents on the lower air intakes (maybe a hint to the GTIs red stripe on the grille). The trapezoidal grille is retained and finished in polished black with the centre lower air intake also finished in polished black. LED lights come standard whilst Lasertech lights are an option.

On the side, M-Sport skirts are finished in red (black if the body colour is red) with ti badge ahead of the rear wheels. Rear-view mirrors are finished in black. The wheels come in 18inch size front and rear. The rear gets twin tail-pipes placed either of a faux diffuser. LED tail lamps are retained from the M135i whilst the sporty spoiler adds aggression at the rear.

Inside, the 128ti gets red accents around the cabin starting with the Sports seat, dash and centre console. BMWs iDrive takes pride of place in the dashboard whilst the armrest gets ti decals in red stitching.

The multi-function M-Sport steering wheel comes standard whilst the instrument cluster is digital. Rear seats also get red stitching.

Power comes from a 195kW/400Nm 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine that drives the front wheels via an 8-speed Steptronic Sport transmission linked to a locking differential. 0-100km/h is claimed at 6.1 seconds with top speed limited at 250km/h. Based on the above figures alone, the 128ti seems to have a head start against the 8 GTI as the GTI gets 180kW/370Nm and does the 0-100km/h sprint in 6.4 seconds also topping at 250km/h. The GTI though has suprised with how it puts that power down and BMW have given the 128ti a sports suspension set up that can vary in modes depending on driver feel (Eco, Normal, Sport and Sport+).

The 128ti is definitely coming to Mzansi in 2021 so go place your order at your nearest BMW dealer but again remember the Golf 8 GTI is also coming in the first quarter 2021. Let the hot hatch battles begin.