BMW 128ti challenges the Golf GTI, but not for Singapore

BMW has come up with its challenger to the Volkswagen Golf GTI, but the 128ti is not bound for Singapore

Photos: BMW


BMW is muscling in on the Volkswagen Golf GTI’s territory with its first ever front-wheel-drive hot hatchback, but the new 128ti is not expected to arrive on Singapore’s shores unfortunately.

A BMW Asia spokesperson said that there are ‘no plans’ to bring the 128ti here, adding that the brand will focus on the M135i as the 1 Series’ performance flagship locally.

The 128ti, which revives the TI (for Turismo International) badging for the first time over 20 years, is essentially a slightly less powerful M135i, with power sent to the front wheels instead of all four as on the M135i. But it is also 80kg lighter than the more powerful car, and BMW says that the 128ti will “focus on providing highly engaging driving pleasure”.

Power comes from the same 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder as the M135i, but detuned to produce 265hp and 400Nm of torque, down from 306hp and 450Nm on the flagship car. 0-100km/h comes up in 6.1 seconds, compared to the 4.8 seconds that the M135i can achieve.

An eight-speed automatic is the only transmission option for the 128ti, and the car also features a specially tuned M Sport suspension setup that sees it sit 10mm lower than a standard 1 Series. It also gets a specially tweaked steering, and a Torsen limited-slip differential to minimise understeer and enhance traction and stability at high speeds.

Aside from that, the 128ti carries over several components from the M135i, including firmer anti-roll bars, stiffer springs and shocks, and the brakes, which consist of 360mm discs and four-piston callipers at the front and 300mm discs with floating callipers at the rear.

As a performance-bred hatch, the 128ti also gets an M Sport styling package to distinguish it from lesser 1 Series models. Red features prominently on the front winglets, side skirts and brake callipers, and they can also be finished in black or the car’s body colour if requested. The car’s 18-inch alloy wheel design is also unique for the 128ti, while 19-inch two tone alloys are available as a cost option.

Inside, the 128ti features red stitching and accents on the seatbacks, armrests, instrument panel and floor mats, but is otherwise identical to a regular 1 Series.

European pricing for the 128ti naturally places it between the 120i and M135i, but as mentioned earlier, BMW Asia currently has no plans to offer the car for sale in Singapore.

about the author

Ben Chia
CarBuyer's senior staff writer went out to explore the Great Big World, including a stint working in China (despite his limited Mandarin). Now he's back, ready to foist upon you his takes on everything good and wonderful about the automotive world.