The new BMW 128ti has been fully revealed, arriving as a front-wheel-drive hot hatch to rival the Volkswagen Golf GTI. BMW Group South Africa says it will be introduced locally in the first quarter of 2021.

Slotting into the 1 Series line-up below the all-paw M135i xDrive, the Munich-based firm bills the newcomer as an “unfiltered driving machine”. That “ti” badge, meanwhile, dates back to 1963 and stands for “Turismo Internazionale”.

Like the M135i, the 128ti employs BMW’s turbocharged 2,0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine, although here it has been detuned from 225 kW to some 195 kW, offered from 4 750 to 6 500 r/min. Peak torque of 400 N.m, meanwhile, is on tap from 1 750 to 4 500 r/min.

As a result, BMW says its new 128ti will hit 100 km/h from standstill in 6,1 seconds (some 1,3 seconds slower than the all-wheel-drive M135i) before topping out at an electronically limited 250 km/h. It is fitted as standard with an eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission with paddle shifters.

The German firm says the 128ti features “specific amplification of the authentic engine sound” in the cabin. It also gains “specially tuned” M Sport suspension (with a 10 mm drop in ride height) and a Torsen limited-slip differential.

Though not classified under the M Performance range, new 128ti ships standard on 18-inch Y-spoke 553 M bi-colour light-alloy wheels and is based on the M Sport specification but with special red exterior accents and gloss-black elements.

Inside, you’ll find yet more red trim, including on the backrests of the standard Sensatec/cloth sport seats. Red “ti” lettering, meanwhile, is stitched into the centre armrest while red contrast stitching abounds.

The standard kit list includes M pedals with stainless-steel caps, M door-sill strips up front and M seat belts, while the sport seats are available as an option in perforated Dakota leather (in black with blue accents or red with grey accents). M sport seats with integral head restraints and extendable seat surfaces are furthermore optionally offered.

Stopping power is provided by standard M Sport brakes, with callipers bearing the M logo at the front axle and painted red. Aluminium four-piston monoblock fixed callipers with 360 x 30 mm inner-vented discs are employed up front while floating callipers with inner-vented brake discs measuring 300 x 20 mm are found at the rear.