BMW has confirmed it is entering the front-driven hot hatch space, with its upcoming 128ti set to take on the likes of the Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI.

The Munich-based firm says the new model is in its “final test phase”, with a special focus on “dynamic handling characteristics”. Interestingly, it doesn't appear to be classed as an M Performance variant.

Set to hit the market as early as November 2020, the 128ti will slot into the 1 Series range below the all-paw M135i xDrive (which takes on the Golf R). Like that model, the newcomer will employ BMW’s turbocharged 2,0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine, although here it will be detuned from the M135i’s 225 kW to some 195 kW.

With an eight-speed automatic transmission the only gearbox on offer, the German company says the obligatory sprint from zero to 100 km/h will take 6,1 seconds (some 1,3 seconds slower than the all-wheel-drive M135i). The 128ti will be around 80 kg lighter than the M135i.

BMW says the suspension and steering systems were “specifically tuned to offer extremely sporty and driver-oriented” dynamics, while a Torsen limited-slip differential will be included, too. The standard M sport suspension will include a 10 mm drop in ride height.