The new BMW 128ti hot hatch will be detuned for the South African market, with its peak power output dropping from 195 kW to a VW Golf 8 GTI-matching 180 kW.

How did we come across such information? Well, BMW told CarAdvice.com.au that the Australian-spec version of the new 128ti would generate less power and torque than the European-spec model. So, we headed to BMW South Africa’s website and found technical specifications confirming the same detune will apply to our market.

While the turbocharged 2,0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine – itself detuned from the 225 kW unit in the M135i xDrive – will offer 195 kW (from 4 750 to 6 500 r/min) and 400 N.m (between 1 750 and 4 500 r/min) in European markets, our local version will make 180 kW (between 5 000 and 6 500 r/min) and 380 N.m (from 1 500 to 4 400 r/min).

As a result, the listed top speed falls from 250 km/h to 243 km/h, while the 0-100 km/h sprint time slows from a claimed 6,1 seconds to some 6,3 seconds. As a reminder, the newcomer is fitted as standard with an eight-speed Steptronic Sport transmission with paddle shifters.

The reason for this detune is not entirely clear, though the lower peak outputs do see the front-driven 128ti line up rather neatly with the Volkswagen Golf 8 GTI, which offers 180 kW and 370 N.m ... unless it ends up being detuned for SA, too. Like the Golf 8 GTI, the new 128ti is scheduled to hit local roads in the first quarter of 2021.