BMW is perhaps best known for building sports sedans. Whether it's the 3 Series or 5 Series, their four doors always had a bit of a sporting flair when you drive them. This time around, BMW is rolling out a different kind of car: a traditional hot hatchback.
In just a few months, BMW will be releasing the 128ti. But before we get to that, what exactly defines a traditional hot hatchback? If one sticks to the formula, a hot hatch must be front-wheel-drive only. That is what BMW did for the 128ti.
If anything, it's a bit of a throwback for BMW using the ti suffix. It was first used in the early '60s to denote the sporty models. Before the reveal of the 128ti, the 3 Series Compact was the last BMW to wear the ti badge with the 325ti from 2004.
With only two wheels sending power to the ground, the 128ti is up against Volkswagen Golf GTI, and one of the most potent front-drive hatchbacks out there, the Honda Civic Type R. Its 2.0-liter TwinPower Turbo engine is good for 265 PS. With that rating, it's not quite enough to topple the Type R, but it's 20 PS more than the all-new Golf GTI. Unfortunately, the 128ti isn't offered with a six-speed manual transmission.
According to BMW, the 128ti does the 0 to 100 km/h run in just 6.1 seconds. For comparison, the Civic Type R does the same task in 5.8 seconds, while the Volkswagen has yet to release performance claims for the all-new GTI. There are no top speed figures for now, but knowing BMW, it will likely be limited to 250 km/h.
The 128ti keeps that power on the road with a limited-slip differential, along with other electronic aids such as traction and stability control. This hot hatch also has specifically tuned M sport suspension that lowers the car by 10mm and adds BMW Performance Control. Bringing the car to a halt are large M Sport brakes on all corners.
As for the design, it looks tamer than the all-wheel-drive M135i xDrive. The bumper corners are smoother around the edges, and the rear gets a pair of vertical air outlets on each corner. It does come with dual exhaust pipes, which is a subtle clue to its performance intentions. The 128ti rides on a unique set of 10-spoke alloy wheels, and you won't see it anywhere else but on this model.
Given that BMW Philippines brings in high-performance versions of most of their cars, there is a good chance the 128ti will arrive here. While it's likely that it will be sold in limited numbers, it's not stopping us from being curious about it. If the distributor does bring it in, the only thing left to do is try it out.