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2021 BMW 128ti pricing and specs detailed: New Hyundai i30 N and Volkswagen Golf GTI rival takes hot-hatch battle to next level

Australian examples of the 128ti will be less powerful than their European counterparts.

BMW Australia has confirmed its new hot hatch, the front-wheel-drive 128ti, will enter showrooms in the first quarter of next year with a tempting price tag.

The automatic-only 128ti is priced from $56,900 plus on-road costs, making it more affordable than BMW’s other hot hatch, the all-wheel-drive M135i, which starts from $64,900.

Compared to a couple of mainstream equivalents, the manual-only Hyundai i30 N ($41,400) and automatic-only Volkswagen Golf GTI ($47,190), the 128ti is significantly more expensive, owing to its premium positioning.

That said, both the i30 N and Golf GTI are expected to increase in price when their respective facelifted and new-generation models go on sale in the first half of 2021, with the former set to add a more comparable automatic option.

As reported, Australian examples of the 128ti will be less powerful than their European counterparts, with their 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine producing 180kW/380Nm instead of 195kW/400Nm.

  • 2021 BMW 128ti 2021 BMW 128ti
  • 2021 BMW 128ti 2021 BMW 128ti
  • 2021 BMW 128ti 2021 BMW 128ti
  • 2021 BMW 128ti 2021 BMW 128ti

For reference, the 225kW/450Nm M135i, 202kW/378Nm i30 N and 180kW/370Nm Golf GTI are all powered by similar units that aren’t detuned locally.

Mated to the same eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission (with paddle-shifters) as the M135i that weights about 80kg more, the Australian-market 128ti sprints from a standstill to 100km/h in 6.3 seconds while on the way to its top speed of 243km/h.

The 128ti is fitted with a Torsen limited-slip differential to improve front-end grip during cornering, while handling is also improved by lowered sports suspension (-10mm) and a bespoke steering tune over the regular 1 Series.

Furthermore, the 128ti gets its sports brakes from the M135i, although its red callipers are a first for any 1 Series variant. A unique set of two-tone 18-inch alloy wheels with sticky 225/40 Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres are also fitted.

Speaking of a certain colour, red trim features throughout the 128ti, including on its front air intakes, side skirts, ‘ti’ decals, steering wheel, seats, dashboard, door panels and floor mats.

That said, the exterior accents are black if its optioned with Melbourne Red or Misano Blue paintwork. Either way, the signature ‘kidney’ grille and side-mirror caps are finished in black.

Other standard equipment includes adaptive LED headlights, keyless entry and start, a 10.25-inch touchscreen multimedia system, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 9.2-inch head-up display, dual-zone climate control and cloth/Sensatec leather upholstery.

Four option packages are available, including the $3000/$3700 Enhancement 1/2 Package (metallic/Storm Bay metallic paintwork, panoramic sunroof and adaptive cruise control with stop and go functionality), $1300 Convenience Package (power-operated tailgate, boot storage net and ski port), and $1023 Comfort Package (heated steering wheel and front seats with lumbar support).