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New BMW 128ti 2021 confirmed for Australia as next Volkswagen Golf GTI rival

A new 195kW 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder will drive the front wheels in the BMW 128ti.

BMW Australia has confirmed it will expand its 1 Series line-up with the perky, front-drive 128ti hot hatch due to land in the first quarter next year to take the fight to the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Hyundai i30 N.

Slotting in below the 225kW/450Nm all-wheel-drive M135i xDrive, the 128ti will use a newly-developed 2.0-litre TwinPower turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine outputting 195kW to the front axle for a zero-to-100km/h run in just 6.1 seconds.

While torque figures are yet to be revealed as the 128ti enters its final testing phase, BMW’s latest hot hatch matches up against the 206kW Ford Focus ST, 202kW Hyundai i30 N and incoming 180kW/370Nm VW Golf GTI.

With the aforementioned M135i xDrive (which starts at $63,990 before on-road costs in Pure guise) left to take on premium all-paw rivals like the Audi S3 Sportback and Mercedes-AMG A35, expect pricing of the 128ti to be well under the $60,000 mark too.

Paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, fuel consumption in the 128ti comes in between 6.1-6.4 litres per 100km, while CO2 emissions are 139-148 grams per kilometre.

BMW says “a special focus lies on the dynamic handling characteristics … which has been consistently designed for active driving pleasure” and, to that end, a Torsen limited-slip differential is fitted.

Lowered M sport suspension will drop the 128ti 10mm compared to the standard 1 Series, while bespoke steering calibrations have also been made.

Stickier rubber and beefed up brakes, as well as unique exterior and interior touches complete the 128ti makeover, but full pricing and spec details for Australia will be revealed at a later date.