BMW 128ti Hot Hatch Looks to Challenge the GTI, Veloster N

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Yes, we do ramble on a lot about cool cars we don’t get here in the United States. Can you blame us, though? There are dozens of wagons, trucks, and vans we wish we could drive (and possibly own) that simply aren’t sold here. One such car is the new BMW 128ti that just entered the final phase of its development, which included laps around the famed Nurburgring.  Interestingly, it’s the first time BMW’s used the “touring international” badge in more than 15 years.

The new 128ti is going the sportiest version of the run-of-the-mill 1 Series. After that, you’ll need to spend the case for an M-branded model, such as the M135i xDrive. Normally another 1 Series wouldn’t be the most interesting thing. But consider this: The 128ti is a front-wheel-drive hatchback with a newly developed 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. It makes 265 hp. That’s more than the Volkswagen Golf GTI and just 10 fewer ponies than the pocket-rocket Hyundai Veloster N.

With all that power, the 128ti should be able to sprint to 60 mph in just 6.1 seconds, per BMW. The engine isn’t the only thing that’s been tweaked, though. There’s also a Torsen limited-slip differential up front, while the springs, dampers, and steering have all been tuned to make the little 1 Series handle that much better. Plus, the 128ti is more than 160 pounds lighter than its M-badged all-wheel-drive sibling.

BMW also takes the brakes of the M135i and puts them on the 128ti. A sticker set of rubber is available, too. BMW doesn’t note which tires the 128ti employs, but the M135i xDrive runs Pirelli P Zeros. It wouldn’t surprise us if that rubber shows up on this Bimmer hot hatch. So sticky tires, a stout engine, less weight, better brakes, new uprated suspension, and front-wheel driver. No doubt, BMW’s made a proper hot hatch we’d definitely like to get a hold of. Sigh. It’s just another fun little car we’ll have to admire from afar.



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