BMW 128ti sales off to a strong start in 2021

BMW's take on front-wheel-drive hot hatches threatens to disrupt experienced players in the market

BMW 128ti


  • 188 units of the FWD hot hatch sold by the end of April
  • Currently outselling Civic Type R and Megane RS
  • Sales creeping up to rivals Focus ST and i30 N

The BMW 128ti, the German brand’s first ever front-wheel-drive performance hatchback, has made a promising start to its attempt to take on the Golf GTI segment.

BMW’s new, mid-range variant accounts for one in five 1 Series sales so far locally in 2021 – outselling rivals such as the Honda Civic Type R and Renault Megane RS despite its status as the market’s most expensive front-drive hot-hatch.

With 188 128ti models sold to the end of April, the $56,900 BMW is also understood to be tracking closely to sales of both the Hyundai i30 N and Ford Focus ST performance hatches priced from below $45,000.

2021 BMW 128ti

“We were excited about the 128ti as soon as it was announced, and we’re delighted it has resonated so strongly with our customers since local introduction earlier this year,” said a BMW Australia spokesperson.

“It’s conceptually an ideal hot-hatch for the performance-loving Australian market.”

The 128ti revives the Turismo Internazionale badging first used in a sporting context in the 1960s, though later applied to stubbier, hatchback versions of the 3 Series in the 1990s and 2000s.

BMW 128ti

For now, it is still outsold by the range-dominant 118i which starts from $47,900, as well as the range-topping M135i xDrive, which is priced from $65,900 and features all-wheel drive and a 225kW 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine.

The BMW 128ti also employs a 2.0-litre turbo petrol, but it instead puts 180kW and 380Nm to the front wheels – also via an eight-speed auto.

This matches it almost perfectly to its primary market target, the eighth-generation Volkswagen Golf GTI launching in June. The GTI produces 180kW and 370Nm from its 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine and the models share a quoted 0-100km acceleration time of 6.3 seconds.

Initial local demand for the BMW 128ti, which includes M Sport suspension, M Sport brakes, Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres and a Torsen limited-slip front differential among its sporty features, means it hasn’t yet been available for media test drives.


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