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
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Snapshot

  • 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
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“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
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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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Jez Spinks
Journalist

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