BMW's 268-HP Front-Wheel-Drive 128ti Is a Full-Fledged Hot Hatch

Brian Silvestro
·2 mins read
Photo credit: BMW
Photo credit: BMW

From Road & Track

BMW has always been known for building expertly balanced and fun front-engine, rear-drive enthusiast sedans and coupes. But it's newest performance car isn't a two- or four-door, and it doesn't even send power to the rear wheels. It's a front-wheel-drive hatchback with 262 horsepower called the 128ti. Yep, BMW built a proper hot hatch.

The 128ti is meant to slot right below the range-topping M135i xDrive in BMW's European 1-Series lineup. Under the hood sits a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four making 268 horsepower, sending power exclusively to the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox and a Torsen-type mechanical limited-slip differential. The company says it can sprint to 62 mph in just 6.1 seconds.

Supporting the drivetrain upgrades are retuned suspension and steering systems, as well as M sport brakes and a 0.4-inch lower ride height. Thanks to the lack of all-wheel drive, BMW says the 128ti is over 176 pounds lighter than its more expensive M135i sibling, meaning it should feel lighter on its feet. Sticky summer tires are available as a no-cost option for those who want to extract the most performance from the car.

Interestingly, this is the first time BMW has used the "ti" designation for one of its cars since the 3-Series Compact, which went out of production in 2004.

Unfortunately, like the rest of the current 1-Series lineup, BMW has no plans to import the 128ti into the U.S., a spokesperson confirmed to Road & Track. The closest thing you'll be able to find at your local dealership is is the 2-Series Gran Coupe.

Do you think BMW should bring the 128ti to America? Would you spend your hard-earned cash on a front-wheel drive BMW? Let us know in the comments below.

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