Back when BMW announced it would be making the new 128ti, a simpler, more driver-focused version of the 1 Series, we thought that it had the chance to be the best driving version of this new 1 Series. In this new review from Top Gear, not only is the new BMW 128ti considered to be the best new 1 Series but potentially even better than the new Volkswagen GTI. Is that even possible?

VW Group haters can’t see past their own brand partisanship but the GTI has always been the best all-around daily driver and the previous-gen Mk7 GTI was about as close to perfect as cars can get. However, this new Mk8 model has actually drawn a bit of criticism from fans and enthusiasts for losing a bit of its magic and having a frustrating interior. So with the BMW 128ti providing some surprisingly good hot-hatch dynamics, it might be able to take down the mighty GTI.

Make no mistake, the new BMW 128ti isn’t some hooligan hot-hatch, like a Ford Fiesta ST or a Hyundai i30 (Veloster) N. It’s more mature, more refined than that. However, it’s still surprisingly fun to drive. It boasts sharp steering, almost no torque steer/understeer, a near-perfect suspension setup (which is bespoke to the 128ti) and a pugnacious little four-cylinder engine.

According to Top Gear, you can tell that BMW had one very specific benchmark for the 128ti — the Volkswagen GTI. In fact, TG says it’s never driven a car that wasn’t a GTI, yet felt so much like a GTI. BMW purists might find that to be heretical, however the GTI has been the king of premium hot-hatches since its debut and Volkswagen is far more experienced in making such cars. So the fact that BMW can match, and potentially even beat, such an accomplished car is a massive feat. We only wish we could get the BMW 128ti in the U.S.

[Source: Top Gear]