The new BMW 128ti launches in South Africa in March 2021. To celebrate this occasion, the local BMW chapter hosted a proper photoshoot of the hot hatch. The BMW 128ti breathes new life into a long tradition at BMW. Since the 1960s the “TI” (later “ti”) badge has stood for “Turismo Internazionale” and marks out particularly sporty models – from the iconic BMW 1800 TI and BMW 2002 TI to the BMW 323ti Compact and BMW 325ti Compact of the late 1990s.

It Gets The M135i’s DNA

It is not meant as a replacement of the top model M135i, but rather a more affordable choice without sacrificing the driving experience. The 128ti comes with a specially tuned M Sport suspension (lowered by 10 millimeters), a Torsen limited-slip differential and a revised steering system. Furthermore, the BMW 128ti carries over the firmer anti-roll bars and anti-roll bar mounts with high preload from the BMW M135i xDrive. As we’ve seen in our test drive, the stiffer springs and shock absorbers adapted accordingly provide excellent driving dynamics. In addition, the front-wheel-drive 128ti is around 80 kilograms lighter than 135i.

Under the hood lies a 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine making 262 horsepower versus 302 hp from the M135i xDrive. The engine connects to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The 128ti gets to 62 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour) in 6.3 seconds.

A Striking Exterior and Interior

Visually, the 128ti stands out with its M Sport braking system with red-painted brake calipers along with the 18-inch Y‑spoke 553 M bi-color light-alloy wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S. Furthermore, the 128ti gets covers and trim moldings, side skirts and a “ti” badge in a red color. If the BMW 128ti is ordered with the Melbourne Red or Misano Blue metallic paint finishes, the accents and “ti” badge (which can be deleted, if desired) come in black.

The interior also contains a host of red accents, including a large Race Red surface in the backrests of the standard sport seats, the embroidered “ti” badge in the central armrest and contrast stitching in the other armrests, door panels and instrument panels. The steering wheel rim and airbag cover in the M Sport steering wheel feature red stitching.

To see more of the 128ti, click the photo gallery below.