BMW now officially competes in the premium hot-hatch segment, with the newly released BMW 128ti. While BMW has had a premium, performance hatchback for about a decade now, starting with the original 1 Series hatchback, the Bavarian product was always a bit of an outsider in the segment, due to its rear-wheel drive layout. Now, though, the BMW 128ti sports front-wheel drive, a punchy engine, sharper steering than any other 1 Series, and a more pugnacious attitude than ever before. Which means that BMW now has to compete with the likes of the Volkswagen GTI.

Bimmer fans might scoff at the notion of BMW finally being able to compete with a Volkswagen but the GTI has long been the king of the hot-hatch segment and, all things considered, just about the best overall car in the world. The Volkswagen GTI, especially the Mk7 generation, has always been the best combination of performance, handling, comfort, practicality, quality, size, and price. Now, though, BMW has a shot at taking that title from the GTI, with its new 128ti.

In this new comparison test from Auto Express, we get to see what happens when the two aforementioned German hot-hatches compete head-to-head.

We won’t spoil the results from the comparison because it’s absolutely worth a read. I was genuinely surprised by what Auto Express found when comparing these two excellent cars. Both are very good and, in a lot of ways, both are very similar. They both use 2.0 liter turbocharged engines with similar power (261 horsepower for the BMW and 242 horsepower for the VW) and both hit 60 mph in similar times (6.1 seconds for BMW and 6.3 seconds for VW). Yet, they both have fundamental differences that make one a clear cut winner. Can the new rival from Munich take on the established king from Wolfsburg? Check out the new comparison to find out.

[Source: Auto Express]