It’s not often a company as old as BMW ventures into uncharted waters. After 100 years, you’d think most brands have done all they can do in the existing segments. However, despite the front-wheel drive hot-hatch segment existing since the 1970s, BMW’s first proper entry didn’t come until 2021, with the BMW 128ti. From what we’ve seen, the 128ti is an impressive little car, one that can challenge the best in the business. But can it beat the best?
In this new video from Cars.co.za, we see the BMW 128ti take on two of its newest rivals; one more traditional and one a bit more outside the box. The former is the Mk8 Volkswagen GTI, the latest in a long line of outstanding hot hatches from VW. The latter is the all-new Toyota GR Yaris, a scrappy little hatchback that’s been winning over fans and enthusiasts wherever it goes. So can the 128ti really hang with them?
The BMW 128ti and Volkswagen GTI are actually quite similar. They both use 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines, both are front-wheel drive, both have five doors (four regular doors and one hatchback), and both — in this test, use automatic transmissions. While the BMW is a bit more powerful; with 262 horsepower versus the GTI’s 241 horsepower, the Volkswagen uses a snappier dual-clutch gearbox, compared the Bimmer’s ZF eight-speed auto. Both have limited-slip front diffs, too.
That leaves the Toyota GR Yaris as the wild car. It uses a 1.6 liter turbocharged three-cylinder to make 260 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. It also only uses a six-speed manual and, interestingly, all-wheel drive. A limited-slip diff at the rear axle helps put power down, too.
But which car is actually faster around the track? The BMW and Volkswagen pack more power but the little Yaris is much lighter, has more grip, and can carry higher speeds through corners. Watch the video to find out which hot hatchback was best.