2022 BMW 128ti is a European-only VWGTI rival

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Contrary to the expectations of some traditionalists, the world didn’t end suddenly when BMW quietly introduced a front-wheel drive model a few years ago. NS X1, X2, When 2 Series Gran Coupe Everything is on the company’s UKL platform and is shared with the larger Mini, resulting in a combination of a transverse engine and a drivetrain that pulls rather than pushes. In the United States, everything is offered as an option for xDrive, but the base “28i” version is all front-wheel drive.

Given the marketing that BMW was driving the dynamic purity of rear-wheel drive, it’s no wonder that the wrong wheel drive configurations for these models are rarely mentioned. The Configurator website has prominent tabs that facilitate xDrive upgrades. But in Europe the situation is different. So BMW used the same mechanical package to create the 128ti, a front drive hot hatch that actively celebrates the new driveline configuration.

The “ti” suffix is ​​deeply drawn from BMW’s past. The original TI (capital) was launched in 1963 as a performance version of the “Neue Klasse” sedan.The designation was an abbreviation for Turismo Internazionale It brought about a collection of mechanical tweaks designed by a tuner called Alpina, which was not well known at the time. This includes a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder with dual carburetors and 110 horsepower output. The lowercase ti version of the 2002 coupe followed, and later fuel-injected versions became tii in Germanic logic. Over the years, the ti brand of the E36 (and E46 in Europe) 3 Series chopped tail variants, the predecessor of the first 1 Series hatchback, has been revived.

Today’s F40 generation 1-series hatchbacks are effectively the practical siblings of the 2-series Gran Coupe. Short in length, tall and not fashion sensitive. The design shares the Goofy front overhang of the Gran Coupe with the aggressively angled headlights, but the rear hatchback looks simpler and more elegant than the Baroque Delière of the 4-door coupe. The range-topping M135ix Drive uses the same 301hp 4-cylinder engine and front-biased all-wheel drive system as the M235ixDrive Gran Coupe, but the 128ti variant shown here has a less powerful (261 hp) version. I am. Only an engine with a 2.0 liter turbo and two drive wheels. That would be great if European exceptionism also gave the 128ti a manual gearbox — a more basic version of the F40 is still available on the stick — but sadly the only transmission option is the 8-speed torque converter automatic. ..

Nevertheless, the driving experience is impressively raw and unfiltered. The fear of BMW trying to disguise which axle is being driven is disproved by the first dose of full throttle as it competes for traction when the 128ti is fired violently. The bumpy surface also creates an unmistakable sense of torque that affects steering, but it’s an exciting method rather than an annoying one. Limited slip differentials and fast-acting traction control allow driving wheels to fight for a common purpose rather than fighting each other. The steering provides sharp response and level feedback unfamiliar with modern BMWs, except for those wearing M badges.

The 19-inch wheels are optional, but the sample car rides on a standard 18-inch alloy rim fitted with Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tires, providing an impressive grip on cold, greasy British asphalt. The 128ti chassis is playful and the cornering lines are sensitive to accelerator position. It fights understeer game-wise, but due to overspeeding in slow, tight corners, the front tires initially lack adhesion. When you loosen the accelerator, the car spins and tightens the line properly, and snapping the throttle with enough lateral load can even result in moderate oversteer. The factory weight of 3350 pounds of curb is quite heavy for a front drive hot hatchback, but 100 pounds lighter than the M135ix Drive.

Unlike the Junior M car, the 128ti doesn’t have an adaptive damper, and the suspension setup is definitely on the solid side of comfort on rough roads. The cabin also had significantly more road roar than experienced with the more insulating and more supple 228i Gran Coupe. Still, it’s hard to criticize hot hatches for prioritizing performance over sophistication. The turbocharged engine makes a good sound when working hard, pulling hard on the muscular midrange and starting to fall as it approaches the 6500rpm red line.

BMW’s claim of a 6.1-second zero-62mph time makes the 128ti 1.3 seconds slower than the M135i xDrive, but many of the differences are likely due to the greater traction from the all-wheel drive model line. Front-wheel drive vehicles certainly don’t feel slow or boring. In the drive, the ratio that is densely packed with 8-speed automatic transmission is exchanged smartly and neatly. The manual shift doesn’t feel the speed of the dual clutch, but the flat torque curve of the engine helps to hide the delay from requesting new gear to delivery.

However, I was disappointed with the lack of weight and resistance of the plastic shift paddle. And other areas of the cabin suffer from what looks like non-premium material. The shiny black plastic around the gearshift shared with the 2 Series Gran Coupe feels particularly cheesy. Visually, I felt that there was a slight change. The 128ti has a larger front air dam than the standard 1 Series, plus some colored inserts and a small “ti” graphic on the lift gate, but usually lacks the sporty aesthetic that characterizes hot hatches.

The 128ti has a competitive position in the European market. Based on UK pricing, the 128ti pre-tax base price ($ 35,600) is significantly cheaper than the equivalent price with a DSG. Volkswagen GTI ($ 39,400), and it slightly undercuts faster and more exciting stuff Honda Civic Type R ($ 36,050).

The combination of front-wheel drive feel and BMW badge is still awkward, but thanks to the new powertrain, the 128ti can enjoy a hard drive more than much of the company’s more powerful rear-wheel and all-wheel drive. Drive model. BMW’s first front-wheel drive hot hatch is certainly enough to deserve an encore, which would be great if American buyers could also experience it.

specification

specification

2022 BMW 128ti
Vehicle type: Front engine, front-wheel drive, 5-seater, 4-door hatchback

price
Base (UK): $ 35,600

engine
Turbocharger and intercooler DOHC 16 valve in-line 4-cylinder, aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 122 inches3, 1998 cm3
Power: 261 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 295 lb-ft @ 1750 rpm

transmission
8-speed automatic

Size
Wheelbase: 105.1 inches
Length: 170.0 inches
Width: 70.8 inches
Height: 56.5 inches
Cargo volume: 13 feet3
Total amount of vehicles (CD Estimated): £ 3350

performance (CD EST)
60 mph: 5.6 seconds
1/4 mile: 14.0 seconds
Maximum speed: 155 mph

EPA Fuel Economy (CD EST)
Complex / city / highway: 27/24/33 mpg

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2022 BMW 128ti is a European-only VWGTI rival

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