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BMW 128Ti – Driven

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To break into the hot hatch market brands take a stern approach, they gun for the one seen as the champ, you do this by making something that looks as good as it performs, in this case , BMW made a front wheel drive BMW hatch in the form of the 128Ti, it’s not unheard of from the brand but to do it for something with performance genes was just fresh and eye opening for most of us. The Ti (Tourismo Internazionale) dates back to the 1990’s with the 325Ti and older classics like the 1800TI, and 2002TI.

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What sets it apart visually are red accents on front bumper side slits, a red stripe along the side sills, rear bumper has similar red treat, a roof spoiler , a stunning set of 18” Y spoke alloys that also show case that this Bavarian has M brakes in red, black mirrors caps,  and its hunkered down so you can’t mistake it for a normal 1 series. The unit I tested was clad in black with the front grille in solid black ushering a “murdered” look.

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The interior boasts comfy and supportive black leather sports seats with red trimmings, a black leather centre arm rest with embroided “Ti” in red stitching as another surety uphethe ni, the door panels and dash benefit from neat red stitching , when opening the doors the words “BMW” are projected on the floor, quite a nice touch. The dash and centre console are traditional affair , the thick sports steering wheel with paddle shifters is  worth mentioning.  Basically it’s red and black combo which suits me just fine. All round its stunning looking vehicle.

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Bring her to life and one is met with dignified humming 2.0L 4 cylinder turbo note that delivers a claimed 180kw of power and 380nm of torque, this is mated to an 8 speed steptronic gearbox that sends power to the front wheels in a very vigorous manner. As you accelerate the 28 shows its clear intentions with an engine note like no other, how she climbs the numbers is quite impressive and deceiving , even in high gear there is enough torque to build a substantial momentum. While the gear changes seem very vigorous it does not take away from how she grips like dry baby poo on a diaper, this is possible as the car sits 10mm lower and has firmer anti-roll bars, I tried quite hard to unsettle her to no avail.  I suspect that 128Ti develops a lot more power than the claimed 180kw, this is quite evident when going full tilt in the 1st 4 gears, that traction control button works overtime , lucky as this has a mechanic slip diff the power is put down quite effectively leaving the driver with a very wide grin or childish giggles in my case. My sole complaint would just be the shifts in between gears, they could be smoother.

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The specification of the 128Ti leaves nothing to chance, very few options on my test mule , at R699 500 as starting point, it makes a very compelling argument for itself, it gets my NOD on quite a number of vital issues in the space it has entered.

The 128Ti comes standard with BMW’s comprehensive 5Year /100 000km Motorplan this does add a huge advantage to it since most competitors have service plans.

Thanks to BMW SA for the Test unit.

Yours in motoring

Wezile Lorenzio Bonani

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