BMW is getting ready to unleash its first genuine rival to the Golf GTI, albeit in detuned form. Here’s what to expect:

By Jason Woosey1h ago
JOHANNESBURG – BMW preparing to unleash its first genuine rival to the Golf GTI and we now have pricing ahead of its imminent launch.
According to the configurator on the BMW SA website, the new BMW 128ti sports hatch will start at R687 418 before options. We dont know how that compares to the upcoming eighth-generation Golf GTI as VWSA has yet to release that pricing but for what its worth, the outgoing Golf 7 GTI retailed at R632 700, while the recently-introduced TCR limited edition was listed at R689 200.
As we previously reported, the 128ti will unfortunately be detuned for South Africa, due to the country being classified as a hot weather market. While overseas versions are good for 195kW, our cars will be tuned to 180kW, which is still enough to match the new GTI however. Maximum torque, at 380Nm, is 20Nm down on the overseas version.
From 0-100km/h, the SA-spec 128ti is two tenths of a second slower than the German model, with BMW SA claiming a 6.3 seconds sprint time, versus 6.1s.
The new 128ti is front-wheel driven and BMW says its a good 80kg lighter than its all-wheel drive M135i xDrive sibling, which costs R808 188. The newcomer also boasts some sporty dynamic hardware, including a Torsen limited-slip differential, model-specific steering set-up and a sports suspension system that lowers it by 10mm versus regular 1 Series hatches.
Being a GTI rival you are going to expect some bling, and that comes in the form of an extended Shadowline package with high-gloss black and red trimmings as well as 18-inch alloy wheels, while an M rear spoiler can be ordered for R3750. The cabin is marked out by sports seats with red accents, as well as red contrast stitching for the steering wheel, door trims and instrument panel.
Buyers will have to fork out extra for the fancy spec items such as Adaptive LED headlights (R7000), BMW Live Cockpit Professional (R14 500), Gesture Control (R3650), automatic climate control (R7700), M Sports seats (R8100), Panorama glass roof (R13 900) and Head-up Display (R13 000), among many other options available.
Click here to build your own BMW 128ti on BMW South Africas configurator.
IOL Motoring
Sources: BMW SA via Carmag