Spied while testing at the Nurburgring by Automotive Mike, the lesser brother of the M135i xDrive comes with a mechanical limited-slip differential that BMW designed for “active driving pleasure.” Adding insult to injury, the specification list includes an eight-speed automatic transmission that doesn’t engage the driver as a stick shift would.
Described as “much more than a new 1 Series variant,” the 128ti also happens to be ridiculously expensive for 265 horsepower from a four-cylinder turbo. Including value-added tax, BMW is charging 41,575 euros before options such as M Performance Parts.
Indeed, ladies and gents. You could spend that kind of money on a glorified warm hatchback with a coveted badge or Volkswagen would be much obliged to sell you a nicely-specced Golf GTI at a better price. Oh, and by the way, the Clubsport boasts 296 horsepower.
Now here’s the kicker for me, the thing that grinds my gears the most about the 128ti. According to the Bavarian automaker, “the exclusively front-wheel-drive sports car addresses a particularly young target group with a focus on typical BMW driving pleasure.”
In other words, previous and current owners of the previous 1 Series with rear-wheel drive and six-cylinder engines need not apply. You’re old news for the higher-ups in Munich, and as a result, you should probably look elsewhere for a sporty compact car.
Happily, however, I have a BMW-badged alternative for you. The 2 Series also includes a good ol’ coupe, and the auto-only 230i offers 249 horsepower and RWD at the same price as the 128ti. Lower down the spectrum, the 218i and 220i feature a manual box.