How much does the BMW 128ti cost?
The front-wheel drive hot hatch segment is a hugely competitive mix. Forget the brand here, most buyers are looking for bang for their buck. In that context, the 128ti sits middle of the range.
Priced at $57,900 before on-road costs (around $66,000 on the road), the Beemer is competing against everything from the Hyundai I30 N Premium at $47,500 plus on-roads, the Volkswagen Golf GTI at $54,990 and the Renault Megane RS Trophy at $60,990.
Toss in the upcoming Honda Civic Type R and Ford Focus ST (pricing for which have yet to be announced) and the 128ti is facing a horde of opposition.
Just as many of the well-heeled don’t appreciate turning right when they board an international flight, many prospective BMW owners won’t be considering mainstream models.
In that regard, the 128ti does stand out from the crowd as the only prestige front-wheel-drive hot hatch - Audi and Mercedes-Benz opting for all-wheel-drive grip for their sportier hatches.
The BMW is covered by a relatively meagre three-year, unlimited kilometre warranty. That’s not good enough when rivals have moved with the times and now provide a five-year coverage. And it’s not like the build quality of the BMW isn’t up to the task: the fit and finish and feel of mechanical tautness are first rate.
Pre-paid servicing costs are cheaper than most vehicles in this class at $1,350 for three years or 40,000km and $1,700 for five years or 80,000km. You don’t have to be Einstein to determine the latter figure is better comparative value.
Is the BMW 128ti safe?
The 128ti is technically not rated by ANCAP, whose five-star assessment in 2019 only covered the 118i and M135i.
Given the only difference is the engine and suspension, it would be fair to expect another five-star rating for this vehicle.
ANCAP awarded the BMW 83 per cent for adult occupant protection (low by premium standards), 89 per cent for child occupant protection, 76 per cent for vulnerable road users and 73 per cent for safety assist software.
The biggest issue with the 1 Series, according to ANCAP, was a “weak” rating in the full-width frontal crash test for rear adult passengers.
The whiplash test also saw a marginal score for those in the front seats, which in turn impacted the autonomous emergency braking city result, given “the points for AEB City were not awarded as front head restraint performance in the Whiplash test must be good in order to earn the additional points for active safety”. Ouch.