The new BMW 128ti is based on the M Sport model specification available for the BMW 1 Series. This means it has a distinctive front apron with specially sculpted air intakes and the rear apron from the M Sport in High‑gloss Black. The BMW 128ti underscores its standalone character with striking coloured accents. The special covers for the outer air intakes carried over from the front apron of the flagship BMW M135i xDrive and the trim for the Air Curtains (High-gloss Black elsewhere in the 1 Series range) are in a sporting red colour, like the air vents exiting the rear wheel arches in the rear bumper. The side skirt trim and “ti” badge located above it ahead of the rear wheels are likewise red on examples of the BMW 128ti with Storm Bay metallic, Mineral Grey metallic, Sapphire Black metallic or Alpine White paintwork. If the BMW 128ti is ordered with the Melbourne Red metallic or Misano Blue metallic finishes, the accents and “ti” badge (which can all be deleted if desired) come in black.
The BMW 128ti has extended Shadow Line trim with black BMW kidney grille and black mirror caps as standard in Germany. The optional BMW Individual lights Shadow Line for the headlights creates a darker appearance, helped by the absence of various chrome trim elements. The window graphic surrounds feature BMW Individual High-gloss Shadow Line trim.
The “128ti” badge on the tailgate is in chrome, and the two exhaust tailpipes have a diameter of 90 millimetres and eye-catching inserts.
The interior of the BMW 128ti features high-class materials and extends the use of red accents from the exterior into the cabin. These accents create a bold contrast against the sporty black headliner, for example. A large Race Red surface adorns the backrests of the standard Sensatec/cloth sport seats. A red “ti” is stitched into the centre armrest which – like the other armrests, the door panels, the instrument panel and floor mat edging – also features red contrast stitching. The steering wheel rim and airbag cover of the standard M Sport steering wheel also have red stitching. Customers who find the red contrasts too conspicuous can have them deleted.
Standard specification for the BMW 128ti also includes the M footrest and M pedals with stainless steel caps, the M door sill strips on the front door openings, and M seat belts. The Boston variant of the innovative backlit trim strips has been selected, with Berlin, Brooklyn and Nizza available as alternatives.
In addition to the numerous differentiating features in the exterior and interior, the entire chassis and steering were specifically tuned and applied in order to offer extremely sporty driving dynamics for the driver.
The new model brings a 10-millimetre decrease in ride height for a lower centre of gravity and a sportier appearance. It also adopts the firmer anti-roll bars and anti-roll bar mounts with high preload from the range‑topping BMW M135i xDrive, as well as stiffer springs and shock absorbers that have been modified accordingly. The result is even sharper driving dynamics, helped by the reduced body movement that comes with the bespoke M Sport suspension. This combines with a model-specific steering setup – precisely adapted to suit this powerful front-wheel-drive car – which has been designed to further reduce torque steer. Feel for the road surface is not diminished in any way, though. Add optimised front axle elastokinematics to the equation and all the ingredients are in place to fully utilise the dynamic performance potential of the BMW 128ti. This is further facilitated by a weight saving of around 80 kilograms over the all-wheel-drive BMW M135i xDrive.
The front axle of the BMW 128ti is equipped as standard with the same Torsen limited-slip differential employed on the BMW M135i xDrive. With locking factors of 31 per cent when accelerating (BMW M135i xDrive: 36 per cent) and 26 per cent when decelerating, it is a perfect solution for the engine output and front-wheel-drive concept of the BMW 128ti. As well as increasing traction, agility and stability, the limited-slip differential also gives the car superior cornering prowess. If the inside wheel loses grip while powering through a bend and the driver accelerates at the same time, the limited-slip differential directs more torque to the wheel with greater grip, thereby preventing wheel slip and enhancing traction and agility. When driving on the overrun – during a dynamic lane change for instance – the differential improves stability and cornering behaviour if a wheel rotates more slowly (or is about to lock up) by distributing the torque to the wheels individually. This translates into composed, dynamic handling combined with enhanced driving pleasure.
The mechanical limited-slip differential is assisted in its task by a number of electronic control systems. One system that has been specially modified for the BMW 128ti is BMW Performance Control, whose “sharper” yaw moment distribution boosts rear axle agility.
As in the BMW M135i xDrive flagship model, the requisite stopping power in the BMW 128ti is provided by the standard M Sport brakes, whose callipers bear the M logo at the front axle and are painted red (a first for a BMW 1 Series model). Aluminium four‑piston monoblock fixed callipers and 360 x 30-millimetre inner-vented discs are employed at the front wheels, while floating callipers with inner-vented brake discs measuring 300 x 20 millimetres can be found at the rear. The M Sport brakes stand out with their increased fade resistance and exceptional feel.