BMW 1 Series 128ti – long-term review - Report No:4 2021 | Top Gear
Advertisement
BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Long-term review

BMW 1 Series 128ti – long-term review

Published: 21 Sep 2021
 comments
Advertisement

SPEC HIGHLIGHTS

  • SPEC

    128ti

  • ENGINE

    1998cc

  • BHP

    265bhp

  • 0-62

    6.1s

BMW 128ti: does a hot hatch need lairy red decals?

Famously, a Volkswagen Golf GTI is the car that ticks all boxes; something that sits as happily outside a country manor as it does on a high street. It’s a classless performance icon honed over decades to be all things to all people. Even though the current one has an annoying interior...

The reason we’re spelling out the virtues of a Golf GTI in a report about its main rival, is because its main rival has – at least to my eyes – one rather glaring flaw.

Advertisement - Page continues below

Decals.

Plastered along the rear side sills of our long-term BMW 128ti are bright red ‘ti’ decals. I’ve already noted how the 128’s target audience might not necessarily care nor appreciate the revival of a badge that BMW holds dear to its heart. Indeed, it stands for ‘Turizmo Internazionale’, first applied on the 2002ti from the 1960s. On a front-drive, 260-ish horsepower hot hatch. Yeah, exactly.

Anyway, that’s been covered. But what hasn’t is the manifestation of that badging. Does the 128ti need additional ‘ti’ badging plastered across the sides? Do the badges have to look like they came from the Nineties? Does it really need those bright red air intake accents up front and at the back just behind the rear wheels?

Spoiler alert: no, it really doesn’t. It’s a minor point but ruins an otherwise quite lovely spec (‘mineral’ grey with 18in ‘Y’ spoke alloys). The addition of those decals means the 128 suddenly doesn’t feel as classless as that GTI; it’s a little more Fast and Furious. A personal matter of course, and you may disagree.

Advertisement - Page continues below

If you’re in the ‘they need to be destroyed’ camp, you can of course swap them for black decals free of charge, which has the handy side effect of suppressing any random pointing at the sills from passers-by.

Elsewhere, it’s worth ticking the ‘Technology Pack’ box, which is £1,500 worth of adaptive LED headlights, a parking assistant, an excellent head-up display (invaluable when exploring that wonderful chassis), ‘enhanced’ Bluetooth, wireless charging, and WiFi hotspot prep.

Now you might be thinking, ‘wow, a whole article on a couple of decals, get a life’ etc etc. And you’d be right. It’s only because the 128ti gets so much stuff so very right, this is literally all we had to pick on. It’s a cracking car and continues to impress. So much so, I haven’t even mentioned the grille.

compare car finance
Powered byZuto Logo
more on this car
Take one for a spin or order a brochure
Powered byRegit Logo

Subscribe to the Top Gear Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear and BBC Studios. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.