BMW's Turismo Internazionale name returns for a new era, with the 2021 Australian debut of its latest sports offering.
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  • 2021 BMW 128ti coming to Australia from $56,900 before on-road costs
  • Front-wheel drive flagship gets Torsen LSD and 80kg weight saving
  • Less powerful than European version to 'better fit' local line-up spread, only a little slower

Australian pricing has been announced today for the 2021 BMW 128ti hot hatch, ahead of a showroom debut set for the first quarter of 2021.

The 128ti was initially unveiled with a 2.0-litre twin-scroll turbo petrol four-cylinder engine producing 195kW and 400Nm, but BMW Australia later confirmed Australian buyers would only be offered a reduced tune delivering 180kW and 380Nm.

The company's local arm would say only that the 128ti is "especially configured for our market and its position in the segment" – suggesting BMW felt a detuned offering would fit better between the 103kW/220Nm $45,990 118i M Sport and the 225kW/450Nm $63,990 M135i xDrive Pure.

To that point, BMW Australia will launch the 128ti from $56,900 before on-road costs, making it $10,910 more expensive than the 118i M Sport and a $7090 cheaper alternative to the top-shelf M135i models.

Buyers will be treated to a 0-100km/h time of 6.3 seconds (down from 6.1 for the overseas model), provided by that turbo four matched to an eight-speed torque converter automatic and a front-wheel drive configuration that benefits from a Torsen limited-slip differential and an M Sport suspension package.

As part of that arrangement, and thanks in no small part to it not being an all-wheel-drive offering, the 128ti delivers an 80kg weight saving over the M135i xDrive.

Braking is provided by 360x30mm ventilated discs and four-piston callipers at the front, matched to 300x20mm discs at the rear with floating callipers.

Holding up each corner is a set of 18-inch 'Y-spoke' alloy wheels wrapped in 225/40 R18 rubber, while 19-inch alloys in 235/25 R19 rubber can be had as a $1000 option.

Key standard features of the 128ti include:

  • 18-inch M light alloy wheels 553M Bicolour with performance tyres
  • Cloth/Sensatec upholstery, black with red stitching
  • Comfort Access System
  • M Sport brakes, red high-gloss
  • M seat belts
  • M leather steering wheel with red stitching
  • Floor mats in velour with red accents
  • Electric seat adjustment
  • Adaptive LED headlights
  • High-beam assistant
  • Automatic air-conditioning, two-zone
  • M Sport suspension with specific tuning
  • M rear spoiler
  • BMW Individual high-gloss Shadow Line with extended contents

Colour options include the metallic shades Storm Bay (a light blue-grey), Black Sapphire, Melbourne Red, Mineral Grey and Misano Blue, along with the flat white Alpine.

The Alpine White model shown here in white is wearing red exterior highlights, and that feature is also applied to Storm Bay, Mineral Grey, and Sapphire Black. If you order the Melbourne Red or Misano Blue models, the highlights revert to the standard high-gloss black.

If you're prepared to spend a bit more – bringing your 128ti even closer to M135i territory in the process – four option packs are available:

Enhancement Package 1 - $3000

  • Metallic paint
  • Panorama glass roof
  • Active cruise control with Stop & Go functionality

Enhancement Package 2 - $3700

  • BMW Individual Storm Bay Metallic
  • Panorama glass roof
  • Active cruise control with Stop & Go functionality

Convenience Package - $1300

  • Automatic operation of tailgate
  • Luggage compartment storage net
  • Through-loading system

Comfort Package - $1023

  • Seat heating for driver and passenger
  • Lumbar support for driver and passenger
  • Steering wheel heating

2021 BMW 1 Series pricing (as of November 2020)

  • 118i – $46,990 (up $1000)
  • 128ti – $56,900 (new entrant)
  • M135i xDrive Pure – $63,990 (up $1000)
  • M135i xDrive – $69,990 (up $1000)

Watch for CarAdvice's first-drive review to come in the weeks ahead.