While the compact SUV segment seems to be all the rage these days, the petrolhead inside us all really just wants a good hot hatch. Gugu recently compared the new Hyundai i30N to the iconic Golf GTI, you can read about that here. Now it is time to put the GTI up against something from its homeland, the BMW 128ti. Let’s find out which is best. 


When it comes to performance, both the Golf 8 GTI and the BMW 128ti deliver exhilarating driving experiences. The Golf 8 GTI is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine, producing 180 kW and 370 Nm of torque. It offers a refined and predictable power delivery thanks to its double-clutch gearbox, making it an excellent choice for both everyday commuting and spirited driving. 

The 128ti  features a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine that pumps out 180kW and 380Nm, much like the Volkswagen. The hot BMW also sends its power to the font wheels. BMW has played around with the chassis as the BMW feels more dynamic through the corners than the GTI. 

Both cars are relatively quick and both will offer a good time on the right road. The underlying aspect however is that these cars need to be two cars in one. A practical, everyday hatchback and a sports car. The BMW does sports car a bit better than the Golf but the Golf does everyday hatchback better than the BMW. 

Push them hard and they both shine with impeccable grip and eagerness to explore the upper limits of the speedometer. The BMW has a bit more top-end grunt than the GTI whereas the GTI seems to offer an aggressive first 40% of throttle and then tapers off. 

Interior and Technology:

Both the Golf GTI and the 128ti offer well-crafted interiors with high-quality materials and a host of modern features. The Golf GTI's cabin is classic and refined, with a driver-focused layout and supportive seats. It boasts Volkswagen's latest infotainment system, featuring a crisp touchscreen display, smartphone integration, and a range of connectivity options. It is not the most user friendly system out there to be honest. The haptic touch sensitive steering wheel controls are also a bit of an irritation. 

The 128ti’s interior is sporty and driver-centric as well, with supportive seats and a host of M-specific touches. BMW's iDrive infotainment system is widely regarded as one of the best in the industry, offering a user-friendly interface and a wealth of features. The BMW’s interior however feels smaller than the Golf’s. This is probably due to the fact that the dashboard extends further. Quality throughout both is noteworthy and both are practical. 


In terms of practicality, the Golf GTI shines with its versatile hatchback design. It offers ample passenger space in both the front and rear, and the rear seats fold down to create a large cargo area when needed. The Golf GTI's practicality is further enhanced by its comfortable ride quality and overall refinement, making it an excellent choice for daily commuting and long trips. 

The 128ti though not as spacious as the Golf GTI, still offers decent rear-seat space and a respectable trunk capacity. However, its focus on performance does mean that it sacrifices a bit of practicality in comparison.


Both the Golf GTI and the BMW 128ti are exceptional offerings in the hot hatch segment, each with its own unique strengths. The Golf GTI is a well balanced all-rounder that would be the preferred choice on my driveway. While the BMW is a great piece of kit and should be considered, the GTI nameplate has an unmatched heritage that just can't be beat. 

Written by Justin Jacobs for CHANGECARS