In the lead: VW Golf GTI and BMW 128ti against Honda Civic Type R Car News

Then you slip into the 128ti, and it exposes its compatriot in two key areas. The first is the driving position. The BMW lacks the sleek-looking modular seats of the Clubsport, but its own leather sport seats are lower and offer more support. The awning also looks higher and you feel like you’re sitting right in the belly of the car. Close your eyes and grab a wheel that can be pulled out nicely towards your chest, and you could pretty much imagine you were in some sort of coupe, whereas in the MQB Platform Golf you could never sit that in a hatchback. The iDrive infotainment range is also in another galaxy of user-friendliness: clear menus, intuitive switchgear and complemented by clear dials. The 128ti might seem a bit graceful from the outside, but from the inside it generates a sense of seriousness which means it looks more like a bespoke creation and less like a mere derivative.

On the move, it’s unlike any other 1 Series, but what’s surprising, given their overlap in customer profiles, is how different it is from the GTI. The BMW feels slower and more agile. Part of this will be due to the power deficit of 35bhp, but that’s mostly due to the steering response, as the 128ti has a generous sneeze margin before properly picking up what the GTI is going through. The VW simply responds better and with greater linearity. There is also more weight in the BMW setup, which is not a bad thing, but with the big steering rim and quieter gearing, it can lie a bit flat next to the VW. , which uses a thin gauge wheel with light, immediate action.

There are other subtle factors that contribute to the feeling that the VW is more spirited. Its DSG gearbox is sharper than the BMW’s torque converter, and the 128ti’s Torsen differential promotes stability and therefore some understeer when cornering, which the clutch-based electronically controlled VDQ system does of the Golf avoids. At speed, the Golf probably also outperforms the BMW in terms of composure – it just seems to work its suspension with a lighter touch.

However, if I had to pick one, it would be the BMW. The 128ti isn’t as fast as the GTI, nor is it quite as exciting on the surface. But it does show that the seat of your pants feels more generous, and there is real life in the steering, which boils and fluctuates in weight but rarely becomes unruly. A little more consistency in those first 10 degrees of lockdown and it would be some of the best in its class, especially if you’re not a fan of the Ford Focus ST’s springy setup. The 128ti also asks more of its driver than the GTI, and if the questions are asked the right way, that’s what hot traps are for. Not too much grip, its nose needs to be fed with precision in the corners, sometimes on the brakes, after which you can play with the differential acting naturally to claw you forward. Advances in 128ti are satisfying as they require a mixture of commitment and sensitivity. He’s an old-fashioned charmer, even if he calls for a third pedal.

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This notice was published: 2021-08-07 05:01:23

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