Forbidden fruit: watch the BMW 128ti take on the ’Ring

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BMW, in its infinite wisdom, has deemed the new 128ti not worthy of these United States of America. However, the car that brings back the iconic ti badge has a lot to live up to for European buyers, so no wonder it’s been screeching its tires around the Nürburgring.

The 128ti marks the return of Turimso Internazionale branding that first appeared on the 1800TI and 2002 TI in the 1960s, before being re-introduced in the 1990s on the 323ti and 325ti Compacts. The biggest change in the latest generation is a move to front-wheel drive, as the 1-Series essentially shares its platform with Mini.

Powering the 128ti is a 2.0-liter, twin-turbo, four-cylinder engine with 265 hp, driving power through an eight-speed Steptronic Sport automatic transmission. No manual is available. The car sits 10mm (0.4 inches) lower than standard on M Sport suspension, with stiffer springs and dampers and firmer anti-roll bars. The steering calibration is unique to the ti and a Torsen limited-slip differential is fitted, along with 18-inch allow wheels, and fatter Michelin Pilot Sport tires.

The 128ti is distinguished from the outside by its badging, red brake calipers, red side skirts and air intakes. Inside, the ti theme is carried through with a stitched logo on the center armrest, and contrast stitching throughout.

The 128ti costs €41,575 ($49,403) in its native Germany, and as BMW has declared that you can’t have one in America, you’ll have to make do with watching it being ragged around the ‘Ring in the video below.

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