Sometimes the moment I feel like the world is going a bit mad, I mean, it is going a little bit mad but the car world I mean, it's going topsy turvy.
I feel like Alice wandering through the looking glass.
Why?, because we've got a car with no turbo in it called a turbo is looking at you, Porsche take out Ferrari is making an SUV.
The company that is literally called quatro has made a rear wheel drive sports car.
And now perhaps is back to front and upside down of all of them.
We've got BMW making a performance car.
That's front wheel drive.
This is the BMW 12HTI.
Now when I drove the M 1355.
For the first time, I was struck by how front wheel drive it felt a bit of torque steer some lift off oversteer.
The X drive only some power to the back wheels and extremists and I couldn't help wondering what it would be like if they just ditched the whole idea of rear driveshaft Evidently somebody in BMW thought the same thing and this is the result weighing 80 kilos less but with 45 brake horsepower and 37 pounds of torque less to it is an intriguing proposition at 33,000 pounds is right on the hot hatch money too.
Asked me the right way up again.
Of course, it's not just a front wheel drive and 1 3 5 I they've gone a little bit further than that really tuned it to the front wheel drive.
As such we've got a slightly slower steering rack.
The torsen diff between the front wheels is actually slightly and it's not as quite as much locking going on 31 So locking down 7% compared to the M 135I.
In other areas though this is more aggressive.
This suspension for example, spring rates have been stiffened by 8% and the fixed rate down as a firmer than the Sport Plus setting, the optional adaptive dampers on the N 135I [SOUND]
On the right, certainly it's sort of 30,40 miles an hour, it can feel a bit busy.
There's the odd sort of thump you might not expect if you've just jumped out of an m 135 I, but overall, I think it's a really good job.
You certainly feel connected to the road.
And it's just it's tougher than that.
And 135 It doesn't feel like it's trying to be as much of an all rounder, not as much of a GT.
There's a bit of rawness to it, which I really like.
Because we've got this slightly firmer suspension set up though, I would recommend sticking to 18 inch wheels clearly BMW.
Thinks the same because usually most press cars, first thing that happens is they seem to be put on to least inch bigger in diameter rims, but this is on the standard eight teams and I think with good reason you don't want to increase the harshness of the ride anymore.
And having 18 inch wheels means that the 360 millimeter front discs look enormous.
Most of the pretty big anyway, but that look huge So you do the job.
We've got three modes down here we've got Eco Pro comfort And then sport individual so you can tune it.
Obviously there's nothing to do with the dampers in there, but you can change the steering between sport and comfort, and then the gearbox and the engine.
So when the gearbox, it's still the eight speed auto, there is no manual option in it.
It is a shame because it feels like the sort of car that would really suit a manual, actually.
It's sufficiently sort of busy and interactive that free pedals would be nice.
At least the shift speeds and ZF gearbox have been quickened for the one to eight the changes hitting home slightly harder.
The pedals however, nothing to write home about.
Because suddenly we know the reasons why they don't fit manual gearboxes that often these days because not many people actually choose them.
Sorry, if I'm actually speaking and to make a lot [UNKNOWN] to engineer [UNKNOWN].
And also they said that permission [UNKNOWN] ratios [UNKNOWN] to make it really fun.
Now, of course, [UNKNOWN] but then [UNKNOWN] has a manual [UNKNOWN] for the GTI so They have their reasons but I do really like the interior of this.
It certainly feels a cut above a Golf GTI which fine is perhaps a bit busier than that but overall the quality of the materials and just Nice touches like having the TI stitching down here lifts it talking of TI.
But you'd like to know what that stands for, wouldn't you?
I'm sure you know already, but here's a bit unprepared, Add on in.
The ti badge actually predates the now more famous M for motorsport badge.
It stands for Turismo Internazionale, which is not very German.
And it was first seen on 1800 in the early 60s, but it had a capital T back then.
There was also the rare 1800 TISA, which is the homologation special.
The SAE standing for sundials forum, which is very German, and means Special Edition.
Later there were some TI models not purely for seafarers II can the extra eyes standard for injection The market seemed to have died with the E 46.
Three series compact in the early 2000s.
But after the best part of 20 years, it's back, which is nice.
I'll be campaigning for a revival is models next.
So there we are the latest TI.
Definitely not an M Sport, despite the fact there are some M badges on here and there's a nice little bit of M Tricolore sort of stitching in the back as well.
I do like that is a nice interior.
I like finding this car you feel like you sit nice and low Two feet out in front of you.
feels quite old, a sort of a long, long car.
It gives you confidence when you tuck it into a corner and it does have plenty of grip.
And even when you lift off, yes, you can just subtly change the balance but it's always there.
Even though that front end isn't that precise, always feels like it's sort of wriggling around a bit, there's quite a bit of torque steer, you do still get confidence in how this car drives, through a set of corners like this.
It's not most precise on the steering just Through the front end.I don't feel quite as [UNKNOWN] I didn't certainly the GTI Club sport through the corners but it sits down with the road really nicely and you do feel through the chassis and suppose more than the steering just where it is.
Isn't you feel like you want to chalk it around.
I'd love to get one of these on the track actually and see what it looks like.
With really some aggressive trail braking can be quite playful actually.
Although the engine is down to 261 brake horsepower Ample for a car like this 295 pounds of torque is of course the same as the GTI Clubsport.
And the front wheel certainly feel like they've got enough to deal with.
Get on the power hard out of a corner.
The diff doesn't feel that aggressive actually, in the way it locks up to say It's reduced in its aggressiveness over the M one through five, I could perhaps just be a bit more bit more positive.
If it was just a bit more aggressive, I think it would just lend a bit more precision to the front end.
60 in 6.1 seconds is average, really, for a front wheel drive [INAUDIBLE] these days.
But the way this punches down the road, [SOUND]
feels really, really great.
The sound It is okay.
It's quite gruff.
It gets lighter if you put it in sport.
It's not that characterful but equally, it's not that unpleasant either.
Like some of the pops and bangs you get with some other cars, which some people will be pleased to hear that others Let's say.
At the end of the day, i'm pleased that BMW has made this and i like they've done a really thorough job of it.
The only trouble is that whilst i've enjoyed it, i don't think it's exceptional as a front wheel drive Patch.
[SOUND] It's good, but not exceptional.
And there are a lot of other people doing very good front wheel drive hot patches.
There's the brilliant Civic Type R for a start.
VW is, I've mentioned offers a couple of GTI options Hyundai has on cracking formulas I30 n and the Renault Megane with its rear wheel.
Steering is possibly the most playful of the lat and there was something about the BMW 128 TI a feeling that I just couldn't shake.
It feels like it wants to be rear wheel.
It's almost as though through force of habit, BMW is engineered a car that still feels like it would be really really good.
If it was rear wheel drive.
You don't think that about a Golf GTI.
I don't step out one thinking, I wish that was rear wheel drive, but just something even in the look of this, it feels like I don't know.
No like you should be able to steer it through the corner with the throttle and not just through lifting off [SOUND]
this front wheel drive BMW hot hatch is by no means an unpleasant surprise.
But in its rear wheel drive hot hatches BMW had a niche and a very appealing Nisha that so it seems a shame to follow the crowd.
Maybe they'll revert one day.
Who knows in this topsy-turvy automotive world we're living in.
Next week on a car fiction a Porsche 911 with the engine in the front, and the front wheel drive catering.