I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I’ve never given the BMW E36/5 318ti a second glance, let alone any respect. Kind of the predecessor to the 1-series, it was BMW’s unique (eschewing more common derisive descriptors) rear-wheel drive compact, the only of its genre in North America. MSRP’d below $20k, it was definitely an economy-BMW, and this association along with it’s slightly awkward profile kept it from being taken very seriously and it never sold well.
Today, however, I found one on Craigslist that has me questioning my dismissal of the baby Bimmer.
Not only does this beautiful white 1997 version have the sport package, it’s been upgraded with a very clean Eaton supercharger installation. That has to make some positive steps towards discarding the frumpy reputation, as well as the M3-style front fascia and the very, very well-chosen 17-inch BBS RKs. The M-accented cloth seats are decidedly 90s, but that’s ok and the rest of the interior is clean and sporty. The proportions will always be funky on this car, but the aforementioned upgrades along with a trunklid spoiler and M3 mirrors really suit it and make you think how tossable that short wheelbase must be. For sale just under $9k, 165k miles seems like a bit, especially with a boosted engine. That said, it looks extremely well cared-for, and is probably a ton of fun for under ten grand.
For the first time, I’m finding myself giving a 318ti a long, desirous look.
This beautiful, rare, find comes from reader Peter.
Euro sport wagons have a cult following. The top of the line performance models, Audi RS, Benz AMG, and BMW M wagons, are scarcely available at bargain prices. This is in part because they are made in such small numbers, but also because they take the idea of the Q ship one step further, by hiding the wolf in a sheep’s clothing of a station wagon. People love these, practical, easier to convince a significant other that they are a good purchase, but loaded with all the horsepower and road handling of their standard brethren.
The Euro only M5 Touring Wagon model would be fantastic had been bone stock, but it even includes some more impressive additions.
This is one of only four built in the splendid Orinoco Green Metallic paint. It also has the two tone interior.
What sets this car even further out from the crowd is the Albrex supercharger attached to the 3.8 liter six. The car has been tuned by Diebold and dynoed at 440 horsepower at the fly wheel.
The 18″ M-parallels look good with the classic lines. The manual will certainly provide for plenty of entertainment and keep the boost up.
Parts listed by the seller:
Double sunroof (front and rear)
BMW Traffic Pro (Becker) GPS, upgraded with full Infinity speakers throughout and sub.
Nuerburgring package, with dual mode adaptive suspension, massive 345mm two piece aluminum hat rotors
Euro “smiley” headlights retained with “city lights” and upgraded with 50w HID.
Aero roof rack
Kmac camber plates
rear window retractable side shades
UUC short shifter
New Michelin PS2s (less than 1000 miles)
New Sachs sintered clutch
New Boge OE Nuerburgring adaptive struts
Brand new aluminum radiator with electric fans
Brand new water pump
New HR springs
Brand new Nuerburgring front brake rotors
Such a great car, I think it would fit just fine in my garage. $23,900 buy-it-now with 73,993 miles. Seems fair priced to me for a rare vehicle catering to a niche market.