BMW’s introduction of the 1 series baffled me a bit. Sure, the idea of a rear-drive hot-hatch is enticing, but then two things happened. First, BMW made the version of the hot-hatch that was actually hot very, very expensive. Then, they didn’t bring it to the U.S., instead sending the 2-door sedan version over. In 1M form it certainly wasn’t bad, but the normal 128i and 135i versions look a bit like E46s that were left in the sun a bit too long after being sandwiched in front and rear collisions. Sound harsh? It is, I know, but I can’t help but see an English bulldog every time I see one of the 1 series cruising towards me. I much prefer the looks of BMW’s second attempt at a hatchback, the 318ti. It was funky, spunky and – especially in M-sport trim – looks exactly like what I’d want in a BMW hatchback. Okay, so there wasn’t the massive performance of the M-versions of the new 1 series or 2 series here, but then there isn’t the massive price, either. For a daily driver with good economy, it’s nice to couple that with good looks in a package that is very different than the norm:
One of the great unsung heros of the E36 lineup was the compact three-door hatchback, sold in the U.S. as the 318ti. Journalists decried the E30-based rear suspension and oversteering tendency of the 318. Enthusiasts were grumpy that it only came here with the 4-cylinder. And practical folks were happy to pass up the rear-drive amusement for a cheaper and better equipped Golf. But in my mind, the proportions of the 318ti were just right – like a rear drive Corrado, this car screamed of the potential for fun and practicality in one little package. The best looking of the bunch were the M-Sport models – though the changes were only cosmetic, they made the hot hatch look great!
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1996 BMW 318Ti M-Sport on eBay
Yesterday on our Facebook fanpage I posted a 1972 BMW 2002 track car with Zender flares and an S14 swap; while not original, it sure looked neat. Today’s car isn’t original either, but is built in the style of the Alpina racers and if anything looks even better to me as a result. Looking splendid in red over those classic turbine wheels, take a look at this 1972 2002:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1972 BMW 2002 on eBay
As Paul noted nearly a year ago with his post on a 2002 Touring, they’re quite rare to see in the United States with very few imported and kept running. However, while perusing Ebay.de looking for cars for our “Party Like It’s 1989 Week”, I came across a very cool 2002 Touring that has been given the Turbo look and is ready for completion. With a host of upgrades and fresher bodywork and paint, this may be a worthwhile project for the right person to import even if it’s been legal to do so for nearly two decades! There isn’t much time to jump on this auction but it was simply too cool to pass up!
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1972 BMW 2002 Ti Touring on eBay.de
Update 9.24.2011: SOLD! The BMW 2002 is no stranger to German automotive enthusiasts. This is the car that virtually invented the sports sedan category, and…