Thursday, June 6, 2013

10k: Sport Compact: 1997 BMW 318ti, Low Mile E36

The BMW E36 3-series is known for its fantastic handling and rock bottom price today.  The 318ti compact version was an attempt by BMW to capture some of the lower end of the market with a lower price and 4-cylinder power, but the handling was not compromised and it wears a "ti" badge recalling the glory days of the 2002ti. Find this 1997 BMW 318ti for sale in San Jose, CA for $8,500 via craigslist.

This BMW 318ti is offered well into the price range of a clean E36 M3, but the 318ti does carry with it a few tricks to justify the price.  First, it is the lightest of all E36s, tipping the scales at around 2700 lbs.  It also rides on a shared suspension with the BMW Z3 roadster which was based on the E30 semi-trailing arm rear setup and as a result it very tail happy.

The 1.9 liter inline-4 cylinder engine had potential to be something cool...but BMW wasn't building an M3 and as a result got very conservative on the tuning to match its economy car market.  The little M44B19 puts out 142 horsepower and 130 ft-lbs of torque and is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission.

The inside of this 3-Series looks decent, but not perfect, probably because it is very difficult to keep light cream colored interiors clean in a car.

The 318ti retains economy car cues like steel wheels with plastic hub caps, but they are becoming collectable as one of the few German attempts at building a sport compact.

See a better ti or tii?  email us here:


  1. I bid on that 318ti with M3 swap you guys featured a few months back. Not sure if even this clean original example is worth the asking price, but I do love it.

  2. Car looks clean, low mileage, only 1 owner with service records, but $8,500 is way too much. And for me personally this has to be one of the least desirable BMWs ever made.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I have a red one here in (automatic) NE Ohio from Oregon 3 years ago. Would love to get 8500.00 for it and it is almost as new with 80K miles on it. Truly an all original Hellrot over black sport package that has hardly been wet since new. First new brakes on it this Spring and when you look under the hood or open the door it looks a one year old! Leather and sunroof with stock 5 spoke alloys. 330 858 9614

  5. This is not an e30, perhaps a typo in the write-up?

  6. Not a typo; the ti's got the e30's semi-trailing-arm rear suspension setup instead of the E36's multi-link.

  7. So what's the deal with the single roof rack? I've seen a few of those lately. Is it a fashion statement, like walking around with one pants leg rolled up? Do they think it looks like a light bar like on a police car (as if there would be any 318ti police cars rolling around San Jose)?

    Regardless, price is WAY TOO HIGH - particularly for a 318ti in the least desirable non-sport package white-over-beige combination.

    1. the other roof rack inside the car , just easy to taking out so i am afraid to get stolen
      and its not high price its hard to find this car with clean tittle and low miles

  8. hi every one ,
    i was looking for nice rims fit my 318ti white ,
    i was searching online and i saw this car , make me click on it right the way
    because THIS IS MY CAR,

    larry >>>>> the single roof rack. other one in the back i didnt put it on , i afraid if gonna get stolen


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