Wednesday, December 11, 2013

5k: M-Compact: 1995 BMW 318ti with S52 M3 Engine

From the firewall forward the 318ti Compact is identical to the basic E36 sedan, but behind the A-pillar the compact BMW is unique.  It has a hatchback rear, uses the older E30 semi-trailing rear suspension (shared with the Z3/M Roadster & M Coupe) and is noticeably more tail happy than the regular E36 -which is already prone to violent outbursts of oversteer.  The biggest problem with the 318ti (aside from questionable styling) is the use of a gutless 1.8 liter 4-banger - so buy one that has had an injection of steroids. Find this 1995 BMW 318ti with S52 M3 Engine for sale in Phoenix, AZ currently bidding for $4,050 on ebay with 3 days to go.

Wait a minute...the old deja vu alarm is going off...have we seen this car before?  Yup - this exact same car was for sale in Folsom, CA in April 2013 - and featured here. It isn't clear if this is the same seller or a new owner, but unfortunately the troublesome evap emissions leak has not been fixed...not a good sign at all.

The S52B32US is good for 240 horsepower and 236 ft-lbs of torque - a huge bump up from the stock 138 horsepower inline-4.  The transmission is also now swapped for a 5-speed from the M3 and the ZF transmission is known for crisp shifting and decent gear spacing, well suited for sporty driving.

The interior of this 318ti looks well kept, and has leather seats swapped in from an M3. It looks like a good place to do a track day, autoX or just a simple trip to the grocery store.

See a better I-6 swapped compact? email us here:


  1. ~ well built, proper equipment, excellent attention to detail, very good pictures and presentation, and the seller seems approachable for the serious buyer to start an in-depth dialogue. this BMW will be an exceptional opportunity for someone.

  2. I love this project. I always thought the sawed-off 3-series looked like a great M candidate. I want to buy this and write my name in cursive on the Wal-Mart parking lot with it. Oh, and the evap emissions leak? I live in NE where these things don't matter.

  3. Love that bodystyle and I remember a V8-swapped forums project that went into a wall at a track event - makes me a little cautious of such a short wheelbase car being used for a big power project. This one looks great and the price is right so far.

  4. I bid on this and lost by $50 with a minute to go LOL. I spoke to the original seller and was really impressed with the guy's knowledge and honesty. CA smog prevented me from hitting bid again, though. The freshened up paint and interior seem to justify the jump in price.

    1. ~ eBay says 'Reserve not met' [12 bids] which makes sense if he has a $12,900 price in mind. he seems willing to negotiate, but one/half the ask is pretty optimistic give what has been spent on the build. sweet car.


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