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: tips@dailyturismo.com