Hatchback Touring: 1998 BMW 318ti E36/5
BMW’s 1994 launch of the E36/5 generation 318ti was the first hatchback on a BMW since the classic 2002 Touring was sent to the glue factory in 1974. Styling response was hit & miss the normal folks, but BMW fanboys love the classic 318ti truncated trunk and the fact that it rode on E30 semi-trailing arm suspension borrowed from leftover bits of the previous generation 3-series parts (also used on the Z3). But that didn’t phase BMW planners, because they were aiming to sell cars to a younger demographic and didn’t care of well todo executives didn’t want their little 4-cylinder powered import fighter. Find this 1998 BMW 318ti E36/5 offered for $7000 in Grantham, NH via craigslist. Tip from Cory.
From the seller:
1998 BMW 318ti
cylinders: 4 cylinders
paint color: black
title status: clean
For Sale is our 98 BMW Compact Hatch with a manual 5 speed gearbox. We’ve owned her for just over 11 yrs and it’s time for her to have a new home. She has just over 122k on the odometer and a ton of life left in her.
She has a full service history (invoices) for the eleven years we’ve had her and we recently spent over $6 in in various repairs. Head gasket was done as was just about every seal on the motor and the RMS was done as well. We’ve driven her up and down the Eastern seaboard and across to Montana and back on several occasions and she’s never skipped a beat. We managed to get 34 mpg on long journeys.
Clutch was done about 7k miles ago. A/C compressor recently replaced as was the radiator and hoses. New flex joint. H&R red sport springs (everything else stock).
She rides on OEM DS2’s (new Continental Contacts) and recent front control arms, bushings, drop links. Car handles extremely well, very tight. Recent cat-back exhaust and cat converter.
Rear diff has been sorted and there isn’t a drop of fluid anywhere under this car. Windshield was replaced a few years ago. Headliner was replaced a couple of years ago as well.
The headlights are European OEM glass vs the American plastic version and inner driving lights are active as they are in Europe.
There car is accident free, clean Carfax when we bought her and free of accidents in our possession.
The bad on the car is that the clear coat on the roof has started too delaminate. The hood struts need replacing as of recent and I will either do them or give you the parts. Windows are tinted but a very light tint as she’s been living at our home in Florida, but recently shipped her to NH.
Rotors and pads have plenty of life as we’ve kept on top of all maintenance and a recent oil change with Liqui Moly.
There is so much more to list and things I’m forgetting but if you ask I can most likely give you an answer.
These 318ti’s are becoming rare and one with a manual gearbox, stock & in this condition is even more rare.
Thanks for looking !
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I’m not usually hot to trot on modern Bimmers, but I really dig this one. It checks a lot of boxes and I have always liked the shorty hatch design.
Any pre-2000 BMW styling gets a thumbs-up from me. But post-2000 BMW styling is another story. Mostly vomit with a few exceptions.
I have always liked the looks of these. But also always been wary of the fragile nature of their plastic. That worry strengthened just today driving behind one of the E36 convertibles. Missing plastic bits all over the place. The rear valence was gone, duck tape on the trunk. Missing chunks from the side ground effects. Yikes. But on the other hand, it was in Augusta Maine and it WAS still driving around. So there is that.
I had an E36 convertible for a while. I don’t recall the ground effects being at all problematic – that sounds like that car had a few four-off incidents. The interior was a different story – it held up about as badly as your average GM product from that era even if the materials looked prettier. And the convertible top was a Rube Goldberg contraption that convinced me if I ever get another BMW, it will be fixed roof.