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BMW 318ti



  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    Sorry to hear about your BMW 318ti transmission problem. While your waiting here for more feedback, you may also want to check Edmunds' Maintenance Guide to see if you can find any similar recalls or tsb's. Hope this is helpful.

    Hatchbacks / Station Wagons / Women's Auto Center Boards

  • rattierattie Posts: 2
    Am trying to talk myself out of purchasing a 98 318ti, 57k, blue/grey "leatherette", keyless entry, CD changer, automatic, for $17,800 drive out. All male friends advice against buying because of performance/appearance---"it's a high-schooler's car." Can't afford anything over $19K and really want a sporty, smallish car with nice options. Drove a 2000 VW Jetta and found the seats uncomfortable and the cabin cramped. Will look at pre-owned Acuras and VW Passat, but fear that they won't feel as solid and comfortable and nimble as the 318ti, or have as good gas mileage. Want to end this car buying saga and am getting too many calls from the BMW dealer, so please advise SOON. Thanks. Currently drive a 90 Civic hatchback w/140k miles-----no car payment for 8 years!!
  • verozahlverozahl Posts: 574
    ... pulling out of a parking garage. Noisy engine, sounds like lawnmower, is that normal?
  • andrey64andrey64 Posts: 5
    Don't talk yourself out of 318 ti. Just take your time. All things you're looking for in a car are there. No integras or VW even come close in handling and steereing response, leave alone solid feel overall. I would suggest not to go fast about this one. Price is a liitle high for this milage. If you have several BMW dealers around - try to look for a 1999 car with 35-40,000 miles, an off-lease car. You get good finance rate from BMW finance + CPO warranty up to 2005 - really important. they go for 18,900 - 19,900, but that's asking price. These hatchbacks are hard to sell-compare to CPO sedans/coupes and dealer should go down easily at least 2 G before anyone says yes on a purchase. They make good money on other 99% of the cars - so in fact it's much easier to negotiate on these hatchbacks, they're not in demand.
    If you do go with this one (57K miles)and agree to pay the price - make sure dealer performs Inspection 2 + new brakes and tires. Exhaust inspection in writing as well.
    Good luck.
  • rattierattie Posts: 2
    Thanks for your fast response to my message. Will take all that you said into consideration. Will continue to look for one with lower mileage so that I can keep it a long time (like my Honda).
  • wkbeckwkbeck Posts: 4

    I am looking at a 1998 318ti with the active package, roof and keyless for $13,900. It has a salvage title, but that is because it was stolen and the insurance company paid off before they found it. All the body part numbers match, no flood damage, etc., so the story looks good. And so does the car. Nothing was reportedly needed after it was recovered. Repair records do not show any unusual or constant problems areas. It has 36k miles, black on black. In my estimate, the price still seems high due to the stigma associated with the title. Any advice is appreciated.
  • reddog10reddog10 Posts: 1
    Had my BMW524td (turbo-diesel) for 10 years - decided to trade it and
    try Japanese for a while. But...can't do without a Bimmer, so have added a
    '96 318Ti for fun driving. Only question I have about operation at the start
    is - do I use reg, mid or hi-test fuel in car?
    Also, I have all manuals except Operator's Manual...where would I get one -
    at the dealer? Or are there other easier sources? With my 524 experience,
    I found the dealer parts people rude, arrogant and otherwise unpleasant, so
    prefer to go elsewhere if possible.
    Thanks for any info & help you can give!
  • rhmassrhmass Posts: 263
    My son has the 98 318ti with M suspension. I agree it is a fun car to drive with the drawback of needing more power.
    On the gas tank cap, it says 89 octane required. So I presume mid grade gas is OK. However, he has been putting in premium gas. It is a very reliable car. Among the four BMWs we have owned, it is by far the one requiring the least repair. Hopefully, its reliability will continue, now that its warranty is about to run out.
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    You should try asking BMW customer relations. You could probably find an 800 number at their website:

    Look for the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of their home page. Good luck, and please keep us posted on your BMW 318 experience.... ;-)

    Hatchbacks & Wagons Boards
  • Hey all,

    I have owned my 318ti ('95 Black with Grey cloth, 5sp - after market sunroof) for a year and a half. It is a fun car and I don't think my 11k could have purchased me a better looking car in the market. I added a Sony ES/ADS stereo system to it quickly after purchase.

    Now that I have lived with it for a while, I have the following truths to tell:

    1. When I bought it, people assumed I spent alot more on it then I did. Even today, people think it is newer and more expensive than it is. Guess something about the BMW mystique still carries over the "Underkind."

    2. The performance is nothing to brag about. I consistantly get beat off the line by most newer cars. I assume the needed tune-up will help, but the car is no barnstormer, reminding me very much of my old G20 (also a 5sp).

    3. The car looks better than most cars made, period.

    4. The repair costs can be high, but I have found a great German AutoRepair shop here in Phoenix that has proven to me that they are honest and reasonable. And two of their staff mechanics are certified BMW technicians. They have earned my business for the rest of my Bimmers life with me. I would suggest you find a good import mechanic and forget the dealerships, especially once out of warranty.

    5. The car has quirks. Like any older used car, my 318 has quirks. Like the cigarette burn holes in the rear seat I need to get redone, like the curling rubber seal along the lower back window that seems to be "normal," like the hatchback lever that refuses to hold the hatch open at temperatures below 32 (not so bad a problem since I moved to AZ).

    6. I don't get very good gas mileage. I expected more from a frugal 4-cylinder, especially when the performance isn't too brisk. But I seem to average 24-28 mpg. A far cry from the 32-39 range found on current cars with more powerful engines. Also, my ti likes premium fuel very very much, running smoother and a little faster...

    Overall, I am happy with my car, but I am eager to move on to the next car. My next car will be an auto (knee and back problems and a new, long commute have killed the fun of manuals forever for me) and it will have 4 doors (like coupe styling, not coupe utility. The biggest thing is umphh. My next car will have to have guts, I don't like a car whose acceleration is unresponsive, and my little ti just isn't hauling like I would prefer.

    Like the car, sometimes love the car...might even miss the car some day, but can't wait for it to be payed off and then to get a bigger brother, perhaps a 325, or a 1-series if they bring a better motor along with it.

    the Harlequin
  • 66886688 Posts: 1
    I have some idea of buying this BMW: 1991 318i, second-owner, sunroof black standard, new rims, tires, mileage: around 137 thousand. Some scratches on the surface of hood and some cracks inside. I am a Ph.D student, tight budget. What's the best price for this car? Thanks a lot.
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    Have you had a chance to check out Edmunds' Used Vehicle Appraiser? This will give you the average cost others are paying for a 91 318i in your region. Others here may have more to add. Good luck, and please keep us posted on your purchase.

    Hatchbacks & Wagons Boards
  • i spent the past summer in europe and i had the chance to take a look at the new 3 series ti series given the fact that they're already beeing sold in europe and i thought they actaully look pretty cool ... they dont look the same as the larger 3 series models and have a different design in the front. i'd say to wait untill the new one gets to the US and then make a choice.
  • i just read a few posts about paying $17,000+ on 318ti' im not trying to be unreasonable here but for that money you can get a way better car like a '96 or '97 325is or 325i ... all you have to do is shop around(not at the bmw dealer) because there are a lot of good cars out there and i dont see any reason for which someone would rather buy a 318ti instead of a 325is or a 325i .
  • I am new to Edmunds and find this forum very informative. I have a few questions that I would appreciate any input on. I have a 97 ti automatic w 115,000 miles on it.
    My dealer recently installed new front struts and did a wheel alignment. The car now pulls to the right and still doesn't handle as well as it did some 20,000 miles ago. Could this be due to the rear end. My dealer is in Brooklyn, NY and charges for even checking my air!
    My transmission also shifts roughly or not at all, especially if not fully warm (10 minutes min.). An independent repair shop told me the sticker under the transmission idicates it is sealed and should not be opened. My dealer wants Big $ to check and in the past has said It's normal. No easy way to check fluid level. Any advise would be appreciated.
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    You may also want to copy/paste your question in our BMW 3-Series Problems discussion. Good luck, and please keep us posted on your 318ti experience.
    Hatchbacks & Wagons Host
  • For your mileage new struts sound like a good idea and wheel alignment should be done after strut replacement. It's recommended to replace rear shocks as well while replacing struts,I don't know if dealer told you that. I don't think the fact that car pulls to side has something to do with rear end. Most likely it's tire pressure. Make sure you have same tire presure in front tires. Due to the current cold weather in NY tire pressure goes down (together with the tempreture), every 4 degrees in atmosphere makes change for almost 1 psi in tire pressure, it needs constant adjustment. Check your pressure at least once a week on cold tires.
    Transmission shifting issue could be also due to a cold weather. My car is manual, so I am not familiar with BMW A/T - but I know my wife's automatic Honda doesn't upshift to 4-th unless engine/transm. reach operating tempreture, to protect from excessive wear. Could be the case with BMW A/T as well. You can check transm. fluid level yourself - read how to do it in your manual, it should be easy. And don't let Brooklin mechanics talk you into expensive repairs, always seek second opinion.318 ti is one of the most reliable and simple BMW to fix and maintain. Aftermarket parts store offered me an exhaust for $920 once, when dealer's price was $369.00.
    Good luck.
  • I did check the pressure and it was fine.You are probably right about the rear shocks as it feels "loose". The dealer didn't notice.
    I also posted these questions on the Problems board as per our Host and I got some additional insight there as well. I am going back to the dealer this Mon. and I will be ready to discuss these issues again, this time with some ammo. I am looking into finding a "good" independant shop. Thanks again for your input.
  • I'm looking at a 98 318ti with sports package. Has 57500 miles on it, and is going for $12,000. Black on Black. Wondering if that may be too cheap and concerned that it may have a few problems. How does the 318 drive and is there any good aftermarket items that can help out the 138hp. Thanks.
  • The price seems about right, depending on options and condition. I got my 97 ti in 1999 for $10,500 w just an auto trans. and 54,000 miles on it, nothing else. As for driving, it's a blast. I find the power fine and most enjoy driving in the 60 - 80 mph range. The engine loves to rev and I sometimes wish I had a stick to fully utilize the wide power band.
    As for after market parts, there are plenty, if your budget allows. I personally don't delve into them as the stock car suits my needs fine. You will find that unless you plan to do maintenance and repairs yourself, the cost of BMW dealer service is high ($98 an hour in NY). My ti now has 116,000 miles on it and recently had front struts and an alignment ($900), new battery ($115), a new frame for the drivers seat ($300 w labor), and new front brake pads ($200 w labor). Not much else other than tune ups and oil changes ($55 at dealer). Properly kept, your 318 ti should last for years (very reliable).
    Good luck, DS
  • Thanks a lot for the feedback.. Appreciate it
  • gerry18gerry18 Posts: 39
    I have a '96 318ti, 1.9L, 74,000 miles and the starter suddenly went out. Sounds like it spins, but doesn't engage. I had planned on fixing it myself, but upon jacking the car I can't find the starter. Anyone have the same problem; know where to look; know what it costs for a dealer repair; any reason an independent can't fix it?

    BTW, I have owned my ti sense new and really enjoy it.
  • gerry18gerry18 Posts: 39
    I finally found the starter. Unfortunately it is buried under the inlet manifold and will require removal of much of what's installed on the driver's side of the engine to get access. Looks like more than I want to tackle.
  • I'm looking at a 96 ti 5-SPEED. with the m sports package. with 26000 miles on it/.. He's asking 12,500 and im not to sure what to offer him. I was thinking around $9,500 cash..because 12,500 is too expensive for that year. Any thoughts on how much i should first offer him. Thanks..
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    Sorry, you have not gotten a response here yet. Weekends are usually a little slower around here, so perhaps give it another day or so for feedback from other members.

    Have you tried plugging your vehicle into Edmunds' Used Car Appraiser? Good luck and please keep us posted on your purchase.

    Host/Hatchbacks & Wagons
  • the 96 with M package and only 26k miles should bring in a premium. I can almost guarantee that the car is one of a kind. If everything is as perfect as it should be with those low miles, you should only have to worry about seals that may have dried or rubber parts cracking.

    I don't think $12.5k is too much for the car, considering the conditions and milage and package. It everything is true and sound, you are buying a car with a long life ahead of it and a very desirable grouping of packages (5speed and M-package).

    That said, if you start putting 15k miles on it a year, the premium you will pay will dissolve faster than the resale on a new Kia. My '95 75k 318ti 5-speed without M prices at a fair $9k at the dealer, 7-8k on the driveway...

    With a model that sold at a slow pace (50k units over 5 years?), you are buying a one-of-a-kind car at that year and condition. Hope you got your price...but if it was my car, I would not take 9.5k for that way.
  • I recently purchased an automatic 98 318ti and it did not come with an owners manual. I do intend to order one but I have a question in the meantime. What is the "A M" switch next to the gear shift, and how do you turn off the rear wipers after you have activated them?
  • rhmassrhmass Posts: 263
    You can register with BMW USA site and then access the manual of your model through owner's circle. It is a very easy process. Just make sure you have your VIN numbers ready.
    A, M switch used to change between auto and manual mode of your transmission.
    To deactivate the rear wiper, just pull the wiper control up toward you. the opposite of activating it.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    In both tis that I've owned you turn off the wiper by pushing the stalk away from you(the same way you activate the wipers.
  • kr76kr76 Posts: 1
    hi all i'm looking into purchasing my first car looking at something used and I really like the 96' bmw 318ti model... but since it carries the bmw name I wanted to get a general idea of what maintenance costs would be?

    Also I saw an ad for a '96 318ti with 50,000 miles going for $8750 in good condition (according to the owner) but the blue book value is only $7900.

    If there's anyone out there that knows about this model I would appreciate your comments

This discussion has been closed.