BMW 318ti

jpsu1jpsu1 Member Posts: 1
Please Help!!!

I've been thinking about purchasing a '99 Ti, but
I don't know if that would be a wise investment. I
am aware that December '98 was the last month of
production (for the states). I have also heard that
BMW has plans to introduce a new line of cars,
similar to the current Ti. Is this true? And if so,
when? Should I buy, or should I wait for something



  • jburroughsjburroughs Member Posts: 3
    If you current car is still running up to your expectations, and/or the lease has at least another 6 months on it then wait
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    jpsu1- BMW will introduce a new ti based on the E46 Three platform sometime next year. If it is offered in the US it will feature the 2.5 I6. The current ti is still a sweet car; My wife and I have two. For the money, they are the most BMW driving fun short of an M3. Just my $0.02.
  • ksomanksoman Member Posts: 683
    This is the last car you want to get from the BMer folks
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    Please elaborate; share your boundless wisdom...
  • busboy1busboy1 Member Posts: 1
    how is the 318ti in snow? i just fell in love with one and am seriously considering cxing my order for a new a4
  • peter41peter41 Member Posts: 15
    Anyone have an update on whether or not BMW plans on bringing a new ti to the U.S.? If yes, when? I've asked the BMW NA folks and they say they have heard nothing. If not, I may buy a used 318ti, or go with a Saab 9-3 or VW GTI. Also wish the Audi A3 would come here. Any info/advice greatly appreciated!
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    I hear that the E46 Compact is US bound, but not for a year at least. And it will be a 323ti.
  • peter41peter41 Member Posts: 15
    Thanks, div2. I REALLY hope you are right--I have not been able to confirm this anywhere, so I hope your sources are good ones. BMW reps tells me they may come out with a new version of the classic 2002, but NOT a new ti--and they insist that they would know if it were coming for the 2001 model year. Hmmm. Meanwhile, enjoy your 318ti--I may look for a used one.
  • peter41peter41 Member Posts: 15
    Here's a question I would appreciate input on:

    I can buy a new golf/GTI, or for about the same
    price (or even less) or buy a two year old BMW 318ti
    or Saab 900. Obvious similarities are the
    hatchback and European engineering. Has anyone
    driven all three of these and therefore have
    real-world driving experience? Thanks. There is an ad in my area for a '97 loaded ti for about $17,000.
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    You wont catch me saying anyting bad about any of the three. I'm a die hard RWD man so my nod goes to the ti. My two(95 and 98) tis have been essentially trouble free. The base GTI is really not the pocket rocket GTI of years past-you need the VR6 for that. The ti and GTI have the most aftermarket parts available. Don't know much about Saabs; I tend to think that they are a bit of an acquired taste. Still fun though.
  • vperlmanvperlman Member Posts: 2
    I have a 96 ti and want to put in a cd changer. The ti, like all modern BMW's, comes pre-wired. Unfortunately, BMW wants around $800 for a 6 cd changer made by Alpine that it designates for this car. Does anyone know of any aftermarket changers that will interface and install as easily as the BMW/Alpine, but cost a reasonable amount?
  • vperlmanvperlman Member Posts: 2
    My 96 318ti is now 3.5 years old and has 111K miles on it. It's a great car. Gas mileage is excellent. Much better and more reliable car than the Saab, and far more prestige (if you care) than the VW. I wouldn't hesitate to buy one. BTW, with traction control, it handles well in all weather, including snow. I use four Bridgestone Blizzak's and think they're great.
  • peter41peter41 Member Posts: 15
    OK, thanks for the replies. I actually don't care about the prestige factor of BMW (and if anything find the snob appeal a real negative). All in all the 318ti just seems to be a better car. Used prices seem high, though, and so its tempting just to get a new GTI. Wish BMW still made the ti for NA market...I still can't figure out why people look down on hatchbacks--it just adds an element of practicality and no downside as far as I can tell. That is why I won't consider the Volvos or Audis (A3 not available here).
  • larryjaylarryjay Member Posts: 1
    I have had a 96 ti for 3 + years. An absolute ball to drive. I take it to autcrosses, but it is still stock save for some sticky tires. Don't let the 4 cylinder fool you, this is a great car. Definately go for the sport package which features M division tuning of the suspension. This is definately the modern "2002." For more information there is an active 318ti mailist, at, lots of information as well as archived posts.

    Oh, BTW, I put a changer in mine for $250, bought used from someone upgrading their stereo, another benefit of the mail list!
  • peter41peter41 Member Posts: 15
    Finding a great used ti takes a lot of effort...after months of looking, here are my two best options: 1) found a 1998 ti sport package with very low miles at a dealer a few hundred miles away for $19K. Good price, great condition car, it seems. Will be in the area next week and can take a look. 2) closer by, a private party is selling a 97 sport package ti with 30K miles for $17K. Both are in good condition, though the '98 is more loaded.

    To be honest, buying a used car makes me rather nervous. Does anyone have an update on a new ti coming out from BMW? Alternatively, I can just opt for the new turbo Golf or a Saab 9-3...gotta have a hatchback.

    Thanks for any thoughts on this!!
  • peter41peter41 Member Posts: 15
    One more thing: the '98 ti is dark green, light grey interior; the '97 is a lighter blue ("Alaska blue"), black interior.
  • mznmzn Member Posts: 727
    Asking to review the service records may help reduce your used car anxiety, peter41. If they are not available, I'd think long and hard about the purchase. Having a competent mechanic do a pre-purchase inspection of the car for you is another investment in peace of mind.

  • weasleweasle Member Posts: 24
    Does the 318ti require the use of premium fuel?
  • wrenseyboldwrenseybold Member Posts: 1
    I have not heard anything about a 323ti in any of my car mags including my british ones. I have an '96 ti that I adore. The gas milage is great (and yes it does take premium) and it is a joy on canyon roads. I bought mine used from the dealer. The hatch had been damaged in shipping an a bmw suit had been driving it for a year. I had some problems with the hatch lock which were fixed, and my fuel gauge still has some wonky habits when filled. My father, despite his fancier cars, still "borrows" mine whenever he has the chance. You can get a car that is more powerful, but you will be hard pressed to find one that is more fun to drive. (within 20 miles or so of the speed limit) You can toss it around curves or around other cars, it makes freeway driving more fun. It has a very sturdy feel, and is very reliable. The caveat being that I live in SoCal and my 318ti does not have traction control. During the first rain, when the grease is slicked, not washed away, I have had some problems starting up from traffic lights. The hatchback is very pratical, and the other 3 series that I have test driven certainly can not really improve on the fun. As long as you don't live on a dirt road and the ti has traction control and good tires, you will never regret buying one. Speaking of dirt roads, I have actually moved to one with snow so I am afraid my precious ti will have to go, however I don't think it is going very far as I left it with my father and he hasn't stopped driving it since. His audi a8, and lexus coupe are getting lonely.
  • capt2capt2 Member Posts: 57
    I am looking at a 98 ti and the trade in on Edmunds is 13,500 and on Kelly Blue book is $18,500..! What is real??
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    Depends on the area as well as demand; I'd say 17,000 would be a fair #, though just a SWAG on my part...
  • sjm7sjm7 Member Posts: 1
    I own a 318ti with 25,000 miles (I purchased it new in October of 1998) on it and it has been in the shop 10 times in the past year for various reasons. As I write this, it has been at the dealer for 9 days. The main problem has been a very rough idle after the car is warmed up and it has also failed to start on three occasions this year. Until today, 2 different dealerships have failed to find anything wrong with the car. Finally, this week they realized that two of the four cylinders are not running properly and have found carbon deposits in the engine. They are now telling me that the problem has been the fuel that I have been using in the car. I do believe that the carbon deposits are causing the problems but my question to anyone with knowledge of BMW's is:
    1) Can poor gas really cause this much damage to a car with only 25,000 miles on it? Or could there be something wrong with the car that they are failing to tell me about?
    (I use CITGO gas by the way, which the service manager claims is the worst out there. I previously owned a Honda Predlude SI and never had problems running CITGO gas in it!)
  • getz1getz1 Member Posts: 63
    I am just curious as to what niche the 318ti fills. The BMW is much slower than equally priced, quirky hatchback VR6 Volkswagens, and handles far less capably than a new model honda prelude. Is it strictly the desire for the nameplate, if so, it seems this is analagous to sewing a calvin klein tag onto a pair of Lee jeans.
    I was inspired to look into this after I witnesed a 4 dr accord V-6 destroy one form a red light, this occuring after the BMW driver was taunting the 4-dr with the whole rev my engine gig. I thought that this couldn't be, a sporty BMW beat by a family hauler...but after looking up the numbers, it appears that the BMW is powered by a derivative of my wife's hair dryer (0-60 in a week and a half).
    It interests me how BMW avoided the lack of guts lable for this vehicle, a problem which has plagued the infiniti G20 (extremely capable in the twisities, but the 150 hp bogs hard). After looking at the numbers, I would be hard pressed to pick the Bimmer over the infiniti.
    Everyone knows BMW makes the best sport sedans in the world, but how on earth did they let this one slip out of the stables. It almost seems like a ploy to encroach upon civic/corolla sales...slap that pretty blue & white label on the front of a euro-econo box and scoop up the money. Well, thats my 0.02$.....flame away!
  • ramonramon Member Posts: 825
    it's only a 1.8l 4 banger. What do you think? :D it's prolly a lot of fun to drive tho than that 4dr V6 accord. having said that, i much rather buy a similar year miata.
  • chuck92chuck92 Member Posts: 3
    I am thinking of buying a '97 BMW 318ti with the M3 sports suspension. Car is extremely clean with an RD exhaust, roof rack and bra and 42K on the odometer. Guy wants $17000 for it which seems average price range. I own a '92 Nissan SER which seems quicker, but have had some problems with it.

    Is the Ti a good buy for $17K? It is supposed to be a reliable car but now I am wondering because of some problems popping up with them recently.
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    Does the car have the M3 front spoiler, M// side moldings, and 16" five spoke wheels? If so, it is a Sport Package car, which is probably the most-wanted ti out there.I't doesn't have an M3 suspension, but the springs, shocks, and anti-roll bars have been tuned by the BMW M Division. The tis are relatively trouble free; check for worn upper shock mounts in the rear as well as a manual tranny that pops out of first or second. Fuel senders have failed in the US due to gasoline composition. I would want to see a full service history on ANY used BMW as well. Ditto for a pre-purchase inspection by a good BMW technician. You might want to check out the 318ti Digest searchable archive at: They are fabulous cars, but then I'm biased- my wife and I have a 1995 and a 1998.
  • chuck92chuck92 Member Posts: 3
    yes, the 97ti I am looking at is the M package with the 16" 5 spoke rims. Arctic Silver with leather and cloth interior. The car is flawless and has been given a 5 star inspection report for the mechanical and exterior and interior portions of the car. Also has some extras with it. The owner has been very careful with the car and it is obvious it has been given TLC. I am just choking on the 17K price tag since Edmunds lists the "fair market value" as 16K. But the owner will not move on the price and is even a little irritated with me because he thinks his asking price is more than fair, considering other cars for sale in this area. Southern Cal is probably a little on the high side in relation to other parts of the country.
  • chuck92chuck92 Member Posts: 3
    I haven't been able to find a 97 ti sport anywhere close to what I want to pay. I saw a salvage title 96 for 13,500 but all the rest of the 97's have been without the sport package and usually around $16000 for the 97.

    So this extremely immaculate 97 sport for 17K is probably the best I will do in the SoCal market.

    Thanks for all the info on websites and aftermarket stuff. Chuck
  • mfarmer2mfarmer2 Member Posts: 67
    My husband is looking to buy a 99 318ti. The cost is 18k. According to Edmunds guide that price seems fair. I would appreciate any input on reliability and maintanence costs. Thanks in advance for any advice.

  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    See my post #27 in this topic. Maintenance costs vary wildly depending on where you have the work performed. A good BMW independent can often do the work for 1/2 to 2/3 the cost of a dealer. That said, there are many excellent dealers as well. Here are some ballpark figures-
    Oil Service(@9K miles):$50-$100 using synthetic.
    Inspection I(@18K miles): $125-$300
    Inspection II(@36K miles):$300-$700
    Brake fluid needs to be changed every two years at a cost of @60 and coolant every three years- @100. Hope this helps.
  • mfarmer2mfarmer2 Member Posts: 67
    Any feedback on reliability? My husband is now leaning towards a new Integra because of the reliability issue, not to mention the costs for a new Integra is almost comparable to a used 318. I'd appreciate any input you have on reliability. Thanks Again.

  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    My 1995 has 59000 miles on it. It has required two non-scheduled trips to the dealer. One was to reset the SRS light at @900 miles, and the second was to replace the alarm module and a fuel sender at 49000 miles. I replaced the front pads at 56000. FWIW, my ti sees a couple of track weekends every year. My wife's 1998 ti had a bad steering rack at delivery but other than that, zero problems until we sold it last week at 46000 miles. The only reason we sold it was due to the fact we needed a larger car. There's nothing wrong with the Honda, but don't base your decision on a perceived difference in reliability-it doesn't exist.
  • andrey64andrey64 Member Posts: 5
    Dealer told me rear shock mounts need replacing. I am planning to replace them myself. From your experience with 318 ti's, could you tell me if this job requires some special tools? My car is '95 ti with 79,500 miles. Would really appreciate your advice/ I know you usually give good ones.
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    Go to: and search for "rear shock mount". You'll find more than enough information. I have also heard that the hot ticket is now the E46 rear mount, but I haven't confirmed that yet. I would at least use the E30 convertible mount. The Group N mount is nice but pricey :(
    Whatever you do, be sure and replace the gasket between the mount and the body- otherwise water may get in. Let me know if you have any other questions.
  • andrey64andrey64 Member Posts: 5
    Thanks your advice and link. a lot info on that. what is the reason everybody using E30 conv. mount. is it better than original part for ti - or is it the same? or what?
  • rosa1016rosa1016 Member Posts: 1
    I have been waiting for the IT to come back to the US, has anyone heard if this is going to happen or not and, if so, when... have a 97 5sp IT and now need an auto. Looked at a 98 Auto with 16K, ex war, active pkg, fog lights for $19. in northern calif a decent IT is hard to come by. Can anyone give me any idea what they are going for and what is a fair price to pay... Thanks in advance for you reply
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    Re: rear shock mounts- the E30 convertible mounts are stiffer and more durable than the stock ti mounts. There are some aftermarket mounts out there as well, but they aren't necessary unless you plan to frequently track the car.

    Re: New/used ti- The official word is that the E46 ti wii not be imported. Of course, that's what they said about the E36 Compact as well. My guess is that BMW NA will watch how the new M-B hatch sells and react accordingly. As for used tis, my wife traded her 46,000 mile 98 tiA on a 5er and the dealer wound up selling it as a BMW CPO for @$19,000. It was an Active with sunroof, heated seats, and CD changer. Go to and do a CPO search. That should give you an idea of what tis are going for.
  • andrey64andrey64 Member Posts: 5
    Repleced mounts last Sunday. took about 40 min. bought original ti's from dealer - $30.00 a piece. feels like new in the rear. guess need the same upfront now. thanks for your advice.
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    Glad to help!
  • andrey64andrey64 Member Posts: 5
    My 95 ti has almost 80,000 miles. Bought used in '99 with 60 K. Non-scheduled stops -none. Inspection 2 at 70,000 - $950.00.
    Repleced front seat buckle - under warranty. New transmission on 77,000 miles - under warranty. Old one was fine - just thought would be nice to have a new one before warranty expires. Told dealer 1-st gear pops out(thanks to Town Hall posts, i think div2 mentioned once about some cars in 95 had defect in manual transmissions, and BMW aknowledged that).
    Other then that - no other problems.
    New Integra, I agree completely, would be a very good alternative. Plus, if you want to buy 2001 wait till 2002 (redesigned) come out in July/August, you will be looking at great savings. The new one is promised to be hot though. In terms of warranty: Integra comes with 4/50000 powertrain warranty, you'll be covered till 2005 / 50,000 miles. If you buy 99 ti as a CPO (certified pre-owned) it will have the same coverage till 2005 / but with 100,000 miles.
    Integra is very nimble and handling is very good, built quality is impressive, just the wrong set of wheels pulls her. You don't have that precise steering feel in Integra as you have in BMW. It's also beleived by most that it's more reliable, but I think it just more abuse tolarable, as all Japanese cars. Take good care of BMW - it will run for 20 years, it's really built to last.
    Drive both cars and decide what you like most. You can't go wrong either way.
  • wassabiwassabi Member Posts: 3
    I bought a '98 IT active package with 20K about 2 months ago. Today I had the oil changed at the local BOW dealership. I had several items covered under warranty such as passenger's side mirror adjust was malfunctioning, bad odor emanating from ventilation system with and just fan running, drivers door stereo speakers not working. The first two items were covered under warranty, but the third, malfunctioning speakers, was not... due to wires being left unplugged by the last service etch to work in the door. I was very pleased with the dealership and the warranty service policy. They even washed and vacuumed my car! This is my first BOW and if all remains at this level of satisfaction or better I believe I may be a convert for life! In my many years of owning Honda's(3), Toyota's(2), Volvo's(1), Scab's(1), Mercedes(2), Porsche(1) I've never had such a wonderful experience driving and owning such a wonderful auto, or visiting a service department.

    I'm going to need new tires in about 5k miles. A former BOW service manager suggested Michelin's MXV4 205/60 R15 H. Anyone know these tires. I don't need to drive 120 any more! I know that there is some trade off of longevity for sticky high speed/performance tires. Still, I'd like some road hugging ability.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Member Posts: 2,228
    I would stay away from the Michelin MXV4. They are loud at highway speeds, have terrible traction in the rain and snow, and have a problem with sudden loss of grip with little to no warning (I found that out the hard way when I spun 90 degrees with no warning while attepting a turn at 35mph). They are relatively comfortable riding tires and lasted about 35-45K without being rotated often, but the noise was just plain annoying and the rain traction a bit scary. They also hydroplaned easily. This experience was with a 92 Accord with 15" wheels. If they sucked on a front drive car, just imagine how bad they would be on a rear drive car. I would suggest maybe the Michelin Pilot XGT H4 or V4 (not the non-Pilot XGT H4 or V4, because they have horrible wet traction), Pirelli P6000, Bridgestone RE950, or Dunlop D60 A2. Check out They have excellent reviews of tires and how customers rated them. They also have significantly cheaper prices than you will find at any tire chain store and deliver right to your door. I have ordered through them many times and have been very happy with their customer service.
  • wassabiwassabi Member Posts: 3
    Thanks Ingtonge18 for your insight and info. I visited Tirerack's website and am considering the Yokohama AVS db. I currently have 205/60 15's on the BMW 5 spoke alloys. What will be the result of going with 215/60 15's. Thanks in advance for any info.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Member Posts: 2,228
    If you want to go with 215 section tires, I would get 215/55 not 215/60, because the 215/60 will have a slightly taller sidewall than your current tires and will cause the speedometer to read a little slower than you are actually going. If that doesn't bother you any, than don't worry about it. The larger 215 tires will enhance braking stability and roadholding over the standard 205 and make the wheelwells look fuller and sportier.
  • slm62slm62 Member Posts: 1
    Hi - I'm new to this board but would appreciate anyone's input. I'm considering purchasing a 95 318ti w/71,000 miles. Interior and exterior is in immaculate condition, the owner has all service records and it seems to be in great condition. I was going to take it to a mechanic to give an "check-up". The guy is asking 10,500 which seems reasonable according to Kelly but a little high according to Edmunds. Suggestions for fair price? It does have the Sport Package, cloth interior, sunroof, cruise etc. Thanks for your help!
  • mary1117mary1117 Member Posts: 1
    This morning I took my car (318ti) into the dealer for scheduled maintenance (the yellow and red lights were on). After going through a long list of inspections that they were going to perform, the cost they gave me was $1280.00! This seems a bit excessive, and it is not the price that I am going to pay (I am only having them perform a few of the items on the list for about $250). Does anyone have any insight as to why it would be so expensive for inspection and maintenance? My car is a 1995 318ti with 60,000 miles. Please respond...
  • silver_bulletsilver_bullet Member Posts: 1,339
    If the dealer is proposing to do an Inspection II, along with major brake work and other repairs, the cost could be quite high - what are they including in the estimate?
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    Paying a dealer to perform an Inspection II will set you back $500-$700. A good independent BMW shop may charge one-half that amount- especially with a BMW CCA discount. Like silver bullet, I'd want to see what else is on the list.
  • pa559pa559 Member Posts: 4
    Found a super clean 1996 318ti with "M" package and only 36,000 miles on it. The only problem that I can see is that the wheels and tires may not be the right ones for this model with the "M" package. Title search shows that this was a one owner car prior to being traded in. Tire size on the car now is 185/65R15 on plain steel rims with a plastic BMW wheel cover or hubcap. Tires are new Michelin's. Dealer has about five other BMW's on his lot and a service area not open to the public. My big question is have the wheels been switched on this particular vehicle? My second question is can this car run on regular or does it require premium? This is my first BMW so any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  • silver_bulletsilver_bullet Member Posts: 1,339
    If the car you are looking at really did come with the "M" kit, then it has lost its original wheels somewhere along the way. The original wheels were 16" alloys with five rounded face spokes. Are you sure someone didn't take a base car and just stick on a couple "M" kit parts, like the body pieces?
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