I got this car for an absolute steal, It has a few dents, but was only intended as a reliable run around until I could afford something newer. The problem is I have fallen in love with BMW's!
The cars engine was reconditioned not long before I bought it.
The panel fit and finish is amazing, all shut lines are equal, and the whole car feels drum tight, even tighter than many new cars I've driven.
The four cylinder 1.8 is nothing to get too excited about, but the performance is adequate provided it is linked to the beautiful, sweet, smooth 5 speed manual transmission.
Automatic transmissions ruin this great car.
I have had three friends with these cars, 1 a manual 318i like mine, another an automatic 318i (the most lethargic car I have ever driven) and a 323i automatic (it would have been a rocket if not for that stupid transmission)
One thing I don't like about this car is the slight delay before the power comes, you can floor it and the car only starts rolling for about half a second and no power comes through until about 2000rpm, which can make crossing many lanes of fast moving traffic quite difficult.
Once the car is in motion it picks up power quite well, and keeps marching along smoothly to the red line.
This car was built for cruising, its silent. smooth and stable composure on the open road is amazing for a car of its age.
The tall gearing means theres plenty of high speed ability and makes for very comfortable freeway driving.
Everything feels smooth, the gear shift, the pedals, the steering, even the window winders!
The car is a great handler, (especially with the Pirelli p6000 tyres) about as good as my old car was, and very communicative through the steering too.
These are high quality German cars and even though my example is far from perfect it feels it will last a lifetime. The whole car feels a lot better put together than my last car, a Citroen BX, and is proving to be more reliable too. No Rattles or bits of plastic breaking off everywhere either!!! :P.
The only problem I have now is that I would like a later model car and can't afford a late model BMW. I might just have to settle for a mint condition older beamer, believe me, you get more than a badge when you buy a BMW ;).