I previously owned a Saxo VTR. I had been looking for a 3 Series Coupe or Compact for a while. I spotted the 318ti for sale for £1500 in a side road. It's black, with BMW 16” alloys. Very tidy with good paintwork, and had 90,000 on it at the time. I get a lot of comments on the car as people seem to like it. I think it could do with a small spoiler like the later versions have. The interior is OK to look at and well put together; would have been nicer in a darker colour though.
The car has a good driving position and the seat is very adjustable. Everything is pretty much where you would expect it to be, and within easy reach. The only downside for me is that the seats aren’t good for long distance. Rear leg room isn’t great unless the front seats are pulled forwards a lot.
The gear change is good on it, pretty direct. Only issue I have is that sometimes it won't go into second when I’m slowing for a roundabout for example. Pretty scary when you haven’t got enough time to stop anymore, so you have to go across in third with cars coming at you!
The handling is good on it, but it rolls a lot and doesn’t really inspire confidence as much as the VTR did. You get a lot of feel through the steering wheel, and you know what the back end is doing as well, which really helps in the wet. Too much throttle in the wet, and sometimes even on dry roads will make the rear step out far too easily for my liking. Still, if you’re a good driver then it shouldn’t be a problem.
Don’t get into one of these cars and start driving fast unless you know what you're doing, or have experience of rear wheel drive cars, otherwise you might get a shock.
The car has ABS and all round disks. I haven’t got any complaints about the brakes.
The cars fuel consumption seems poor. This is probably to do with my driving style and rising fuel costs though. This is my biggest issue with the car.
The engine is a 1.9 16v with 140bhp. It is capable of performing very well, but has to be revved hard to do so. It's pretty useless below 3000rpm due to having its max torque at 4500rpm. Once you get past 4500rpm, it starts to push you back into the seat, and will do so until about 100mph. I’ve had 135mph out of it when I bought it six months ago. I think it would probably go a little bit more, but I will never know, once was enough.
Overall this is my favourite out of all the cars I’ve owned. It’s cheap for what it is, hasn’t had any unexpected faults, and people like it. Next car will either be a 325i coupe, Corrado G60/VR6 or maybe a Focus ST170.