To the Reviewer:
If you are worried about the 318is being under-powered and heavy, well that is your fault for buying a 318is! They are the BOTTOM of the barrel in the range and are WELL KNOWN for being this way! The e30 318is was FAR better weighing just over a tone with 103Kw. The e36 has very similar power, but with about a 200kg weight increase. Many of those who owned an e30 job and upgraded when the e36 came out were VERY disappointed. Perhaps you ought to have invested in a more potent 6 cyl model or forgotten about it. I wouldn't purchase a 4 pot BMW and then complain about lack of 'pop'.
And S. African BMWs seem fine to me. I had a S. African e12 from 1984 and I was still replacing ORIGINAL rubber components at 215,000kms. A very sturdy and reliable car - despite being maltreated by previous owners it always started and never once stopped on me.
The writer of this should really get his facts straight.
The BMW plant in South Africa has been rated one of the best car production facilities in the world, and it was rated the best BMW plant in the world. Do your research please.
I am South African and I drive 2 South African built 3 series cars, Both from new, one an 88 E30 320i Auto with over 350 000kms and an 02 E46 318i Automatic, Both cars are brilliant, and in my opinion not all 4 pot BMWs are underpowered, I was a bit skeptical at 1st when buying my E46, but once driven it goes beautifully.
It actually surprised with on more than one occasion with its power. The quality on both cars is excellent. As for service and maintenance, if you look after the car, the car will look after you. I've serviced my cars on and sometimes a little past its service intervals, and to date have had no problems with them.
Everything original from factory.
Could it be possible that your car was abused?
The 318is was never meant to be fast. Just because it's a BMW doesn't mean it's going to be fast. Sounds like your one was abused my a previous owner. I'm on my second BMW now and it's the oldest, and best car I've had yet. It falls down in some areas of course, but overall I can't fault it.