Unless you're driving an automatic pulling a trailer, these cars are hardly sluggish. Yeah, they aren't pocket rockets, but they are fast.
I just purchased a 1993 BMW 318IS about a month ago. I travel back and forth from New Orleans to Baton Rouge and I must say, it's an adventure every time I get behind the wheel. The handling is dynamic. I haven't pushed it to the red as of yet, but, for all those that are saying that car sucks in speed are wrong. For a 1.8L engine, that car has more pickup then any other in its class. To say the car is 14 yrs old, all of the electronics work with the exception of the outside temperature. Kudos to BMW!!!
I also have a bmw 318is and I personally think the car is very slow in first and 2nd gears, it just doesn't have enough pull the car doesn't feel like 140bhp.
I disagree with the comments on performance. and boyracers leaving you behind in Saxos.
You must have had a real bad apple of a bimmer if a Saxo is leaving you behind. I had a E36 318i for 4 years, and before that I was a boyracer and owned a Saxo VTR, Escorts, Pug 106, 306, and then I had a Pug 406 GTXI.
And when I got into my bimmer, I couldn't believe how good it was to drive. And the acceleration is more than needed. And once you get it past 3000rpm, it throws you back in your seat. Not once did I ever touch the floor. And I did race the streets in her, Saturday nights when all the boyracers are about, you know the good old fashioned car park cruise.
A good mate of mine has a Toyota MR2 2.0, and we went on a road trip and, we ended up speeding along and he said he couldn't get over how fast it is for a 1.8. He also said he was struggling to keep up with it. 0 to 60 is around 9 seconds, and compared to its rivals. eg Audi aA4. and Merc C Class, it is still the fastest and most economical, best to drive.
I gave my bimmer to my wife now, and she loves it, I upgraded to a e39 530i SE. Now that is a fast car, and nobody wants to race you when they pull up alongside.
But as a whole the 318i is a very good all round car, OK she is a bit underpowered for a BMW, but put it up against any thing else in the same class with the same size engine, it will leave it behind. eg VW Beetle with a 2.0 engine only has 120 hp. and the BMW 1.8 has 140 hp.
But when it comes down to it, our 318i is a 1993 and has covered 375000 miles, and she still performs and handles like when she was new, body is still fantastic, no rust.
Engine still sounds so smooth and quiet, and to my surprise, doesn't burn any oil like I thought it would by now. There is no other car that will keep going like a BMW, and she is part of our family now.
I expect one day something will go wrong with her and repairing her won't be cost effective. But until that day comes we are just going to keep her.