In the ’90s, BMW launched the E36 318ti, a car that was supposed to offer luxury and performance at an affordable price. The 318ti, at least here in the ‘States, has gained a very large cult following. So, while the 3 Series Compact was a bit of a dog, looks-wise, it had a lot of heart and punched above its weight class in terms of fun.
The only engine available in the US was a four-cylinder. The 1.8 liter M42 produces 138 hp. In 1996, BMW introduced a 1.9 liter M44 engine, producing a whopping 142 hp. These weren’t powerful engines and the Compact wasn’t very fast. But, when paired with a manual, it was quite fun to drive.
To make a 318ti much fruitier, tuners like AC Schnitzer would work their magic on the car for the right price. MotorWeek–Television’s Automotive Magazine got its hands on one and recently shared the video to its YouTube channel. This particular model outputs 240 horsepower from a 3.0 liter straight-six engine and cost nearly $50,000 on top of the 318ti’s $21,960 base price.
AC Schnitzer also sharpened the 318ti with a suspension overhaul and short shifter. According to MotorWeek’s tests, the mods got the hatchback to 60 miles per hour in 6 seconds.