This is possibly the most reliable car made in the last 20 years. Mine has 193K miles and has yet to have any major mechanical problems. It has never broken down and I don't detect a drop in performance. Its not a great long distance car as it can ride a little stiff. The other problem is noise at 70+ mph. It can also get lite in the rain, especially at high speeds. Interestingly enough, it seems unstable at 70mph (dry road) but sits down nicely and rides beautifully at 85+mph. Clearly a car built for the autobon. My parting though is that I love this car and intend to drive it for another 60+K miles.
The 318ti is one of the best four cylinders on the market..besides s2000 and other really new sport jap cars. But the ti is a great car...its all about speed...guys love it and ladies wanna be there for it. The car handles like a dream...although at times at high speeds like over 75 mph wind noise can be annoying but everything else is solid.
I've had my 318ti for 6 years and it was the best purchase. It's 8 years old now and has 104,000 miles and is still going strong. It is mechanically sound and I haven't had any problems, just regular maintenance. The biggest thing to go was the fuel pump (not bad @ 98K miles). I've taken many road trips (thanks to all the room available when the back seats are folded down) and have driven on many upaved roads and it handled well.
Fun Fun Fun....when I drive something else it feels very clumsy... this car has spoiled me! Car is 8 years old, I have owned it for five years and have had to do only normal wear and tear repairs and maintenance. Very zippy, great gas mileage. Back seat is a little small (can't fit a baby seat or large/tall adults) but the hatch back and folding seats provide lots of cargo space when needed! I don't think I will ever part with this car!
I bought a 95 318ti that we loved. After a head-on with a 66 Chevy pickup that I walked away from, I replaced it with a 96 318ti. Nothing else quite measured up in fun for the $. Its a great combination of sporty handling and economy. I get mid 30 mpg on the highway and high 20s around town. It is a great car for 2, but the back seats are hard to access for adults. On the other hand, the hatchback gives you more flexibility than a sedan. Mine has been very reliable (from 27k miles to 87k so far), but I had to find a specialty garage. The dealership is very nice, but too expensive.