mReview: BMW 318i - Sometimes the Base Is Best

Published by on
Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1639942156179 Motorist Mreview Bmw 3 Series 318i Featured
Being around for nearly half a century, the 3 Series is unmistakable on our roads. It is arguably the quintessential model that defines BMW's heritage.

The 3 Series has always been a staple offering within the compact executive sedan segment. Some like it for being the "value-for-money" option, while for some other buyers, it's just simply being able to brag about owning something from the Bavarian marque.

There's nothing wrong with wanting the cheapest option available, but how does the base model 318i stack up against the competition?

Balanced & Demure Appearance

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1639942672382 Motorist Mreview Bmw 3 Series 318i 5

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1639942317782 Motorist Mreview Bmw 3 Series 318i 4

The 3 Series has yet to receive a facelift that entails BMW’s new design language, and that arguably is a benefit, saving the car from the controversial large grille other BMW models have fallen “victim” to.

Although, it must be said that the 318i is a tad bland compared to its M Sport siblings, especially with the stock 17-inch rims. 

If that bothers you, there are always sportier rim options from BMW, that will give the car a much better stance.

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1639942290220 Motorist Mreview Bmw 3 Series 318i 3

The 318i comes with an automatic boot release and 480 litres of space. It’s carpeted too, preventing scratches on your precious cargo, although you may think twice when loading wet or dirty items.

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1639942628583 Motorist Mreview Bmw 3 Series 318i 2

In a world where corporate colours reign supreme, the sunburst orange is a breath of fresh air, and it complements the 318i well.

Overall, while a little plain, there’s nothing to hate about the 318i. It doesn’t try too hard to look garish or sporty, and honestly, it doesn’t need to. 

Marvellous Interior

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1639942748712 Motorist Mreview Bmw 3 Series 318i 6

As with all premium cars, you are treated to a cocoon of luxury once you step into the cabin. Even though the 318i is the base model of the 3 series line-up, it doesn’t detract from the luxury experience.

All of the touch-points and seats are fitted with premium Sensatec leather, and the front seats even come with adjustable bolster support, in the event you wish to take some corners more enthusiastically.

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1639942752651 Motorist Mreview Bmw 3 Series 318i 7

The rear seats are especially roomy, giving passengers ample amounts of headroom and legroom. You get a 3-zone aircon too, perfect for passengers who simply cannot agree with your preferred air-con settings.

The only glaring omission is the fancy wood trim pieces you get on other BMW models. But, let's be honest, that's not something that you'll dearly miss while being in this car.

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1639942879137 Motorist Mreview Bmw 3 Series 318i 8

Wireless Apple CarPlay & Android Auto work an absolute treat, and the BMW iDrive system is well refined, as you've would expect. Information can either be displayed on the 12.3-inch digital cluster, dubbed the BMW Live Cockpit Professional, or via the 10.25-inch entertainment screen.

Pretty much whatever you want in a BMW comes with the 318i. Wireless charging, Parking Assistant, the lot.

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1639942888226 Motorist Mreview Bmw 3 Series 318i 9

During our test drive, one of the best features that we love is the Comfort Access System. You just need to walk up to the car with your key in your possession, and the car automatically unlocks. 

Walk away, and it'll automatically lock behind you. It's a simple feature, but one that is so pleasingly convenient. 

Whimsical When It Wants To, Calm When It's Not

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1639942956900 Motorist Mreview Bmw 3 Series 318i 10

Even though this is detuned from the 320i, the 318i is no slouch. 0-100km/h happens in just 8.4 seconds, courtesy of its 2-litre Twinpower Turbo engine. Total output stands at 154bhp and 250Nm of torque.

The 318i is also very responsive in the corners, giving you the confidence to wring it around tight bends with relative ease. If you need to scrub speed quickly, the car is also equipped with ventilated discs both front and rear.

Safety and assistance systems are the same across all model variants currently offered. These include:

  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Lane Change Warning
  • Front Collision Warning with Brake Intervention
  • Crossing Traffic Warning Rear
  • Rear Collision Prevention
  • Speed Limit Info with Manual Speed Limit Assist

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1639942962077 Motorist Mreview Bmw 3 Series 318i 11

During our test, the 318i averaged 14.2km/L, which is pretty respectable considering we did not employ any frugal driving tactics. With more conservative driving, the 17.2km/L rating touted by BMW is definitely achievable.

Overall, the 318i is great on the roads. The most surprising thing about it is its ability to adapt to different driving styles. 

If you're the kind of person who employs more enthusiastic driving, the car is responsive and heeds to every pedal touch or steering input without fuss. 

On the other hand, if you're someone who just likes to cruise gently, the car becomes dignified and refined, ushering you away in comfort.

It's Fantastic At One Thing - Exceeding Expectations

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1639942969281 Motorist Mreview Bmw 3 Series 318i 12

So, is the 318i any good? Yes, it's very, very good. 

Considering that this is the entry-level model, the car is extremely well-equipped. At no point while driving or being a passenger in this 318i will you think, "Oh, this feels like a cheap BMW, it's not that nice". 

Truth be told, across the board the specs of the 318i do not differ much from its more expensive siblings. 

Plus, even though this does have a detuned engine, its no slouch. Plus, the price difference between it and the 320i more than makes up for its performance deficit. 

The availability of this then almost makes the 320i irrelevant, as far as pricing is concerned.

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1639943036005 Motorist Mreview Bmw 3 Series 318i 13

This entry-level 3 Series still isn't anywhere near cheap for a compact sedan. In fact, it's still the priciest offering in its class, trailing behind rivals such as the Mercedes C Class and Audi A4.

Yes, it is expensive. But, this is a 3 Series after all. You're not just buying a car, you're buying something that has BMW's rich heritage and dynamism. That comes with a certain level of "atas" status.

As far as entry models go, this is one fantastic package. If you happen to be in the market for a new BMW, and the 3 series is one of your considerations, then the choice is obvious.


Engine: 2.0 litre 4-cylinder in-line 16-valve TwinPower Turbocharged, Petrol

Power: 154 bhp

Torque: 250 Nm

Fuel Consumption: 17.2 km/L

0-100km/h: 8.4 Seconds

Top Speed: 223 km/h

Drivetrain: 8-speed (A) Steptronic; Rear-Wheel Drive

Brakes: Ventilated Discs (Front & Rear)

Wheelbase: 2,851 mm

Dimensions (LxWxH): 4,706 mm x 1,827 mm x 1,442 mm

Fuel Tank Capacity: 59 litres

Boot Capacity: 480 litres

Ambient Lighting (11 Light Designs)

Apple CarPlay & Android Auto

BMW Digital Key

BMW Live Cockpit Professional

BMW Connected Package Professional

BMW Online/Concierge Service

Sport Seats (Sensatec Upholstery)

Telephony with Wireless Charging

Editor’s Note: The car under review is a Singapore specification unit. Local variants may have differences in power and/or pruning options.

I want to find the highest selling price for my car within 24 hours!

Read more: 5 Telltale Signs A Vehicle is Not Accident-Free