5 things BMW surprised us with the base 318i

BY Joel Tam

Is the base 3 Series good enough? You bet! We found five features that we didn't expect to see in the 318i sedan.

Base model cars tend to be the stripped out versions of their more 'well endowed' siblings. They're usually cars that you 'buy for the badge' rather than what the car has to offer. 

The entry-level 3 Series is far from that though.

Aside from its handsome looks, we found five things that the 318i really took us by surprise. Here they are:

1. The 2.0-litre engine. What we expected was the brand's 1.5 3-cylinder engine, but no, with the 318i you get a B48 2-litre 4-cylinder power unit that pumps out 156 PS and 250 Nm of torque. A reflash would easily push it above 200 bhp, but otherwise, it's really all you need. 0-100 km/h is done in 8.4 seconds and it will hit a 223 km/h top speed.

2. The fully digital instrument dash. A lot of what you'll find in the larger BMW models comes standard in this 318i. The BMW Live Cockpit Professional consists of a techy digital 12.3” instrument display with multiple layout options.

3. The fully digital control console. We've split this up with the digital dash simply because most brands do exactly that - they break up the options and make you pay more for stuff or upgrade to the better models if you want the features. Not this car. The high-resolution 10.25” control display with navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay, traffic news, local-news updates (and more) are all part of the car. The centre console below also comes with a wireless charging phone compartment.

4. Remote boot. Simple but oh-so-convenient and nice to have. I've come to a point where I'm so lazy that this is a must-have for me, and the 318i has it!

5. Twin exhaust tailpipes. All other G20 3 Series models already have the dual exhaust tips, but we expected the 318i to have only one. Nope. It has two sporty chrome pipes that give it the same look as the 320i - sexy!

So the 318i is really a well-packaged car. Did we forget to mention that it's also a fairly large car, only 20-odd cm shorter than the old (F10) 5 Series? All that, and the fact that it's priced at a fraction under SGD 200k (depending on COE), sets up the 318i to be a solid choice for those making an entrance into premium motoring.