Blog: E36 318Ti Build: Intro


E36 318Ti Build: Intro

Let me roll into this series with a small intro: I'm a sleeper BMW enthusiast, G-force addict, and engineer at 22RPD. I will be using this blog to provide updates to projects, technical information, and hopefully some inspiration. My goal is to update this 318ti series at least once every two weeks with a healthy dose of substantial and aesthetic progress. I was looking for a fun and cheap daily to keep miles off of my E46 M3, when I stumbled upon this listing for an E36 318ti. Until now, I had never given much mind to these little cars, and like many others, had an initial condescension towards them.

What an awkward looking car, nobody will take this seriously. This cheap base model wasn't made to have fun with, it's probably slow. - My inner conscience

Things started to change the moment I first approached the car. I realized that in many aspects this thing is no different from the classic E36 that is so widely built upon for track/drift/street, but with one KEY difference; weight. The factory curb weight of the car is 2734lb, and wait a minute, is that really over 400lbs less than the E36 M3 I used to have so much fun with? Ive always been a believer that weight balance/reduction is the best way to improve every aspect of a cars performance, and here I am, standing next to an E36 that is in essence already at the weight of a nearly fully stripped M3. This is the point where I begin to understand what the Ti is all about, and I cant help but wonder, whats the limit here? How much better can this get? Am I even onto something or are people right that these cars aren't meant for fun?

This blog is going to be the blank slate upon which I test this theory. Hypothesis: The 318ti has the potential, if not more, to hang with its bigger and less deformed siblings.

Now, of course there are some clear disadvantages when compared with a 325/328/M3:

  • Lack of power - My M42 put down 127 whp and 125 wtq on the dyno, while an M3 will effortlessly double that figure with some light modifications

  • Rear suspension design - The compact uses the design and geometry out of the older E30, which offers no alignment adjustability from the factory, and is known for its aggressive camber curve.

  • Tiny brakes - Even compared to the base 6cyl 325i, the compact boasts microscopic NON-vented rotors, which will lead to overheating and fade when pushed.




Front Rotor (mm)




Rear Rotor (mm)




Stay tuned for the next blog posts to see how I tackle each of these drawbacks!

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