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Old 07-06-2019, 03:28 PM   #1
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Default Why so much hate for compacts?

I'm puzzling something out here. We all love our cars but we're all also aware that they're some of the most unappreciated BMWs in history...though I'm sure the new FWD 2 series will take that cake in a few years.


They're just e30s that look like e36s. They have OBD2 which is so much better. They have the same rear trailing arm suspension. Which is funny because that's one of the things that make e30s fun to drive; but in TIs it's known as old, outdated, crappy suspension. The interior is simple, minimal, and e30 reminiscent. Yeah, they're a step down from the rest of the e36s, a lot have cloth interiors, but I'd be willing to bet they're just as fun to drive.

And they're so mechanically similar to the Z cars, which are supposedly pinnacles of BMW's engineering. I just don't get it.
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Old 07-06-2019, 09:51 PM   #2
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I had mine at a show this morning and it got lots of love.
'96 318ti California Edition- Montreal blue
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Old 07-07-2019, 01:12 PM   #3
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I've only seen forum trolls say stuff like that. In real life I've had lots of people come up and compliment me on the ti and talk about how good it looks and how practical it is.

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Old 07-10-2019, 08:04 AM   #4
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I think the reasons for dislike are mostly centered in ignorance of the compact because they most likely have no personal experience with the E36 compact.

But I would say there are four specific reasons the ti gets hate:
- It is an economy car (talking about "BMW snobs")
- The hatch looks "weird/different" - for those used to the regular coupe/sedan lines
- The U.S. never got a 6-cylinder version
- The rear suspension is old technology (trailing arms vs multi-link)

My experience with my 318ti has been more similar to spidertri and FunElan in that I get more people interested and want a look or ask about it precisely because it is not the typical E36.

I had to bring my 318ti to the BMW dealer to get a verification of stock DME for my swap and I had more than a few workers come out to say how they used to have a compact, miss it, or were just curious. (My 318ti isn't even a super clean example!)

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Old 07-10-2019, 12:32 PM   #5
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Interesting story: At the Genesee Valley Chapter (GVC) BMW drivers school at Watkins Glen in June, I took the ti (that's where I spun the bearing on the 2nd day) and the inspections were done by mechanics from The Little Speed Shop from Rochester NY. The guy doing mine loved the ti right off the bat! I was in line with other much more coveted M3's, Porsches, etc. and this guy was only interested in the ti. Telling some of the other workers there to take a look at it. When I was done he put his hand on the roof of the car and said "Whoa! This is a California Roof! I've never seen one before, only heard of them. Wow! That's really cool!" So I think it just depends on who you are around and their actual knowledge of BMW's. I am starting to wonder if the ti's are going to start increasing in popularity in the next few years like the good examples of the E30's have recently. I know a few years ago you could pick up a good example of an E30 318is pretty cheap, now they are pretty darn expensive. Either way I love mine and am really missing driving it while I look for a donor E36.
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