2021 BMW 318i Sport Review | Philkotse Philippines

Updated Jul 12, 2021

Editor's: 4.2/5
Does it stay true to the BMW 3er formula that we have come to love?
2021 BMW 318i Sport Review | Philkotse Philippines

In this review...

  1. Introduction
  2. Understated elegance
  3. Logically designed
  4. Tech & Safety Review
  5. Engine & Performance Review
  6. Fuel Efficiency
  7. Verdict
  8. Variants & Price
  9. Specs

2021 BMW 318i Sport: Introduction

In my many years of reviewing cars, I’ve driven so many that I could imagine – from affordable econoboxes up to those I won’t be able to afford within the foreseeable future. From dream cars to the so-so ones, I’ve come into acquaintance with many heroes and villains; nameplates have come and gone my shortlist, but there’s this one German vehicle that won’t be scratched off of my list.

2021 BMW 318i Sport Full Review: Your first Bimmer? | Philkotse Philippines

I'm talking about the BMW 3 Series, which has been a want for me since my innocence in the ‘90s. But with the latest update coming from BMW, is the 3er still a Bimmer worth aspiring to own? Got the keys to the entry-level 318i Sport trim from BMW Philippines and here are my thoughts.

4.2/5

BMW 318I 2021 Review

How we do our reviews
  • aesthetics
    4.5/5

    Overall exterior & Interior design, build quality, form vs function

  • Safety & Technology
    4.0/5

    Number of safety & tech features, consistency during usage

  • Performance
    4.0/5

    Power delivery, acceleration, transmission, suspension, handling

  • Comfort & Practicality
    4.0/5

    Overall Ride Comfort, Space, Storage Areas

  • Value for Money
    4.5/5

    Sticker price vs overall package

2021 BMW 318i Sport Exterior Review: Understated elegance

One of the things I love about the 3 Series is its compactness. By no means the G20 3er is a small sedan – it is bigger than the Civic but smaller than the Accord (but has a longer wheelbase than the latter, more on this later) – but BMW has managed to keep it compact by German standards.

A picture of the BMW 318i Sport's side

The BMW 318i Sport from the side

I love the 3er’s understated elegance. Yet, this particular Sport Line trim manages to look sporty with black accents found all over, plus the athletic proportions (relatively wide body, long hood, and short deck) and solid shark’s fin antenna and trunk lid shape combination. The ever-present Hofmeister Kink and the timeless design execution keep the character on course for this sedan, and here’s to hoping it stays that way in the generations to come.

Four things I appreciate with this entry-level model: scarce chrome, good-looking 18-inch two-tone rims, taillights that mimic the 7 Series flagship’s, and the set of LEDs. With these employed, the 318i Sport doesn’t look like a base model at all.

A picture of the BMW 318i Sport's rear end

Check out the 318i Sport's'rear end

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2021 BMW 318i Sport Interior Review: Logically designed

For an entry-level variant, the 318i Sport impresses with its cabin amenities, albeit more in the logical sense. I was hard-pressed to find hard plastics in the cabin, except maybe for the generous amount of scratch-prone piano blacks. Everything else is supple, plus buttons and switches return great haptic feedback. The type of synthetic leather used is highly notable – it has a textured finish yet the cushioning’s plush. One simple trait present in BMWs (and the Supra) is the intuitive clustering of controls, which allows for a great overall driving experience.

A picture of the interior of the BMW 318i Sport's interior

The 318i Sport's well-arranged cockpit

There’s a bevy of adjustments for the driver and front passenger seats, including bolster adjustments for the one behind the tiller, though the rear isn’t the best place to be in. Despite the 3er’s long wheelbase, space at the back isn’t stellar for taller individuals. Add the fact that there isn’t any foldable center armrest and the transmission tunnel’s too tall for your feet’s freedom.

Then again, the three-zone climate control acts as a saving grace as rear passengers would have a say on the temperature in the rear cabin.

A picture of the BMW 318i Sports' rear cabin

The BMW-made sedan's rear cabin

As for the trunk, the 480L volume’s quite massive for expected use and more, though long items aren’t possible since the rear backrests don't fold. At least the trunk opens with a touch of a button.

2021 BMW 318i Sport: Tech & Safety Review

The BMW 318i Sport’s instrument cluster has a digital display at the center, while the dials, albeit analog, are the most digital-looking dials I’ve ever seen. Or are they digital?

Everything’s practically electronic in the 318i Sport, including the parking brake and the heaven-sent auto hold. The right side mirror even tilts down automatically when on reverse. Other standard safety toys expected on a luxury vehicle are present as well, so I don’t have to list them down.

A picture of the BMW 318i Sport's infotainment system

The 8.8-inch BMW iDrive infotainment system

The crown of the cabin is the 8.8-inch BMW iDrive infotainment system that has good-looking icons and fonts. It doesn’t have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but iPhone integration’s fairly seamless whether via Bluetooth or USB. The screen also doubles as a crisp display for the rear cameras and a graphic representation of the proximity sensors.

Two qualms, though: there isn’t wireless charging despite the icon on the storage pad, while the charging ports are mostly USB-Cs so it’s either you upgrade to iPhone 12, buy a USB-C to Lightning cable, or switch to the latest Android. But that shouldn’t be an issue if you have the means to buy a BMW, right?

2021 BMW 318i Sport: Engine & Performance Review

Despite having the least powerful 2.0-liter four-pot of the range, the 318i wasn’t lackluster with its road manners. The unremarkable 156hp and 250Nm torque didn't seem to be an issue, and that’s thanks largely to the lively 8-speed automatic transmission. Whether I let it shift on its own, or do so via the gear lever (sorry, no paddle shifters here), the torque converter gearbox knew exactly when I need power. Plus with a twin-scroll turbo employed, torque’s readily available early in the rev range with barely noticeable lag.

A picture of the BMW 318i Sport's engine

The BMW 318i Sport's turbocharged inline-4 gasoline engine

Out on long drives or within the city, the 318i isn’t cumbersome to drive at all, even with the non-stellar power figures.

Another notable trait would be the 318i’s handling. The steering’s assisted yet obedient, and the rolls were controlled at reasonable lengths. Ride comfort’s top-notch, brought about by the quiet cabin and stable ride even at speeds. At this point, I'm struggling to find any major qualm on the short test drive, although a longer one would have given me more time to fall in love with the car. Consider this an infatuation.

2021 BMW 318i Sport: Fuel Efficiency

The BMW 318i Sport has three drive modes (Normal, Sport, and Eco Pro), but I wasn’t really keen on switching between them during tests.

With that said, driving within the city while switching between Normal and Sport modes, I was able to clock in 9.2 km/l. Out on the open highway, I got 18.1 km/l with the cruise control nailed at 90 km/h.

Of note, these are notable numbers for a sporty luxury sedan, taken with only two people on board.

2021 BMW 318i Sport: Verdict

What makes a Bimmer a Bimmer? Rear-wheel-drive, superb handling, and premium cabin – all these make for an Ultimate Driving Machine. After a few days with the 318i Sport, I’m glad to report that all these are present even on an entry-level model.

Another picture of the front of the BMW 318i Sport

So, what's your opinion on this Bimmer?

Never mind the unemotional design execution as you enter the car – it’s still your entry point if you want a BMW sedan that still runs on the rear axle, a true Bimmer through and through. It’s the Goldilocks zone of BMW sedans, a great choice if you want a balance of sporty, comfort, and elegance.

Even better, at the current promo price of P2,990,000 (until June 30, 2021), the 318i Sport is a bargain compared against its German rivals like the Mercedes C-Class and the Audi A4. That price comes with a 5-year warranty and all the things that come with driving a BMW, more so, a 3 Series.

2021 BMW 318i Sport: Variants & Price

BMW 3-Series Variants
Price
318i Sport
Php 3,190,000
M340i XDrive
Php 5,490,000

2021 BMW 318i Sport: Specs

Overall
Make
BMW
Name
318i Sport
Body Type
Executive sedan
Dimensions and Weight
Length
4,709mm
Width
1,827mm
Height
1,435mm
Engine and Transmission
Type
2.0-liter BMW twin-scroll turbo
Max Power
156 horsepower
Max Torque
250 Nm
Transmission
8-speed automatic w/ Steptronic
Chassis and Suspension
Brakes (Front/rear)
Disc/Disc
Suspension (Front/rear)
MacPherson Strut/Multi-Link
Wheels and Tires
18-inch alloy wheels w/ run-flat tires
Exterior
LED headlamps w/ auto function
LED front fog lamps
LED taillights
Automatic tailgate
Rain-sensing wipers
Automatic headlight function
Interior
Ambient lighting
Automatic 3-zone air-conditioning
Electronically adjustable front seats
8.8-inch touchscreen w/ BMW Live Cockpit
5.5-inch instrument cluster display
Cruise control w/ braking function
Leather-wrapped sports seats
Leather steering wheel
HiFi loudspeaker system
Safety and Security
Dual-front airbags, side front airbags
Anti-lock braking
Speed-sensing door locks
Dynamic Stability Control and Dynamic Traction Control
Engine immobilizer
Follow-me home function for headlamps
ISOFIX
Engine Immobilizer
Rear parking camera and parking assistant
Parking sensors
Jacob Oliva

Jacob Oliva

Author

Jacob is a motoring journalist and the Content Manager of Philkotse.com. A recipient of the Henry Ford Awards in 2019, he currently has a column under Wheels, the motoring section of The Philippine Star. He's also an editor for Motor1.com, a leading global automotive website.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jacobosing/

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