2021 BMW 318i Sport Review | Philkotse Philippines

Updated Jun 03, 2021

Editor's: 4.0/5
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.

4.0/5

BMW 318I 2021 Review

How we do our reviews
  • aesthetics
    4.50/5

    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
    4.50/5

    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 one of the premier motoring journalists in the Philippines. A former musician and a corporate slave, he took the leap of faith amid his twenties and started his writing career as a news and features writer for AutoDeal. It was there where he made his way up to become the chief editor and senior car reviewer before he left the company in 2020.

Right now, Jacob serves as the Content Manager of Philkotse. You may also read his insights about the local automotive industry in his column under Wheels, the motoring section of Philippine Star. A recipient of the Henry Ford Awards in 2019, Jacob is also the weekend editor for Motor1, a leading global automotive website.

Jacob has started his adoration for cars at an early age through his father’s Jeep Wrangler and his older brother’s Nissan Sentra. He currently has a soft spot in his heart for the latest version of the Suzuki Jimny, so don’t be surprised to see him one day driving a black or gray mini-SUV – bone-stock but with upgraded tires and rims.

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