There was a period, back in the 1990s, when BMW made a compact, rear-wheel drive (RWD) hatchback. It was called the “3 Series Compact” globally, and the official name for it here in North America was the 318ti — the “t” added to distinguish it from the 318i, which was a 4-cylinder BMW sedan.
The 318ti wasn’t popular, as it was far more expensive than other hatchbacks, and you rarely see them today. But here’s a really nice one: a 1996 318ti with a manual transmission and just 86,000 miles on the odometer. It also boasts cloth seats, which really gets it in with the “entry-level BMW” crowd.
This 318ti is finished in silver with dark gray cloth, and it really does look nice. It would also be a great starting point for a fun build, as these weighed only 2,600 pounds, making them by far the lightest version of the E36 3 Series. The manual transmission helps, and so does the relatively low mileage, though I personally would swap out the engine for an M3 powerplant and really create a sleeper.
If you’re interested in doing just that, this E36 318ti is offered by Central Autos in Castle Rock, Colorado, south of Denver, for $7,977 — and it really is likely you won’t find a cheaper 318ti, no matter how hard you search. Find a BMW 318ti for sale