My BMW 318ti compact

More about my car history and how I found this car, and why i bought it can be found here.

By BMW 318ti compact (E46 model) was built in early 2002. It is equipped with the 2.0L N42B20 Valvetronic engine which develops 143 HP and 200 Nm of torque, and the five-speed manual gearbox. The color is Topas Blue metallic. It is equipped with close to € 10,000 in options, which include (you can check factory options by entering the car’s VIN number on this page – German prices can be found here):

  • Multifunction sport steering wheel (which means cruise control)
  • Navigation Business system (a € 2,000 option at the time, navigation computer with CD drive is in the trunk, arrow display only)
  • Telephone (comes with wireless handheld phone, 900 MHz only and requires a credit card sized SIM Card)
  • Automatic air conditioning
  • Leather seats
  • Style 45 wheels

For inexplicable reasons, someone forgot to check the “sport seats” option. The navigation system is of course a gimmick with its lack of map display and outdated map data (it came with a 2013 CD, 2015 is the last year BMW provided updates for the CD-based systems), but it actually works. To make use of the phone I would have to get a second SIM card, I don’t know whether that’s worth the effort. An FM transmitter with hands-free capability or a Dension Gateway to connect to my cell phone is probably the better investment.

The N42 engine does not have the best reputation. It was BMW’s first Valvetronic engine. From what I’ve read, it is a bit picky concerning oil and definitely needs full synthetic BMW approved LL-01 or LL-04 oil, with Mobil 1 0W40 getting good reviews. It also doesn’t like lots of short distance driving due to the effect on oil and subsequent issues with the Valvetronic system. My engine appears to be free of oil sludge, a good sign, and I’ll try to keep it this way by driving longer distances, and using good oil. It also has none of the ticking noises sometimes associated with Valvetronic problems.

I’m actually quite surprised by the engine’s low-end torque. Where my E36 316i (M43 engine) would barely accelerate around 1500rpm, this one is doing fine. 4th gear at city speeds is no problem at all. This is of course offset by higher rpms at highway speeds, I think around 3600rpm at 130kph, which is almost twice what my (6-speed, Diesel, very long final gearing for low fuel consumption) Peugeot 308 does at the same speed. I would not be surprised if top speed is right at the rev limiter in 5th gear.

The car came with the common, but a bit boring, style 45 wheels (see here or here for more information on BMW wheel styles). I knew immediately that I wanted the style 42 cross-spoke wheels (made by BBS if I’m not mistaken) that were an option on the car originally. I contacted sellers in Belgium, Germany, and the Northern Netherlands, but then I got lucky. I saw an ad from a guy who had just gotten a like-new set for his like-new 323ti, wanted to get rid of his decent condition set for a reasonable price, and lived only 15km away. They now sit under my car with new ContiPremiumContact 5 rubber in 205/55 16. 225s would be possible, but I think they only make sense for track use. 


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