Our classifieds search continues! The last time we compared two vehicles from the BMW CCA Classifieds, it was two modern diesels. This week we’re also diving into two vehicles less common to the U.S. market, but at a more reasonable price point.

In 1993, as the E30’s final convertible iterations were being phased out, BMW was pushing hard for a new variation of the new E36. It had the ingredients for a potent platform—less weight, an M42 four-cylinder, and rear-wheel-drive. It was also the first non-wagon hatchback BMW had produced since the 2002 Touring.

Yes, it’s the E36 318ti (or “Compact” in other markets, hence the title). These seem to be love-hate cars in the community, with a passionate following of enthusiast owners and a healthy group of non-owners to constantly throw shade on that following for driving an E36 that looks like it’s been backed into a wall.

The example we’re looking at today seems to be the peak of a driver-oriented 318ti, a 1995 with a limited-slip differential, clean body, clean interior, Koni suspension, E36 M3-spec “M Contour” wheels, and of course the five-speed manual. It lacks the M3 bumpers frequently installed on these cars, but those are just an eBay (or BMW CCA Classifieds!) search away.

Mileage is shockingly low, at just 82,000 miles. The price for all this rarity? $8,495, which is on the high side for a 318ti, but puts it squarely in the range of another interesting body style, this time from BMW’s MINI brand. 

When MINI (despite Satch’s best efforts, we’re using BMW’s chosen brand identity of all-caps for the MINI name) updated the Cooper to create the second-generation hatchback, it also made another variation in the form of the Clubman. The R55 Clubman was the modern interpretation of the original Countryman (slightly confusing, given the later use of the Countryman name)—a wagon with split-opening rear doors and a longer wheelbase for slightly more cargo room and interior space. It’s a car for people who want a very specific wagon-like vehicle, but still the driving dynamics they love from MINI (and I should admit, I’m a fan of the formula).

The 2008 MINI Cooper S Clubman we’re looking at today is not the cream-of-the-crop JCW, but it does appear to be an enthusiast-spec car. It’s a turbocharged S model, and a six-speed manual putting that power down to the front wheels. It’s also covered just 88,000 miles; the owner is asking $8,250, putting it right in the range of the 318ti we were looking at earlier.

So, two low-mileage cars separated by $200 and thirteen years. If it were your money, which would you choose? Let us know in the comments down below, and if you have any suggestions from the BMW CCA Classifieds you’d like to see compared, let us know those as well!—David Rose



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