enjoy the good MPG handling and good excelleration when taken care of. Upgrade the chip, intake, exhaust, short shifter, throttle body and you will have a very nice car with fairly good exceleration and speed. The handling is the best of the 3 series both E36 and E46. I take a set of twisties near my house at about 60 with eas. I test drove my friends E46 330 and it can barly take them at 40. Although at those speeds the chasis twist (need a strut bar)
When you buy your 318 you MUST change the spark plugs&wires, oil&filter, fuel filter, O2 sensor, and air filter ASAP. This is th emajor cause as to why many people think that a 318 is beyond slow. There not as fast as the other 3 series but not slow.
If your stuborn about uping to a 325 or 328 then have the engine balanced and a port & polish. Keep it at 1.8L and take it to autocross to have fun.