I think at 17 you should hold off on an M3. I dont know you personally, so all i can do is state that when i was 17 an M3 would have been a bad idea. Now i understand some people are more mature then others at this age, but i would hold off on it. Please not that although the body styles are similiar, not all parts are interchangable. Most M3 parts are slightly more expensive for this reason.
I can understand why you want to switch, as the 318 is quite underpowered, but you would be better off with a facelift E36 328i. I wouldnt say an M3 has "3x" the power, as the US ones only have 280hp, while a 328i has 190hp and the 318 has 127hp.
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