Back in January, we pondered if BMW Philippines will be selling the 318i in the country sooner or later. After all, the local 3 Series line-up consists of the 330i and 320i, but there isn't a variant to compete with the Mercedes-Benz C180 and Audi A4 1.4 TFSI. But the company has rectified that with the introduction of the lowest-priced 3 Series in the country.

After a seven-year absence, the BMW 318i has returned to local showrooms. The all-new 318i no longer uses the three-cylinder turbo engine from the previous generation. It reverts to a turbocharged four-cylinder mill, which is essentially a de-tuned version of the one found in the 320i.

BMW 318i launched locally, starts at Php image

So instead of 136 PS, the new 318i now packs 156 PS, an improvement of 20 horsepower. Torque is up by 20 Nm too, from 220 Nm to 250 Nm. These figures put it right on par with its closest rival, the Mercedes-Benz C180 and Audi A4 TFSI. The only transmission choice is an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual mode (Steptronic).

It doesn't look too different from the 320i we had tested right before lockdown either. BMW Philippines had equipped the local-spec 318i with the Sport Line package. That means it has 18-inch V-spoke alloy wheels, gloss black window trimmings, and blacked-out corner air inlets. The only thing that gives it away as a 318i is its badge on the trunk.

BMW 318i launched locally, starts at Php image

Inside, the 318i Sport Line is equipped with the latest-generation iDrive 7.0 software, and it adds sportier accents throughout the cabin while the rest of the interior trimmed in leather. It also has automatic dipping mirrors inside and out, power-adjustable seats with memory, plus a tri-zone automatic climate control and cruise control.

Prices for the BMW 318i Sport Line starts at Php 3,190,000 which is a whopping 600,000 less than the 320i Sport Line (Php 3,790,000). There is another new version of the 3 Series available, and we'll be telling you all about it later on.