My 1997 BMW 318ti Is Actually A Cargo Van

Image for article titled My 1997 BMW 318ti Is Actually A Cargo Van

Photo: Jalopnik / José Rodríguez Jr.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. That’s what Elizabeth Barrett Browning asked of her lover in Sonnet 43. If I’d written the lines, I’d have gone with Sonnet 36 (or e36) as a nod to my 1997 BMW 318ti, which saved my wife and I more than once when we moved recently. We went from a small space to a rental I think is way too big. But not so big the ‘ti couldn’t double as a U-haul.

Baby got hatch! It turns out the cargo space of the 318ti was bigger than even I expected — once the parcel shelf is out and split seats are down. It’s deceptively spacious! As a reference, here’s my car with two Nissans for scale:

Image for article titled My 1997 BMW 318ti Is Actually A Cargo Van

Photo: Jalopnik / José Rodríguez Jr.

As part of the move, the 318ti has so far transported a 65” television from Costco, two mountain bikes in frame sizes small without removing any wheels, a bunch of exercise equipment (free weights, benches, bars) that I’ll never use and a cushy Ikea ottoman big enough to fully fill the space in a reading nook.

That’s besides the backseat full of odds and ends from Ikea you’re forced to buy any time you go, plus a lot of random crap you only ever see when you’re moving, which I’m convinced manifests solely to test your ability to keep packing an overstuffed car, and then disappears when you finally finish moving.

Image for article titled My 1997 BMW 318ti Is Actually A Cargo Van

Photo: Jalopnik / José Rodríguez Jr.

Image for article titled My 1997 BMW 318ti Is Actually A Cargo Van

Photo: Jalopnik / José Rodríguez Jr.

I was sweating bullets on the last IKEA run. After hours and hours of picking out and measuring furniture, sitting on couch after couch, then trying out ottomans, wingback chairs, loveseats and benches before finally ringing it up (wincing at the total) and emerging into the waning light of day, I realized I had driven to San Antonio from the Rio Grande Valley with a full size spare in the hatch and a low-profile jack and cross wrench wedged under it. Fuck me.

I’d either have to return a bunch of stuff, or tear into the biggest box and take the ottoman home without any packaging. I shoved the front seats up, as I had done with the TV, and prayed; there are no atheists in IKEA. And it fit!

Image for article titled My 1997 BMW 318ti Is Actually A Cargo Van

Photo: Jalopnik / José Rodríguez Jr.

Image for article titled My 1997 BMW 318ti Is Actually A Cargo Van

Photo: Jalopnik / José Rodríguez Jr.

I mentioned the rental size because the space needed more furniture than we had. We sold a working TV that was dwarfed by the additional space around it in the new place. Then added benches and rugs everywhere to cheat the space.

I’m happy with the least amount of square feet I can burrow in. That’s part of why I daily a 318ti in the first place; it’s cozy. It just happens to be a spacious rear-wheel drive hatch with a five-speed stick and inline-four that loves to rev. The 318ti is like your memory: it holds objects larger than itself. Once you pop the hatch, it’s cargo city! How do I love thee? Let me count the cubic feet.

Image for article titled My 1997 BMW 318ti Is Actually A Cargo Van

Photo: Jalopnik / José Rodríguez Jr.

 

Reference-jalopnik.com

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