1986 BMW 3 Series User Reviews

1986 BMW 3 Series Review Ratings

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Average Ratings from 42 reviews

  • Performance:4.1 out of 5 stars4.1 out of 5 stars4.1 out of 5 stars4.1 out of 5 stars4.1 out of 5 stars 4.1 / 5
  • Appearance:3.7 out of 5 stars3.7 out of 5 stars3.7 out of 5 stars3.7 out of 5 stars3.7 out of 5 stars 3.7 / 5
  • Build Quality:4.4 out of 5 stars4.4 out of 5 stars4.4 out of 5 stars4.4 out of 5 stars4.4 out of 5 stars 4.4 / 5
  • Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars4.5 out of 5 stars4.5 out of 5 stars4.5 out of 5 stars4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 / 5

Review Highlights Click to filter reviews below

PROS
"ride" 16 reviews
"power" 16 reviews
"handling" 8 reviews
"fuel economy" 7 reviews
"build quality" 5 reviews
CONS
"power" 11 reviews
"fuel economy" 4 reviews
"gearbox" 2 reviews
"expensive part" 2 reviews
"expensive car" 2 reviews

User Reviews

Displaying 1 - 10 of 42 1986 BMW 3 Series reviews.

Daichi writes:
1986 BMW 3 Series 325 Review
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5

Pros

(Personal) Looks, driving and handling characteristics, fuel economy.
(Other) The ease with which it can be modified to fit a variety of modern engines and transmissions, along with a whole host of other modifications.  Then there's that one guy that swapped in an FORD small-block V8 and did 12.56 (or was it 13?) down the 1/4 mile.
Besides, it's the car I was being ferried around in at age 2.  Now I sit in the OTHER seat......

Cons

Horse power.  Just can't get mid to high end torque for acceleration without sacrificing the awesome gas mileage.

155

Daily Driver That Can Afford A Little Fixing Up Now And Then. — Granted the fact that we are talking about a 25 year-old car; Performance is acceptable for its age though acceleration past 60 gets tough on freeways but not impossible. A lot of low-end torque means that drifting and burning out come pretty easily so care must be taken when accelerating from a stop. Braking is good but over the years the rotors have gone wobbly and should be replaced for its longevity. The build quality is excellent for a four door sedan that weighs in at 1.2 tons. I personally haven't heard any squeaks or rattles until recently when the factory installed lower arm bushings started to give. Styling is of the old 80's theme and will probably be looked down on from most modern car fans, especially with the plastic and vinyl interior that starts to fade and crack if not garage kept. Gas mileage is a whopping 23-28 MPG CITY depending on conditions of both the surroundings and the car. Some with the same make have reported 45MPG on the highway...... Maintenance goes up like the curve on an exponential graph with age, but this probably applies to all old cars. Unusually enough, the 4door sedan variant of this car has a Front to Rear weight dispersion ratio of roughly 50:50 so is easy to handle, even on the toughest of hairpins (<-NOT me), and very easy to spin, coupled with the quick pickup on cold days makes this car a joy to drive (city) in my humble opinion.

Primary Use: Commuting to work

13 of 14 people found this review helpful.
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andrewtompsett writes:
1986 BMW 3 Series 325e Review
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5

Pros

- affordable
- quick
- powerful
- fun to drive

Cons

- stereo is terrible
- rev-limiter needs to be re-chipped immediately

andrewtompsett
75

An Absolutely Amazing Machine For Those Who Love To Drive! — This is a brilliant vehicle. Loads of torque, combined with decent horsepower, means that this car will fly off the line. It handles very well in the corners, but does have a bit of an over-steering challenge. With the right tires and the optional rear wing, it will grip the road without any issue. Zero to 100 MPH is lightening quick with lots of room in the gears to have more... as long as you have the 5-speed manual. If you buy the automatic, well, don't. In terms of maintenance, this is an affordable vehicle to own. Parts are plentiful and within a decent price range. There are lots of upgrades available if you want to modify the car (first upgrade, change the rev-limiter chip). The best part, it's actually a car you can work on yourself if you want to get your hands dirty. Air and cruise control are mandatory for long trips. There's plenty of trunk space for all of your gear. I highly recommend spending the time to replace the stock radio. It's very easy to mount a sub in the truck, upgrade all of the speakers, and add in a good stereo. So, bottom line: if you want a fun car, good on fuel (when you stay off the pedal), great handling, affordable to maintain, then this is the car.

Primary Use: Sport/fun (spirited driving, track racing, off-roading, etc.)

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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Adam writes:
1986 BMW 3 Series 325e Review
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5

Pros

Moster Torque for Engine Size, Timeless Looks, Great Build Quality.

Cons

Expensive Parts

65

Frankenstein Eta — Best Sports Saloon ever built. Monster low end torque, leading to good trap speeds, and 0 - 100 times. If you decide to swap teh engine head to a 323i part, then it transforms the cars character into a real sport car, essentially creating a 327i. Classic, timeless looks, direct intuitive steering. SHEER DRIVING PLEASURE.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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Raleigh writes:
1986 BMW 3 Series 325es Review
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4

Pros

Fun to drive, comfortable, small and I like it that way.

Cons

Lots of upkeep, kind of slow.

45

Great Car To Drive, Not To Upkeep. — Braking - excellent, Handling - excellent, Acceleration - needs improvement. Driving around town, at low speeds, you need to give it more gas than I expected, but has plenty of passing and highway power! Build quality is great for a 1980s car! Needs lots of maintenance to keep reliable, like all BMWs. Uses very little gas and it's very fun to drive with the manual trans and lsd. If I didn't drive it so quickly, I'm sure it would get more than 30mpg. I wouldn't recommend this car to someone who knows little or nothing about cars.

Primary Use: Commuting to work

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Eric writes:
1986 BMW 3 Series 325e Review
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5

Pros

great handling, reliable engine, easy to work on, rear wheel drive

Cons

AC never worked, low on power

35

My Beloved 325e — The 325e was the baby 6 cyclinder 3 series. 127 hp out of a 2.7 litre 12 valve inline 6. So engine performance wasn't what it could be, although the 177 ft/lbs of torque made up for the lack of power to some extent. What I eventually came to love about this car is that it was rear wheel drive (which I'm now hopelessly addicted to), and the fully independent suspension and light weight made it a very capable handler. The automatic transmission did give up the ghost shortly after I got it, but I converted it to a 5 speed which made it even better. This being my first car however I'm almost required to love it to death despite its many faults, but it did have many redeeming qualities that I still look for in new cars even today.

Primary Use: Commuting to work

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Steven writes:
1986 BMW 3 Series 325 Review
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Performance:
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3

Pros

AWD + It's a BMW

Cons

Old + Unreliable + Hard to find parts

45

Cheap — It was free, but not worth it. Once you get a car this old it's hard to find parts for, and the more you put into it, the more expensive it is until you wonder if it was cheaper to buy a better car to begin with. The performance was decent, although the 2.5 L 168 hp (@ 6500 rpm) V6 engine is a bit dated compared to modern cars (28 more HP than a 2010 Honda Civic). 0- 62 in 9.7 secs isn't exactly stellar, but it's not terrible either. One important thing to note that since it was an 325xi meant that it had all wheel drive (unusual) and that it was also a coup. Since it was free, it needed alot of work done, and in the end it got junked...but if you find one in decent condition by all means try to get it functional, but remember that the cost of the car + repair probably should not equal the price of a new car if it's going to be your daily driver.

Primary Use: Commuting to work

2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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Onn writes:
1986 BMW 3 Series Review
Appearance:
Performance:
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Overall:
5

Pros

everyithing

Cons

Heating problems.

35

Bmw 316, 1986, Review — I loved the car so much. It used to throw it's butt from side to side very easily with a little twist on the steering wheel when you're on a low gear. It lacked some power though, and I would have been happier to have a 325.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Matt writes:
1986 BMW 3 Series 325es Review
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Performance:
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Overall:
5

Pros

nice sound, good acceleration, corners well.  the seat although cold in the morning are comfortable.

Cons

i need more power, or a bigger engine.

45

Most Fun Ive Ever Had In A Car. — this car is the first bmw i have owned, so far i only been driving through the winter and now being able to drive on dry pavement, i love more and more each day. i usually go out and drive it, because i love driving and that car makes it more enjoyable.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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playbass52 writes:
1986 BMW 3 Series 325es Review
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5

Pros

I just got this car from another car guy for $2400 and I love it, it's a blast to drive, easy to work on and from what I have heard so far will last forever if I do routine maintainance.  It is smooth on the highway, and even though the cruise doesn't work (yet) it is easy to keep steady speed, it does run smooth though and i really want to wind it up, at 65 it barely hits 2000 rpm,  even with 250,xxx miles on it everything is in really good shape and works, even the sunroof doesn't leak!!! amazing for a 26 year old car.  Would love some help getting info on the display on the computer I can only read it in direct sunlight, is there supposed to be a backlight on the LCD display?

Cons

so far the only negative is it seems to be very particular as to where I get gas for it, don't know if this is typical but if i get some bad gas it takes 2-3 tankfuls before it quits surging nan rough idle, it may be the ethenol blend that everyone is using

playbass52
25

Fun, Comfy, Great Mid-life Crisis Car (and Cheaper Than A Vette Or Viper...way Cheaper) — overall it is a really good car, just a few minor tings to repair, one light out on instrument cluster and have to get new cogs for the odometer, diagnose and repair cruise control, has the quirky intermittent short in the left tailight and brakelight, think it's the panel that the bulbs go in, and cannot read the display on computer except in direct light, I enjoy working on this car everything is easy to get to and it makes sense

Primary Use: Commuting to work

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Ted writes:
1986 BMW 3 Series 325 Review
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3

Pros

awd turbo, need i say more?

Cons

still a work in progress

35

Who Can Complain About An Awd Turbo Bmw? — Project car, I am rebuilding it right now, will be turbo charging it. Super excited cause it will be awesome. T70 turbo with forged pistons, rods, arp head studs, Putting on a rebuild 885 head on it right now. stock ecu motroninc 1.0 and rrfpr for now

Primary Use: Sport/fun (spirited driving, track racing, off-roading, etc.)

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Displaying 1 - 10 of 42 1986 BMW 3 Series reviews.

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Reviews From Other Years

2014 BMW 3 Series Reviews

Best All Around Car Money Can Buy (maybe A Bit Too Much Money, Though) By dieselbos

After driving my 2010 Jetta Sportwagen for 50,000 miles, I test drove the new 328d that BMW was finally offering in North America. I was looking for an automatic for my daily commute (my Jetta was a ... Read More

Great Car For The Wife To Get Tickets In By Bhoffma1

I love the power delivery of the inline six cylinder. There is almost zero turbo lag and it feels like an NA car with a larger engine. I would prefer a manual transmission, but the eight speed autom... Read More

Read all 2014 BMW 3 Series reviews

2013 BMW 3 Series Reviews

Gray 328i Sport Model By exigeer

The car does not handle as well as i expected with the Sport Line model. I think the new power steering system is to blame and indicted by the edge wear on the front tires. This is a better car than ... Read More

A Solid Car For Long Term Use. Beware Of Depreciation! By 2000BoxsterS

I bought this car to have something more family friendly than my Porsche Boxster S. The Boxster absolutely has better handling and is more fun to drive, but the 335i is FAR more practical and still p... Read More

Read all 3 2013 BMW 3 Series reviews

2012 BMW 3 Series Reviews

It's The Honda Accord Of Our Age By Aaron

It's a perfectly reasonable car. Goes fast when you want it too, uses less gas when you want that. Back seat is big enough so the kids don't complain. Just wish it were a bit less bland. I used to... Read More

Is A 328i Coupe A Perfect Car For A Family? By bobymason

Perfect car for a couple....not a great car for a family of 4 I really enjoyed this car, but honestly it is not a perfect car for a group of 3-4 people ..... If you're just a couple and and don't have... Read More

Read all 4 2012 BMW 3 Series reviews

2011 BMW 3 Series Reviews

The 328i Is A Fun, Fast And Reliable Vehicle By Peter

Truly there is not much to dislike. It drives very well. Has a solid feel from closing the door to taking a corner. Even the stereo sound great, especially with Sirius/XM. My kids love riding in it... Read More

Awesome Car By taylorsmith85

The car drives great. Feels like it should be on a track with lots of curves. The M package on it gives it a lot of attention. The only con for the car is the back seat is small if you put the fron... Read More

Read all 30 2011 BMW 3 Series reviews

2010 BMW 3 Series Reviews

Car Of The Gods By MattBMW

There isn't much I can say about this car that you can't already tell by looking at it but lets be honest here Looks? sexy beast Drive? it carves the road like an olympic ice skater what more could ... Read More

This Car Made Me A Loyal Bmw Customer! By tstar69

Appreciate the handling of this model. The turbo boost gives plenty of power. High performance luxury sports car that delivers. The feel behind the wheel is smooth, solid, tight, and gives the driv... Read More

Read all 14 2010 BMW 3 Series reviews

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