1997 BMW 3 Series User Reviews

1997 BMW 3 Series Review Ratings

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Average Ratings from 59 reviews

  • Performance:4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars 4 / 5
  • Appearance: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
  • 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: 4.6 out of 5 stars4.6 out of 5 stars4.6 out of 5 stars4.6 out of 5 stars4.6 out of 5 stars 4.6 / 5

Review Highlights Click to filter reviews below

PROS
"ride" 31 reviews
"handling" 20 reviews
"power" 20 reviews
"fuel economy" 11 reviews
"reliable car" 10 reviews
CONS
"expensive car" 8 reviews
"power" 8 reviews
"high maintenance" 5 reviews
"doors" 4 reviews
"transmission" 3 reviews

User Reviews

Displaying 1 - 10 of 60 1997 BMW 3 Series reviews.

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1997 BMW 3 Series 328ic Review
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Pros

Just and excellent auto

Cons

Some noice when top is up

jwdeckview
45

Fun To Drive — The auto has the right size for around town and is a blast on road trips. East to park , great gas mileage and nothing like a convertible in the warm weather. The Color really stands out as sporty and elegant..

Primary Use: Commuting to work

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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writes:
1997 BMW 3 Series 328is Review
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The one word that pops to mind when i think of this car is "timeless". Its like a well maintained Italian suit, aged with beauty, but always stylish. The throttle response is a little iffy because the pedal seems to have a lengthy discussion with the engine and drive train before kicking me back in the seat. (that's what you get when you let the french design a transmission) never the less I'm never afraid to push it just a little bit more, and hit a blistering speed of 115mph on the highway before backing off the throttle. I was floored, grinning ear to ear like a little kid who had just gotten his first 22. rifle for Christmas. This is truly what a proper sports car should be.

Cons

AM/FM/Cassette Audio System Lighted Entry System

Kenmark
25

Black Beauty — Bought this car knowing I would be driving a ton. It is an investment that has paid great dividends to my state of mind.Sliding into 2nd gear and goosing it to mph while merging at on ramps. Heated seats, Power everything, Powerful and smooth I-6. GREAT 5 speed tranny. Style points - design that defies age

Primary Use: Commuting to work

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writes:
1997 BMW 3 Series 328i Review
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Pros

Style, Engine Layout, MPG,  On Board Computer, Handling, Reliability, Supportive Community, Easily Self Maintained

Cons

Transmission, Original Waterpump, Door Panels, Dealer Repair Costs

DaAvTh
185

Simply, A Keeper — It's taken a while for me to come up with a comprehensive review on this vehicle based off of the personal experience, but here it is: Starting with, The Bad: So far the only major repair needed was after the accessory belt (not timing) that blew on the highway and ended up requiring a new waterpump and belts. All could've been avoided had I replaced the belts when I notice they were worn, but was low on funds. The repair was about $800+ total at firestone. Planned on getting these components replaced regardless since these models had a plastic impeller in the original waterpumps that were prone to breaking. So since I wasn't sure if it was already replaced I planned on having it done with the belts anyway. (FYI: Most new waterpumps have metal impellers now) The transmission shifts fine and doesn't slip. So what's the problem you ask? Well, once the transmission fluid gets warmed up from highway driving/constant driving when you brake suddenly or "hard" it causes the fluid to rush forward and the transmission has an annoying shudder. In my case, it still drives fine after the shudder; nonetheless it worries me so I try to brake softly at red lights & stop signs When you try to pull off too fast after a hard stop it slips some and jumps into gear, but after that it's smooth sailing (for me). Other than that the some speakers are going in & out need to be replaced and I want to get my seats reupholstered. Transmission Info: After experiencing this I read forums to see what the issue was and thats were I learned of some American E36s auto transmissions were being produced/made by GM. =/ So due to the transmission issue I've done some research in my area and found a reputable company (specializing in BMWs, of course) that will do the complete auto to manual trans swap (including the transmission, pedals, shifter, computer adjustment, drive shaft, etc.) for around $1800 if I remember correctly. Not bad considering regular transmission repair/replacement cost about that much. On the plus side I wanted the car in manual anyway! And now onto, The Good: This car is an excellent all-around vehicle despite being classified as a luxury car. Great daily driver, feels solid with good gas mileage when driven properly and power when you need it (6 cyl). The steering feels very connected with the road. I thoroughly appreciate the engine layout since it is easy access for most "do-it-yourself" (DIY) tasks like spark plugs, oil changes & filter, air filter, coil packs, etc, you name it. Take it from a man who has owned two Hondas previously (96 Accord Coupe & 96 Prelude) when it comes to reliability this car is up there with them. From any routine maintenance issues to minor/major repairs this car is about equal to my accord (didn't own the prelude long enough to state). Since I've bought the 3-series (Summer of 2012) the minor DIY things I've performed was an oil change, air filter change, spark plugs, hood struts, tail lights, which were all at my leisure and not necessarily needed. I just like to tune a car up that I just bought so I know it's up to date. Other than that I replaced the O2 sensors myself once the check engine code ran up at Autozone. Ordered those sensors off of amazon. The car has started up each and every time with no issue and has brought me back and forth from NC to CT twice, from NC to MD twice, and countless times back and forth between home and school (about 65 miles/1hour one way). This is all besides random other short trips and daily driving. Even electrically the car is up to par. I personally love the look of these models. In my opinion they are excellent choices for stylish and feature filled daily drivers; great first cars for any teen who is or has family that knows their way around a wrench or can find reliable repair specialist to avoid the dealership prices. Even from my experience have been able to find a video or detailed step by step instruction on almost any repair I've wanted to do on this car. Many people are out there just to help with videos and advice. I plan on doing a complete brake job myself soon. With an MPG gauge, outdoor temp sensor, advanced trip computer, and other features I didn't expect them to have in the mid 90's I would recommend this car to anyone. Advice/Heads-Up: - If you aren't looking for a beemer DO NOT sit in one, that's how it got me! Haha - If you are thinking of purchasing one of these cars, try to avoid the GM auto transmissions. - The forums and DIY blogs for these cars and BMWs in general are extensive and by far have the most supportive community. ( http://www.bimmerdiy.com/dir/e36 ) - Door Panels hanging off are a common issue and can be taken car of. - Avoid the dealership except for OEM parts you can't buy elsewhere. - Amazon has all your tune-up needs. My apologies for such a long review but I am passionate about this car and felt I wanted to share it with the carguru community! Hope this helps someone!

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

16 of 17 people found this review helpful.
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writes:
1997 BMW 3 Series 328is Review
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Pros

Style is great for a '97!

Cons

Started having maintenance problems around 170k miles or so.

65

'97 328is — Performance - added a K&N intake and increased HP to near 195 and torque to near 200. It also increased my fuel mileage to 30 hwy/24 city. Besides the maintenance work that was needed around 170k miles, good reliable car. Absolutely love driving this car!

Primary Use: Commuting to work

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writes:
1997 BMW 3 Series 318i Review
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Pros

It fits my personality and style.

Cons

Mechanical and electrical gremlins as is typical in most german cars.

105

Rear Wheel Drive Pocket Rocket — Probably the best car I've ever had. Rear wheel drive, great handling, sporty styling, relatively simple mechanics. Power was not its best attribute with only 140hp and 127ft/lb of torque. But at speed on the highway, its passing speed is excellent. On the track with its tight handling can keep up with more powerful cars, especially during cornering and turns.

Primary Use: Commuting to work

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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writes:
1997 BMW 3 Series 328i Review
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Pros

The car has had no major issues, maintenance is easy and parts are easy to find, it drives and handles like a dream, fuel economy is great for a 1997 car,  the interior feel of the car is very nice. The car over all is a luxury car with a sporty feel, it is also a steal for the price!

Cons

Small Back seat area especially if you have a tall person or 2 sitting in front, the power seems low for a car this size, small quirks with the electronic system over the years. The stock alternator seems under powered for a car with power everything, 80amp. (installed a higher amp model from Bosch 140 amp, made a big difference in electronics running in the car)

Ziegeliebe
25

Great Car For A Single Person Or Couple With No Children — Great car, great gas mileage, luxury feel with sporty handling. The car has had no major issues, maintenance is easy and parts are easy to find, it drives and handles like a dream, fuel economy is great for a 1997 car, the interior feel of the car is very nice. The car over all is a luxury car with a sporty feel, it is also a steal for the price!

Primary Use: Commuting to work

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writes:
1997 BMW 3 Series 328is Review
Back Seats:
Cargo Capacity:
Family Car:
Fuel Economy:
Front Seats:
Handling:
Maintenance Cost:
Price:
Power:
Reliability:
Looks/Style:
Overall:

Pros

looks,performance, fun to drive.

Cons

nothing

85

Excellent Car Would Have One Again And Again — performance: smooth fast acceleration, good brakes, handling is good build quality: its german its excellent build will last a llifetime! appearance: still looks good today for a 14 year old car. cost of ownership: keep it serviced and it shouldnt want for much fun factor: its rear wheel drive what more do you want?

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

6 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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writes:
1997 BMW 3 Series 318i Review
Appearance:
Performance:
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Pros

Very economical but with the german reliability.

Cons

Smelly Diesel engine. 2.5TDS Auto is much better

415

1997 Bmw 3 Series 318i — Performance: Gutless until you learn to work it properly, then it is acceptable. Brakes very good, handles Well, maybe better than the petrol equivelent as the heavy diesel engine improved traction over the front wheels. Build Quality: Good. Appearance: Nice. Cost Of Ownership: Very very good on Diesel. Fun Factor: Once you learn how to drive it properly, it can be a hoot to drive.

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

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1997 BMW 3 Series 328is Review
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Pros

luxury

Cons

no reasons

35

Nice Car — Bought this car for its luxury. All leather, racing seats, 5 speed, sunroof, pretty fun to drive. Had a lot of fun sliding this rwd car around corners and doin burnouts in parking lots. Sold this car for a turbo 240sx

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

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1997 BMW 3 Series 318i Review
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Performance:
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Pros

Comfortable, Easy to drive, Cheap to maintain, A bit nippy if you gun it.

Cons

Sensitive accelerator.

45

Like The Beatles, This Is A Car That Will Always Be In Our Hearts. — As i am only 15 at the time, I don't officially own this car. But it's being handed to me when i finish school. It performs quite well if you slam the accelerator and has very responsive steering and corners level. The ride is firm and you can feel the road, but not uncomfortable. Where I live parts are easy to find and cheap. A new clutch is R400 (about $35). The roof lining is coming loose but not noticeably and can be fixed. One of the door panels is loose from a crash but is due to be fixed. But otherwise the build quality is excellent. The car looks great and has only one scratch at the back, caused by me. Maintenance is extremely cheap because, as I have mentioned before, parts are easy to find. Our servicing is done by an ex-BMW mechanic and he fixes everything! Mileage is good, and it has a backup 2L tank for emergencies. It is a beautiful car to drive and doesn't feel fake or out of touch. Gearbox is light and the brakes are sharp. You can tell exactly what is going on. I love this car.

Primary Use: Family transportation

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Displaying 1 - 10 of 60 1997 BMW 3 Series reviews.

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Reviews From Other Years

2015 BMW 3 Series Reviews

Great Little Car But Can Get Pricey With Options By jodyrobe

I love the front cabin, great handling, some power, nice looking exterior. I dislike that it appears to be catered to i-phone integration and not android. I will like more power. Should come with stan... Read More

Good Little Sports Car And Good Power By jodyrobe

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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

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2013 BMW 3 Series Reviews

Nice Second Car By Drawbj17

This is my Wife's car. It is Perfect for her. The technology is not seamless. There are Too many steps to change from device to device And to move around through the options. The ride is a little stif... Read More

A Fun And Young Car By abhiga

This car is fun to drive! The handling and acceleration are amazing. The hardtop is a great feature, making the car usable all-year round. When the roof is closed, it's like driving a sports car. When... Read More

Read all 8 2013 BMW 3 Series reviews

2012 BMW 3 Series Reviews

Dreamdriver - Total Driving Immersion By turquoisea

I loved everything about this car, from the amazing interior with dazzling lights, phenomenal sound system, spot on handling and smooth ride, super comfortable seats, voice command. Not a lot of room... Read More

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

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2011 BMW 3 Series Reviews

An Amazing Machne By fotobaron

Great power, great performance, great handling (hydraulic steering), very good gas mileage given the engine, extraordinarily comfortable, lots of useful bells and whistles and absolutely gorgeous to l... Read More

Drive It Like I Stole It! By Atlred68

I love this car. I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a sport convertible. BMW's are just fun to drive! They are also reliable, and come standard with a lot of safety features including BM... Read More

Read all 46 2011 BMW 3 Series reviews

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