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 59 1997 BMW 3 Series reviews.

Paul writes:
1997 BMW 3 Series 328i Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
5

Pros

SMOOTH RIDE

Cons

EXSPENSIVE

175

The Balls — Car is extremely tight even with high miles. Not loose in the front end like most high mile cars and smooth riding. I've owned Fords and Chevys before and they don't compare. Repairs can be expensive but if you can do anything yourself it's not to bad, plus shopping around for parts on the internet can save you loads of money. Bavarian Auto is one of the best places to get parts for BMW's online and you will be sure to get the right parts and not waste your time and money. 135,000 miles is still considered low miles for a BMW, but any american made car with over 100,000 is pushing it. I would still feel very confident with driving this car on long trips like Florida too.

Primary Use: Commuting to work

10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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DaAvTh writes:
1997 BMW 3 Series 328i Review
Accessories:
Brakes:
Back Seats:
Cargo Capacity:
Daily Commute:
Family Car:
Fuel Economy:
Front Seats:
Handling:
Interior Space:
Maintenance Cost:
Price:
Power:
Reliability:
Looks/Style:
Weight:
Overall:
4

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
125

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.)

10 of 11 people found this review helpful.
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Jason writes:
1997 BMW 3 Series 328is Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
5

Pros

Combo of luxury and sport

Cons

Sometimes high cost of ownership

55

The Best From The Late Nineties — Inline-6 has great torque curve relatively light-weight Mean Piston Speed comparable to Honda S2000 & Bugatti Veyron Top speed 149 mph (electronically limited) .95 G's on the skidpad Possible to drift through corners Runs on 89 octane fuel S suspension package holds corners very well

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

2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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Dave writes:
1997 BMW 3 Series 328i Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
5

Pros

almost everything

Cons

on the 4 door, the back seat doesn't split and fold down

65

Would Recommend And Buy Another — I loved this car! It is solid, fun to drive, great handling and comfort. The performance was good for stock but add a couple grand and it'll be great! the quality was great overall and it holds up excellent in a crash. I had a guy total mine by T-boning us. The car did it's job and kept us safe. We were at 0 mph and he was doing 40+. The car looked great with a nice tint job and I still miss driving that car!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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Brett writes:
1997 BMW 3 Series Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
5

Pros

Reliable and best handling car I've ever had

Cons

once motor plan done it can be expensive to own

55

The Best Handling Car I've Driven After The 911 Turbo — my best ever car

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Sam 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:
5

Pros

looks,performance, fun to drive.

Cons

nothing

65

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.)

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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Michael writes:
1997 BMW 3 Series 328is Review
Back Seats:
Cargo Capacity:
Daily Commute:
Family Car:
Fuel Economy:
Front Seats:
Handling:
Maintenance Cost:
Price:
Power:
Reliability:
Ride Comfort:
Looks/Style:
Overall:
5

Pros

Style is great for a '97!

Cons

Started having maintenance problems around 170k miles or so.

55

'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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Dakota writes:
1997 BMW 3 Series 328is Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
5

Pros

Great Performance, fuel economy, and comfortable interior

Cons

cost of ownership

125

Bmw 328is — Excellent vehicle, built with quality in mind. has 180,000+ miles on it and still runs and drives like new. superb acceleration, braking, and cornering. gets fantastic fuel economy both highway and city. this car loves to be driven and will take anything you can throw at it.

Primary Use: Commuting to work

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Adam writes:
1997 BMW 3 Series 318i Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
5

Pros

Build Quality and Handling

Cons

acceleration

45

Great Car, Easy To Work On, Fun To Drive — The car is great. The main thing you have to worry about with any BMW is price of parts. My advice is DO IT YOURSELF. The Build Quality is top notch. I also enjoy the styling of the car. Although it doesn't accelerate like my mustang, its handling and braking abilities are flawless. slight understeer, but thats the way i like it. This particular vehicle has a lot to fix, but I'm getting great deals on parts and doing all the work myself - only way to go.

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Joe writes:
1997 BMW 3 Series 318i Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
4

Pros

Looks, Gas Mileage

Cons

Bad Engine, Lack of Power

45

1997 318i — This car was a lot of fun to drive, got great gas mileage, and was also nice to just look at! Unfortunately, BMW didn't know how to make a good 4cyl in 1997 and it had it's share of engine issues! All in all I enjoyed this car a lot!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Displaying 1 - 10 of 59 1997 BMW 3 Series reviews.

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Reviews From Other Years

1976 BMW 3 Series Reviews

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This was a nice car, but temperamental. Seats were comfortable, car was sporty, but the gearshift and transmission were a crapshoot. And lots of vibrations too. Still, it was a sharp car, with good cu... Read More

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1977 BMW 3 Series Reviews

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1978 BMW 3 Series Reviews

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1979 BMW 3 Series Reviews

Insane 350 Powered Bmw By ratsrv8

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Yeah, It's A Beater, But It's The Best One I've Owned. By Jason204

For reliable, daily transportation, you can't really beat an E21 chassis. The M10 engine is nearly bulletproof, and everything on the car is so simple to repair. I removed the engine and gearbox in ab... Read More

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1980 BMW 3 Series Reviews

Get One And Keep It By Dane

well this car has been around the world stayed the family for a long time only had 3 owners and 2 of them were father to daughter it has a carburator fault at the moment and i have fixed some rust bu... Read More

Wish I Still Had This Car By tonycole

My first BMW (of 3 so far), purchased new in Monterey, California. It stayed with me for 8.5 years and 87K miles with only minor maintenance--plus a new clutch throwout bearing at about 75K miles. I... Read More

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