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1997 BMW 3 Series User Reviews

1997 BMW 3 Series Review Ratings

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Average Ratings from 58 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" 30 reviews
"power" 20 reviews
"handling" 19 reviews
"fuel economy" 11 reviews
"reliable car" 10 reviews
CONS
"expensive car" 8 reviews
"power" 7 reviews
"high maintenance" 5 reviews
"doors" 4 reviews
"transmission" 3 reviews

User Reviews

Displaying 1 - 10 of 58 1997 BMW 3 Series reviews.

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

Pros

SMOOTH RIDE

Cons

EXSPENSIVE

125

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

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

Pros

Fast, great handling, well built. reliable

Cons

nothing

75

97 328is — This car may be 12 years old, but it still manages to preform and rive like a brand new car. It blends BMW driving dynamics with great luxury. It also feels really solid when your driving it. Its fun and really reliable.

Primary Use: Commuting to work

4 of 4 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

55

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.)

3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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Henrik writes:
1997 BMW 3 Series 328ic Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
4

Pros

Performance, design, style.

Cons

With automatic transmission it is a bit heavy...

45

Bmw E36 — Great acceleration experience thanks to VANOS, the brakes bite strong, handling is superb with the M-Sport suspension. The design is timeless and maintenance costs are normal if you know what you are doing! It is an ideal car for long road trips, hillclimbing with lots of corners, anything that is fun really.

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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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Mohammed writes:
1997 BMW 3 Series 328i Review
Appearance:
Performance:
Quality:
Overall:
4

Pros

acceleration

Cons

cost

45

Nice One — just hate it is manual.... cars should be!!! on the other hand it is good in terms of stability i drove it with 220km/hr and it still could go :)) how ever it is little old and u have to pay!!!

Primary Use: Commuting to work

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

Pros

handling, gas mileage, overall performance

Cons

window regulators, dealer costs for maintenance, unloved by the general BMW community (4-cylinder; hatchback)

55

'97 Bmw 318ti Sport — Car is a '97 318ti Sport 5-speed (2-door hatchback) Bought this car used about one year ago with 178,000 miles. Previous owner took great care of the car. Maintenance has been very inexpensive, and can be if you avoid the dealership. Performance is about what you'd expect from a 4-cylinder, however it's a little enhanced thanks to the lower weight of the car compared with the coupe/sedan. Handling is outstanding, at least compared to my previous cars. Quality - overall pretty good. The window regulators have been an issue, but that's common with the E36 (and other German cars I hear). Interior materials could be better, but this was basically their entry model, so BMW saved money wherever they could. Overall I'd give it an A- Appearance - I love it. I've always loved the boxy shape of the E36, whether it was the sedan, coupe, or hatchback. I've surprised numerous people when telling them what year the car is when they've asked. Straight-on shot of the rear isn't the greatest, but overall I like the car, and always have, even before I owned it. CoO - Not very much. Again, if you find an independant shop of do some work yourself, maintenance costs are minimal. Take it to the dealer and you'll pay ($120/hr labor at my local dealer). Mileage is fantastic, 27-30mpg in the city, 31-35 on the highway. And being a 4-cylinder, it doesn't require Premium gas, only 89 octane minimum. So where there's only 87 & 91 octane you'll have to spring for premium, but in most parts of the US you can get by with midgrade. Fun - Tremendous. I've never had this much fun with a car I owned (granted my previous car's weren't the greatest). Took a trip to the Denver/Boulder area shortly after getting the car and had a blast in the mountains. Left the car in 2nd & 3rd gear while doing some mountain driving, reaching speeds close to 60mph, and still averaged 35mpg. The car handles incredibly, and I can't wait to get my summer tires (Bridgestone Potenza RE-01R's) on. Overall - Wonderful car. A tremendous buy if you can find a decent one cheaply. Hatchbacks have never been popular in the US, and neither have 4-cylinder BMW's, but when you combine the two it's wonderful. Add in the fact that you can easily swap in a 6-cylinder (including the S50/52 from the M3) and you have a terrific car for the cost.

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

Pros

Reasonable horsepower, handles great

Cons

Small, leather wears badly

75

Personally Love This Car — Loved this car for the few years I drove it. Always handled well in dry and wet weather. Turning traction control system off allowed for more fun driving. Back seat space is kinda tight, friends never wanted to pile up in this thing.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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rapboston writes:
1997 BMW 3 Series 328ic Review
Back Seats:
Cargo Capacity:
Family Car:
Fuel Economy:
Front Seats:
Handling:
Maintenance Cost:
Price:
Power:
Reliability:
Ride Comfort:
Looks/Style:
Overall:
5

Pros

Inspiring !

Cons

Nada !

rapboston
35

Lloovvee It ! — Beauty, Power, Stile, Reliability, all together. Having rear wheel drive makes a big difference compared to the Audy Cabrios, and with a standard shift transmission, you just have a more fulfilling experience......My car has just 34.000 miles on it !!

1 of 1 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
35

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.)

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

Pros

The handling

Cons

Nothing

45

An Old Style Bmw Rwd Car — A fun RWD BMW E36 with LSD and M-Pack Suspension. A fun-to-drive coupe, well built, with a nice fast response 1.9 engine and a nice setup that provides good handling. A cheap and reliable car for young drivers who want a RWD car but they can't buy a M3.

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Displaying 1 - 10 of 58 1997 BMW 3 Series reviews.

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Reviews From Other Years

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

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

This Car Is One My Best Car I Ever Had,, Loved It Everything About It.. By japaneseauto1

i like the sporty of this car, and luxury its two in one,, its little small than other coupes but its convertible this is the best thing about this beautiful car,,, best handling , great on gas, ran ... Read More

Read all 29 2011 BMW 3 Series reviews

2010 BMW 3 Series Reviews

Sport And Utility In Perfect Size By Valery

Excellent combination of sport and utility. Ultimate sport wagon. Great response, dynamics, steering feedback. Great cargo volume. All-in-all - everything you need from the car: power, capacity, handl... Read More

Great Update From 328 By wwdthu

get the fully loaded one. Sport package and logic 7is a must, navi is good to have just for a screen. Buy a stripped 3 would rip you off. The fully loaded one is top notched, and nice fuel economy is ... Read More

Read all 12 2010 BMW 3 Series reviews

2009 BMW 3 Series Reviews

Not Worth The Money By 1978TA

The fuel economy is not bad for a car with adequate power. It just is not reliable for the money. I expected a lot better reliability but have had it into the dealer more than I would like. So glad I ... Read More

The Ultimate Driving Machine By BimmerKid

Beware: once you go BMW you'll never have the taste for anything else. The car is solid, fast, fuel efficient, looks great and very reliable. What mostly impressed me is its performance in heavy snow... Read More

Read all 36 2009 BMW 3 Series reviews

2008 BMW 3 Series Reviews

I Love It Great Car To Be A Daily Driver By malik335

I like how it looks and grabs peoples attention. I like the amount of power you get out of the car even though it is a sedan. Its a great car for anyone looking to enter the world of BMW. Read More

Sexy Looking Coupe. By ubiquitouscandor

I just purchased the car used. Overall I feel I got a good value. The drive home from the dealership was great. It has the Premium Package and Sport Packages. Perfect combination of features. Took me ... Read More

Read all 68 2008 BMW 3 Series reviews

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