I bought my 328 convertible in '99 with 11k miles, loved it for 10 years, sold it to a needy college kid for two years, and bought it back 18 months ago.
With 125k miles on it, the car is still a delight to drive.
Soft top is still in good shape, mechanicals are still rock solid, drive is a delight.
I use a local German car specialty shop that is much less expensive than a dealership, so brakes, hoses, etc., aren't as expensive as they might be. With classic good looks and wonderful driving behavior, this car typifies, "the Ultimate Driving Machine" - I'm a BMW-owner for life.
If you need to choose between a newer non-beemer or an older beemer, go with the beemer.
You won't regret it!
Fully power-operated soft top that has lasted for more than 15 years
Driver-oriented ergonomics fit me to a "T"
Heated seats and the optional wind-blocker make for great 4-season driving
Drives like nothing else
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.
The speed is one of the outstanding features on this build, however it take a while to engage so be patient.
Interior is very well crafted and well thought out "with a few exceptions" (see below)
the premium radio and subs are very impressive for how old the car is.
the grip factor and very little roll due to the sport suspension.
how can the country that built the panzer tank have forgotten how to make cup holders work?
the only other complaint I have is the Anti Theft system witch seems to lock out owners more than it does deter thieves.
Though now nearly 15y ears old,it has features that most new cars still don't have.
Handling is very good, takes corners at 30 mph though not recommeneded for safety reasons.
0-60 in under 7 seconds, still good by even today's standards, very good in the late 90s.
Steering is well balanced, not heavy oe too light.
My 04 Infinity feels like a tank in comparison sterring wise.
Car feels very solid, though it moves athletically.
Everything is expensive to repair, but the engine itself is very solid-no oil leaks, shakes, overheating, stalling in the 3 years I have had it (purchased at 100k miles).
Trip computer, handling, acceleration, overall integrity of body and chassis. Longevity (expected)
Electrical system, catalytic converters, stereo, seats (small for big butts).
This is the first car I have ever owned, although I have driven many others. In my opinion, this is as close to a perfect car as there is (which is why I bought it. A logical progression, really). I got an excellent example of the model for 4 grand, and have since put less than a thousand into it over 8,000 miles. It is just bulletproof. I have never pushed the revs to the red because the car simply doesn't need it to do whatever you need. The interior is comfortable but you can tell it was a secondary concern after performance. The car has it where it counts, and that is what matters to me.
Handling, of course, is the #1 reason to buy a 3 series, and it handles wonderfully. When pushed, there is a noticeable tendency to understeer, but the steering feel is amazing, the pedals are linear and direct, and the shifter is buttery smooth (if a bit of a long throw). Most of all, though, you just get the feeling that the whole car is solid and tight in a way even the most up-to-date 'economy' car simply doesn't approach. The suspension does its best to find a balance between comfort and performance, but leans to the latter. You can feel the road surface through the leather seat at all times, and body roll is minimal. Having four doors is a great practicality feature without a downside.
The radio has been replaced, but the computer in the center has grown so dim as to be nearly unreadable. The mats have torn away from their mountings and can get in the way at times, but never unsafely so. The rear leg room leaves something to be desired, and throughout the interior you can see a few pieces of plastic that are a bit less tightly attached than when the car was new. The leather has held up amazingly, though. A well-known issue with these cars is a broken climate control. Had to do some work with a solder iron and take the whole thing apart to fix it. The heated seats seem to be broken. The paint does get chipped and rust a bit easily. No mechanical complaints at all.
Well, I purchased this 1997 328i in 1999 as a dealer leftover that had been sitting on the lot for a very long time. I got a heck of a deal on it. I have driven it on and off for the past 11 years and when I'm not using the car, it's garaged. The black paint shines like the day I got it. The interior shows almost no signs of wear aside from the drivers floor mat. No cracking of the leather, etc. I have had NO MECHANICAL PROBLEMS whatsoever with the car in the 70,000 miles I've owned it. Aside from regular scheduled maintenance, I've replaced the brake pads and tires once and that's it. This car has proven to be the most reliable vehicle I've ever owned. I will never sell this car.
Classic styling. Plush interior. The low and mid range torque is great. The car has the perfect balance of comfort and performance. The OEM spring and damper rates on the sport package are perfect! Reliability (I've had absolutely no problems). The Nakamichi stereo is LOUD with no distortion.
More horsepower (I know, I should have bought an M3). A better clutch to help with quicker shifts (you really cannot power shift these cars). Resale value! Even with only 70,000 mi, this car that was $35,000+ new is only worth $4500 today. A beat up 1997 civic with 150k miles is worth just as much.