Used 1997 BMW 3 Series 328i Sedan Consumer Reviews | Edmunds
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1997 Bmw 3-series - Consumer Reviews

1997 BMW 3 Series Sedan

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22 Total Reviews

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First car
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By whippersnapped
on

Vehicle

1997 BMW 3 Series Sedan 328i 4dr Sedan


Review

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.


Favorite Features

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.


Suggested Improvements

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.


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I'm never selling this car!
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Ken
on

Vehicle

1997 BMW 3 Series Sedan 328i 4dr Sedan


Review

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.


Favorite Features

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.


Suggested Improvements

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.


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Incomparable car for its time
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Johnny in NY
on

Vehicle

1997 BMW 3 Series Sedan 328i 4dr Sedan


Review

The 1997 328i was my first German car and well, they've made a convert of me. My experience with this car, despite its age was extraordinary. The handling was like nothing I had experienced until then, even surpassing cars 10 years younger. Mechanically, I never once had a problem with anything, save a brake replacement, but that was due to my driving more than anything else. My praises for this car are too many to list, but it does come with a few warnings. 1. The car is very reliable, but expensive to maintain and repair. 2. The cup holders are useless. 3. The car handles very poorly in snow and ice, as is to be expected from any RWD car. Do not be mistaken though, the BMW is amazing.


Favorite Features

Handling, performance, balance of luxury and sportiness


Suggested Improvements

Cup holders (dealt with later), handling of snow and ice (dealt with in later "x" models) Note: While it is expensive to repair and maintain, I would not suggest changing that, because that would reduce quality, and it is because of quality and the low frequency of issues you buy such a car.


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The car is older and the driver is wiser
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Laura
on

Vehicle

1997 BMW 3 Series Sedan 328i 4dr Sedan


Review

I love my 328i, but it costs, financially and physically, to maintain it! So far I have had to replace the radiator, radiator fluid tank, fuel pump, drive and ac belts, wiper motor, and thermostat (and I am only the second owner!). My dad, who loves to and can fix anything, HATES working on my car, but he does it reluctantly. It's too low to the ground to fit a normal jack under it, you need odd-sized tools, and the lay out under the hood is way to complicated. But I guess thats the price you pay for a lasting vehicle.


Favorite Features

The sound system, heated seats, gas mileage isn't bad, leather interior, decent in the snow with good winter tires, the computer that tells you the outside temp, gas range, average speed, etc, the spare tire is a REAL tire and I have 235000 miles and it is still going.


Suggested Improvements

A practical layout under the hood!


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Still competes with current sport sedans
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Jonathan
on

Vehicle

1997 BMW 3 Series Sedan 328i 4dr Sedan


Review

I come from a Honda family, owning an unkillable (and I tried) Accord before the BMW, and so my standards for how a car should be built were set a little high. Most people "warned" me about buying a used european car claiming I'll be on the side of the road or with a monstrous repair bill in no time, but my BMW is still running strong. However, if you want this car and have low maintenance costs, be prepared to do a little work yourself. Labor is where shops will overcharge BMW owners and so doing basic jobs like brake pads or changing the oil will save you a ton of money if you do it yourself. Take care of it and it'll last longer than most cars on the road.


Favorite Features

The mileage (25 city/31 hwy/28 ave), the handling, the grip with 17" M rims, the compact yet usable size, the comfort and luxury features. Plus the smooth, strong power mated to great 5-speed transmission and great brakes w/ABS & traction control completes the whole package. Great sense of safety.


Suggested Improvements

Cupholders aren't useful, but few imports in the 90s had ones that were. Rear seat is small, but sedan has the exact same interior measurements as coupe (except with a little more rear headroom). Better headlights as US plastic ones always look murky.


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