1998 BMW 3 Series Review | Edmunds.com

1998 BMW 3 Series

BMW 3 Series Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 1.9 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 138 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/29 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 1998 BMW 3 Series

  • Info is not yet available.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    One of our all-time favorite cars. Carves turns faster than your dad carves Thanksgiving turkey.

  • Cons

    Price is a bit steep. Interior is a bit cramped.

  • What's New for 1998

    BMW swaps out the four-cylinder engine in the 318 coupe and convertible for a 168-horsepower 2.5-liter inline six -- these cars become…

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (62 total reviews)


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Vehicle: 1998 BMW 3 Series 323i 2dr Convertible

This is actually my first car, and I love it. It's fun, and has been reliable. The car is quick, and can corner great. The only bad thing is the cup holder, which is the only thing in suggested improvements. The bits are a bit expensive, such as the dash lights. This isn't just great because it's my first car, one of the cars in the house is much faster and is for wheel drive. Not a whole not of trunk space, but I can fit my guitar in it, and really anything I need to fit in it. The back seats also lack a bit of leg room. Nothing I can say is bad about this car, so I do recommend this.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

210,000 miles on factory clutch

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Vehicle: 1998 BMW 3 Series 323is 2dr Coupe

The BMW 323is (chassis code: E36) is a very reliable automobile with exceptional fuel-sipping properties. Naturally you'll have to replace some parts along the way, however they are not as expensive as most would have you believe. Most repairs can be done by even the most novice of home mechanics. The cooling system should be overhauled every 60-80k miles but even with OEM parts the whole task should cost the DIYer no more than $350-400 (radiator, thermostat, water pump, hoses, etc.). The engine is brilliant and I still see 27 MPG as my overall avg. As mentioned in the title, I am currently at 210,000 miles and still on the factory clutch! I will keep this car for at least another 100k.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Very reliable owner must have

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Vehicle: 1998 BMW 3 Series 318i 4dr Sedan

With out a doubt the BMW e36 M40 engines are a very reliable engine. These cars require routine maintenance such as oil changes with synthetic oil, oxygen sensor replacement every 30,000 - 60,000 miles for best fuel air mixture ratio and mpg performance. The cooling systems are prone to wear due to plastic BMW OEM parts however, replacing the thermostat, water pump and radiator with full metal parts is highly suggested. BMW parts for the E36 series are relatively inexpensive and can be found on the internet comparable to the price of Honda, or Toyota parts. I bought my 1998 BMW 318I in August of 2012 with 176,000 miles. I have not had any mechanical issues with it. I do my own maintainence

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

First 90 days

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Vehicle: 1998 BMW 3 Series 323is 2dr Coupe

I bought my '98 323is in September of '11 with 55,400 original miles. It has been about 90 days and the car has been a pure joy to drive and own. The M52 is the least powerful of the 2.5 I6 engines available but is still reasonably quick with a wonderful smooth character and a good amount of torque. The balanced feel and handling put a huge smile on my face in every corner. It is also comfortable and reasonably quiet on the highway inspite of its tight, sporty character. This car was well maintained by its previous two owners and it shows. I now understand why BMW calls their cars the "Ultimate Driving Machine".

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Simple joy

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Vehicle: 1998 BMW 3 Series 318ti 2dr Hatchback

After long period, finally found my dream combination, which is M-sport package and Cal roof option. This one is equipped with fun-to-drive stick shift as well. My favourite features are too many to list. The best part is, of course, Cal roof then M-suspension/M-interior. The M44 engine always returns 31-32MPG with my driving, yet, it accelerates the ti quickly. The suspension sticks the road with minimum roll. It is not harsh either because BMW engineering tuned stiffness on the seats to match suspension characteristics. In my opinion, E36 is the best 3-series platform ever. As long as it is taken care of, it will drive for many years to come. Will keep it with my 98 M3 sedan.

Beware of the convertible top!

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Vehicle: 1998 BMW 3 Series 328i 2dr Convertible

I just bought this car a couple of months ago. The previous owner spent over one thousand dollars at a BMW dealer attempting to fix the convertible-after all-that is why you buy this model. Although it does go up and down, it doesn't do it anywhere near as smooth as you would expect from a BMW. I am still going back and forth with the dealer I bought it from to get it right. Don't get me wrong-I LOVE the car_but I bought it for the convertible aspect and it is a very expensive and difficult thing to deal with.

Gas Mileage


  • 20
  • cty
  • 29
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Full 1998 BMW 3 Series Review

What's New for 1998

BMW swaps out the four-cylinder engine in the 318 coupe and convertible for a 168-horsepower 2.5-liter inline six -- these cars become the 323is coupe and 323i convertible (why it's "323" and not "325," we'll never know). Meanwhile, the 318i sedan and 318ti hatchback continue on unchanged. All cars get standard side airbags this year, except the 318ti, on which they are optional.

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