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.
How it drives and the sound of the inline-6 engine.
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".
Extremely high quality feel.
Brilliant to drive.
Components designed to be DIY friendly in regards to repair and maintenance.
Highway driving at 75-80 mph nets 25-30 mpg and a 0-60 time of 7.1 seconds...what's not to like?
Cup holders were a distant afterthought, the Germans take their driving very seriously and don't understand our desire to consume refreshments while we drive.
Glove box design not terribly robust.
i always like the E36 since i was a kid so i bought one with 98,000 miles on the clock. it seemed that as soon as the odometer turned over 100,000 miles, it no longer wanted to do anything correctly. it needed fixing and the parts are expensive. i have spent $6k-$8k on this car in parts alone this past year. the check engine light always comes on; as soon as one problem is fixed another thing is wrong. i drive conservatively and i can not get more than 15mpg and it goes through back tires very quickly. the engine is very noisy and vibrates a lot. the power windows can not go up without help and the headliner is falling off. all in all: i can not wait to buy another car.
fun to drive, nice exterior, transmission and clutch feel very nice. handles well and the radio sounds good.
reliability, the drivers seat is uncomfortable, tire life is very short, it keeps breaking and it is difficult to maintain. glove box dosent stay closed.
Whenever I think of a car for the rest of my life, it will be a BMW. I've had this car for one month and the ride is unbelievable. The tranny shifts so freaking smooth you'll think it's an autostick. Mine has 72,000 miles right now, and I swear it drives like brand new. It takes windy roads like it's on tracks, and I've already hit triple digits on the highway twice without noticing unitl I looked down at my speedometer! I think that shows that I've really been driving the heck out of this thing, and I'm still averaging around 25 miles to the gallon; over 30 when I'm on flat highway. I think Hondas and Toyotas and Nissans are great cars, but after a BMW, I'll never be able to drive one again.
Awesome HK sound system, great handling, amazing braking, and good gas mileage for a six-cylinder. This car had rekindled my love of the road that my reliable but boring Toyota drained.
Well, the cupholders are bad, for sure. But I don't have time for drinks in my 5-speed anyway. I'm always shifting and cutting through traffic. This car couldn't be any more fun. Think about that: the only thing I MIGHT change is the cupholder. What an awesome car!
This car had about 40,000 miles on it when I bought it under the Certified Pre-Owned program - that has turned out to be the best car-buying decision I ever made. I LOVE THIS CAR !! It now has over 104,000 miles on it - I've driven it back and forth across the entire country several times and there was never a problem. BMW really has a way of making you feel at one with the car like no other carmaker seems to be able to duplicate. Maintenance costs have been average with no expensive surprises. Everyone is amazed at how clean the engine always stays, and at how shiny the original paint still is, although I've lived both in dry desert areas and very cold climates. Again - I love this car!
Great styling - sporty yet elegant inside and out. I love the acceleration and throaty exhaust sound. The steering is absolutely perfect - praises to BMW !! The seats are very comfortable for a smaller car and do not hurt your back on long trips like sooooo many other cars it's size.
The cupholders are absolutely ridiculous - but if I were a carmaker and the only complaint was the cupholders, well then I guess I'd be pretty content, as BMW should be!! And besides, drinking a beverage is the last thing on your mind when you're racing around a hair-pin turn....