1997 BMW M3 Base Sedan Consumer Reviews | Edmunds
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1997 Bmw M3 - Consumer Reviews

Average Consumer Rating

12 Total Reviews

1997 M3 Consumer Reviews

Base 3.2L 6-cyl. 5-speed Manual - (12 reviews )
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FUN CAR but better be a DIY past 120K
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Kelli
on

Vehicle

1997 BMW M3 Sedan 4dr Sedan


Review

I have put SEVERAL thousand dollars into repairs into this car over the last months. If you can't do the work yourself expect to sink lots of bucks into it!


Favorite Features

Performs beautifully. Very sticky and lots of driver feedback from the road. Truly amazing enthusiastic driving. Fun car but know what you are in for.


Suggested Improvements

Radiator is a weakness. Replaced it a month ago. This week, I replaced a broken T-chain guide assembly (and all the related things associated with this repair). Lots of $$$.


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Everything I'd hoped it would be!
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Sammyzuko
on

Vehicle

1997 BMW M3 Sedan 4dr Sedan


Review

I've owned my M3 for 5+ years now and couldn't be happier with her. I haven't had any major problems with her. You do have to replace basic wear items if you expect these old cars to drive like they're intended to*. I still enjoy every moment I'm behind the wheel of this car. The aftermarket is full of options to keep the E36 driving as good or better than new. *items like bushings that would need to be replaced on any car, but the average person driving their Corolla into the ground doesn't typically care about these items or getting optimal handling out of their daily driver.


Favorite Features

Exhaust note, steering feel, no gimmicks like many modern cars.


Suggested Improvements

Interior layout is nice, but quality is lacking.


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1997 BMW M3 SEDAN
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By john
on

Vehicle

1997 BMW M3 Sedan 4dr Sedan


Review

1st new car I ever bought & still own 12 years later, tracked it when under warranty, only issues was brake rotors & too much restriction in power steering boost. STOCK SUSPENSION WAS SHOT AFTER 50,000 MILES, went to turner ms bilstein sport/h&r sport springs. Never looked back. Re-did rear this year. Under bilstein warrenty. Issues were blown head gasket @105,000 miles, rebuilt rear axles@ 115,000 & VANOS @ 95,000& lower control arms @ 90,000 all par for the course, mobile one only in engine, trans, rear & power steering 25 mpg.


Suggested Improvements

None - drive in summer, nice days only, plan to keep forever. Classic 4 door m3 kumho makes some great tires @ an even better price.


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The Ultimate Driving Machine
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
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Exterior Design
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Reliability
By Mike O.
on

Vehicle

1997 BMW M3 Sedan 4dr Sedan


Review

There have been few purchases (<5) in my life that I have absolutely no regrets about. This tops the list. Everyday when I get behind the wheel of this car I am elated. The response is like no other vehicle I've driven. The flat torque curve starts you off at 200lb-ft and the acceleration is fantastic. Handling is phenomenal; double suggested speeds for highway ramps (professional driver, closed course, do not attempt at home). Every time I think about getting a new car, those thoughts are blown away when I drove home. To top it all off, it's practical-4 doors, trunk space, decent rear legroom. This is the most fun you can have in an automobile, probably for around $10k these days.


Favorite Features

Low end torque, looks, handling, inflated sense of manhood.


Suggested Improvements

Cup holder design, immortality, 6th gear, ability to fly.


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Fun car to drive
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By donny
on

Vehicle

1997 BMW M3 Sedan 4dr Sedan


Review

This is an awesome car to drive, great handling and lots of power, great sleeper car. I don't know about other people but this car hasn't been the most reliable car I have owned, it has left us stranded on the side of the road three times, had to trailer it home all three times, now it is in the garage getting worked on again, has been nothing but a hassle the last year and a half of owning it, I trust my old 1989 Ford pickup more.


Favorite Features

Great handling, awesome power, a four door that can kicks many two door sports cars and still gets 28 mpg on the highway.


Suggested Improvements

Fix the stupid radiator problem, this will be the fourth one I have to put in it. needs a sixth gear, get tired of buying tires for it every year at $500+ for two, better stereo, better cup holders, won't hold a cup of any kind


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No Comparison
Performance
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Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
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By RAB
on

Vehicle

1997 BMW M3 Sedan 4dr Sedan


Review

My 4 dr E36 M3 is an automatic with the luxury package - leather and wood trim. I think of it as a total stealth bomber - I catch a lot tuner cars by surprise. Can't say enough about the power, handling, or braking. Fit, finish, and craftsmanship are first rate. My M is 10 years old and still feels like a new car. Prices have plunged and I cannot think of a better way to spend $15,000. Helps to have a good repair shop, as relying on the dealer can be suspect. HAVE to be prepared to take care of an older Bimmer, but if you do, you will be well rewarded. There are brand new sports sedans that cannot compare to this car - in '97 it came with huge tires, 17" wheels, & huge brakes.


Favorite Features

3.4 inline six is a work of art. Brakes are huge. 17" wheels were stock. Tires are huge - 8.5" in the rear. Suspension is near track performance. Traction control is very good, but fun to turn it off. RWD is so underrated. Very well built car - cannot believe it is ten years old.


Suggested Improvements

None.


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Rear Sedan from MOTORSPORT-3
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Alexander B
on

Vehicle

1997 BMW M3 Sedan 4dr Sedan


Review

It has been long time, that BMW has made me of it's fanatic, #1 reason: the ultimate driving experience, by the way M-editions are The Ultimate Driving BMWs. This 97/M3 is my 3rd bimmer & 1st M3, and I like everything of it. It offers more futures & quality even today, than 2006 American/Japanese "Transports" of same class & price - and "PRICE" of this M3 I don't mean new one, but as is now on the market 95-99/E36. First I wanted coupe, but since both they look, weigh & measure same, two extra doors makes this one more usefull. Well, I think everyone should owe one of these, at least once in a lifetime.


Favorite Features

The unique look, performance, handling, road holding, RWD/manual and good MPG (20-28)for cars of this type, especially years of 1996 to 1998.


Suggested Improvements

None, except the steering wheel, kind of big


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Ultimate Four Door Sadan
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Techno_V299
on

Vehicle

1997 BMW M3 Sedan 4dr Sedan


Review

Overall - I can't find better one to date than this equipped with 4dr. and stick shift. I love pretty nimble handling and powerful engine. Body rigidity seems to be better than 2dr due to B piller. I'm not sure why BMW does not release 4dr. M3 in US for current model. Maybe E36-M3 could be the first and last 4dr. "M3" in US. It's well balanced between performance and packaging that holds average family. It's reliable too as long as maintained properly. Before buying the M3, I expected bunch of repair and regular service bills but it's been way below than I expected, which is a pleasant surprise. It's almost as well built Japanese vehicles.


Favorite Features

Everything! engine, stick shift, handling, interior...but especially color combination - mine is techno violet and grey leather interior, which is extremely rare among M3s. It looks deep blue depending light. A guy driving so-called a performance car looked at me and his neck was almost twisted off!


Suggested Improvements

More reliable automatic A/C...nothing else. All of a sudden A/C died due to electric problem... but I fixed finally. It seems to be common problem for all E36 (97-99) owners. That's why reliablity looks 8. Unless otherwise, it would have been better.


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Achtung: M Power is addictive!
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By bez
on

Vehicle

1997 BMW M3 Sedan 4dr Sedan


Review

If you want a car to haul your kids around town on weekdays and take to the autocross track on weekends, you have found your car. Don't be intimidated by the exhaust rumble that pervades the cabin or the harsh ride on rough pavement from the taut suspension. You won't be dissappointed. Be prepared for high cost of insurance and maintenance.


Favorite Features

A practical 4-dr luxury sports sedan with power on demand, razor sharp handling, and genuine good looks.


Suggested Improvements

A sixth gear. An electrical system with few problems. Interior trim (Very spartan in black) Stereo (opt for the Harmon Kardon).


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Yes, I have indeed arived.
Performance
Comfort
Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
Interior Design
Exterior Design
Build Quality
Reliability
By Blackmind
on

Vehicle

1997 BMW M3 Sedan 4dr Sedan


Review

First off I never thought I would be driving a M3, but as they say never say never. This car is really something special. It has a fine blend of luxury and performance that is hard to match by any car out there. The looks are formost intimidating to say the least, and it has the POWER to back them up. The four door makes this car a "SLEEPER" for sure, and it's great for people who cart others along frequently. Tight cornering, great acceleration, and smooth as silk, this thing really is a car you can get addicted to driving.


Favorite Features

The heads that turn to look at me. The name and looks of the color, TECHNO VIOLET. Hey, it just sounds and looks cool. Feel like Speedracer everytime I get behind the wheel.


Suggested Improvements

Interior is too bland, needs more trim. You can never go wrong with MORE power. Better headlight plastic.


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