Used 1997 BMW 3 Series

1997 BMW 3 Series
List price range
1997 BMW 3 Series

Pros

  • Great steering, top-notch suspension, and nice exterior styling.

Cons

  • Spartan interior and cramped passenger compartment.
BMW 3 Series years

Used 1997 BMW 3 Series for Sale

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

People buy BMWs for a variety of reasons. BMWs carry an obvious panache that tells the world that you have, indeed, arrived. Driving a BMW also tells the world that you are a person who is young at heart, someone who may want to change their own gears from time to time; unlike, say, a stuffy owner of a Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, or Cadillac. Lastly, BMWs politely tell people that you like to drive, and to please move out of that left lane so you can pass, thank you.

The BMW 3-Series is now in its sixth year of production. Despite this, the car is still fresh and exciting; evoking powerful feelings of desire and jealousy every time we see one cruising down the street. Last year, new engines were introduced to the entire lineup, improving torque for both the four- and six-cylinder models. This year, the M3 sedan makes its way to these shores, and all models receive standard All-Season Traction. Other changes for 1997 include minute styling alterations to the interior and exterior.

The 3-Series is BMW's most popular line of cars because it spans such a broad price range. Starting at just over $20,000 for the fun and cheap 318ti hatchback, the 3-Series reaches its pinnacle at nearly $40,000 with the outstanding, high-performance M3 coupe and sedan. Despite the disparity in prices, the 3-Series models are uniformly fun to drive due to their wonderful chassis, excellent steering, and top-notch suspensions.

We believe that the purchase of a 3-Series car is one of the best ways to get know that twisty stretch of road that you were always afraid to introduce to your Buick Century. If you have the guts and the money, the new 3.2-liter M3 sedan just might be your cup of tea. This is definitely not the car for all people, back seat room is cramped and the limited cargo space make it impractical for large families. But, if you are a person who enjoys driving, the 3-Series is a nice alternative to muscle car machismo. We are thrilled that BMW has exercised restraint in these times of overblown excess. By keeping their revisions to those things that need revising, leaving the core of the vehicle untainted, the 3-Series is able to improve itself, instead of replace itself, every few years.

1997 Highlights

Traction control and heated side mirrors are now standard across the line. Additionally, all cars receive minor styling revisions to the grille and rear fascia, as well as in the cockpit.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 BMW 3 Series.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

I'll own this car forever
drandy,01/02/2014
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!
Santa got it right
xmsbmw,01/14/2009
Santa brought a 1997 red BMW 5 speed convertible to our house on Christmas morning in 2006. My wife absolutely loves this car. We took a ride along the southern half of the Blue Ridge Parkway this summer with the top down and it was an incredible trip. We have had (knock on wood) no problems and no repairs since the day we got it. All we have done in two years is change the oil. Some day the top will need to be replaced but we knew that when we got it. I compare this to a 1986 Buick "T" type I bought new that was suppose to be GM's answer to the BMW. I spent $16K on the Buick, had it 9 years and put over $17K of my own money in repairs. I now know, if you want a BMW, then buy a BMW!
A hoot
Dave Berlin,10/15/2003
I've enjoyed this car for 6 years. Sold a vintage jaguar, too much trouble. This car is really fun to drive and still has absolutely nothing wrong with it. (yes, we baby it a little). I look at it as a sports car that's practical. The back seat is tight but comfortable and combined with the trunk there is lots of luggage space compared to a real 2 seater. While four seats may not sound like a sports car, it doesn't matter since it looks like one and still to this day the car turns heads. 30 mpg ain't bad either.
BMW 328ic, a very well made car
Al,03/16/2006
I bought my 328iC back in April '03. It was still fresh looking and amazing to drive given the fact that it had 50K miles on it already. I thought I'd keep it for 3 years and just move onto another car, but I love this car! I'm going to keep it for quite some time further, repairs have been non existant other than a waterpump and fan blade. I'm nearing 100K miles so its time to replace some bushings, other than that it's a solid reliable ride.
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Features & Specs

MPG
18 city / 26 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
190 hp @ 5300 rpm
MPG
20 city / 29 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
138 hp @ 6000 rpm
See all Used 1997 BMW 3 Series features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    0

More about the 1997 BMW 3 Series
Used 1997 BMW 3 Series Overview

The Used 1997 BMW 3 Series is offered in the following submodels: 3 Series Hatchback, 3 Series Sedan, 3 Series Coupe, 3 Series Convertible. Available styles include 328is 2dr Coupe, 318ti 2dr Hatchback, 318i 4dr Sedan, 328i 2dr Convertible, 328i 4dr Sedan, 318i 2dr Convertible, and 318is 2dr Coupe.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 BMW 3 Series?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 1997 BMW 3 Serieses are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1997 BMW 3 Series for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1997 BMW 3 Series.

Can't find a used 1997 BMW 3 Seriess you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used BMW 3 Series for sale - 8 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $16,441.

Find a used BMW for sale - 8 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $13,881.

Find a used certified pre-owned BMW 3 Series for sale - 9 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $21,059.

Find a used certified pre-owned BMW for sale - 5 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $15,625.

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Should I lease or buy a 1997 BMW 3 Series?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out BMW lease specials
Check out BMW 3 Series lease specials