Used 1997 BMW 3 Series Review




what's new

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.

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.






edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.