Used 1998 BMW 3 Series Consumer Reviews - 65 Car Reviews | Edmunds

Consumer Reviews

1998 BMW 3 Series

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Very Reliable Owner Must Have Basic Mechanic Skills
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
Performance
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Fuel Economy
Fun To Drive
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Reliability
By skydog526
on

Vehicle

1998 BMW 3 Series 318i 4dr Sedan


Review

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


Best Features

Style, performance, gas millage, performance


Worst Features

Engine Fan Idler Pulley Water Pump Idle Speed Control Valve ABS Pump Relay Wheel Speed Sensors Power Steering Hose Rear Shock Absorber Mount Outer Ball Joints Inner Control Arm Electric Windows Air Conditioning Sagging Headliner


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First 90 days
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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Reliability
By jkoopman
on

Vehicle

1998 BMW 3 Series 323is 2dr Coupe


Review

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".


Best Features

Extremely high quality feel. Brilliant to drive. Telepathic handling. 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?


Worst Features

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.


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Simple Joy
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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By goblue2010
on

Vehicle

1998 BMW 3 Series 318ti 2dr Hatchback


Review

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.


Best Features

Powered Cal roof, M-sport package, and snappy 5-speed stick shift. Reliability has been spotless even after 13 years.


Worst Features

The window regulator seems to be a regular maintenance item but other positive features outweigh the drawback.


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Beware of the convertible top!
1 of 4 people found this review helpful
Performance
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By domermom
on

Vehicle

1998 BMW 3 Series 328i 2dr Convertible


Review

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.


Best Features

Driving with the top down and the way it hugs the road! And I have always loved a stick shift and this car should only be made that way-too much fun!


Worst Features

The computer display on my car doesn't completely work - the LED display itself is burned out in several places. The convertible top mechanism could be less difficult to fix. And last-the airbag light on the passenger side is always on and is somehow connected to a very expensive part of the front passenger seat-so just to fix the light you need to replace a huge section of the seat.


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One of the Best Cars Ever Made!!!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Performance
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By average_dude
on

Vehicle

1998 BMW 3 Series 328i 4dr Sedan


Review

I have had this car a long time now, and I am still amazed at how great it feels to be in it. I love the feel of the road and the sound of the sweet audio from the premium sound system in the car. It is super quick when I need it to be. And it is great on gas. I have only changed the alternator and done the regular mantinence since it was new. The space in the back seat is a little light. But, If I were a parent of 3 kids and needed a great second car, this would be it. I think the car looks so classy and screems traditional BMW style. It is the benchmark by which I will measure all future cars. It looks especially good in Alpine White. It's one to drive before you die. Own one if you can.


Best Features

Styling, performance and great fuel economy.


Worst Features

Larger back seat capacity


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