1997 BMW 3 Series 328i 2.8 petrol from North America


Reliable, comfortable commuter that can still drive hard


Things that broke:

Reclining gear in driver's seat

Various exterior bulbs.

Things I replaced under maintenance:

Valve Cover Gasket

Spark Plugs


Bushings (Suspension-related)


Brake Rotors

Brake Pads

Serpentine Belt

Transmission Mounts

Center Support bearing

Guibo (Flex-Disc)

Other than the seats which were worn when I received the car, everything runs great.

General Comments:

1.5 years and 50000 miles after I bought it, this car still runs strong and there's no reason for it to break down. Maintenance costs aren't that bad either, but I'd only recommend a BMW if you're willing to work on the car yourself, which is pretty easy to do compared to some other cars. My car never has nor ever will go to a shop, unless it's body-related.

Performance-wise, my car out-performs most of my friends while comfortably and quietly commuting me through LA traffic and getting 27 mpg in return (35 city/65 hwy). Plus, with clear-cased indicators, silver paint, and Contour (E36 M3) rims, some people still think it's brand-new!

I'll move on to an E39 530i for my next daily, but as a car-crazed college student who can only afford one car and loves to drive hard, this was the best car for me to buy under $10k (got it for $6K).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th November, 2008

1997 BMW 3 Series 328ic 2.8 liter gasoline from North America


Head-turner of a Convertible


Radiator neck failed at 89,000 miles (plastic- and designed to fail, as are the plastic impellers on the water-pump). Replaced radiator, all hoses, (all-metal) water pump, thermostat and all drive-belts for under $250 in parts (NOT purchased from Stealer.)

My time to do the replacements -as a novice at this- was about 3 hours start to finish.

Car appears to be designed for easy maintenance & repair.

Convertible roof has usual faults, due to 11 year old elastic straps in roof mechanism loosing elasticity. Paralleled original straps with rubber bicycle inner-tube and all is well for under $5 & 20 minutes time.

A/C cooling poorly in 2nd summer of ownership. Added 1/2 can of refrigerant; no need to evacuate system. Cost with hose I needed - $22.

Replaced all of the larger (5.25") speakers - 2 out of 4 were blown. Sounds good now.

General Comments:

This convertible is still a Head-turner.

It's a 2nd summer-only car, well... shall we say, over 65 degrees F car? It lives in the garage all winter.

Nice acceleration, wonderfully precise steering, excellent -if dusty- brakes.

Car came Standard with both ABS & Stability Control, a pair of features you won't find even today (2008) on many cars.

Feels as solid at 110 MPH as an average car at 50 MPH.

Happy with purchase, but watch out for the late 1990's versions, which have many teething problems.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 11th August, 2008

1997 BMW 3 Series 328i Coupe 2.8 petrol from UK and Ireland


I love it!


Auto box was reluctant to kick-down when throttle was floored (fixed by a fluid change)

Electric window motor failed

Door lock actuator failed

Heated leather failed

Thermostat failed

Both front ball joints needed replacing (these are almost a consumable on the higher-powered E36 models)

ABS and traction control gremlins.

General Comments:

The car looks sleek and elegant, more so than its saloon brother. The beige leather makes the interior a very nice place to be.

It's brilliant to drive and pretty quick too, especially in Sport mode, but the car feels somewhat reined-in at higher revs. This is due to the fact that the car was deliberately limited to 193 bhp by BMW for legal reasons. I believe the car is easily modifiable though to be as quick as it should have been! It's still a powerful RWD car and needs to be treated with respect though.

Although in the grand scheme of things the car is not desperately cheap to run, (all the above problems cropped up in less than 18 months) none of it was very expensive to put right with the exception of the ABS/ASC problem I'm having.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th May, 2008