1997 M3

Consumer Reviews

1997 BMW M3

$1,006 - $29,090  MSRP Range
1997 BMW M3

Review Score

4.9 out of 5 stars

4.9

9 Reviews
100% of drivers recommend this car
Score Breakdown
4.8 out of 5 stars Comfort
5 out of 5 stars Value for the Money
4.7 out of 5 stars Interior Design
4.9 out of 5 stars Reliability
4.9 out of 5 stars Performance
4.6 out of 5 stars Exterior Styling

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What Drivers Are Saying

1 - 9 of 9 reviews

5 out of 5 stars

What an Engineering!

by Car mechanic & fanatic from Los Angeles, CA on Fri Aug 17 2007

BMW chassis e36 M3 is a very beautiful car, always will be. Getting behind the wheel feels like you are in the cockpit of a Jet-fighter. In 1997 M3 won the competition among Vette C4, F355, Viper GTS, Toyota Supra, Honda NSX, C36amg... M3 was named "Best handling car at any price". Now I will share my knowledge about this car: If you want a CAR, not just Transport - buy BMW. If you want BMW, buy e36 M3, either 1996/97 or early 1998. Later one of 98 & 99 are heavier, have no longer napa leather & need more gasoline 19-26MPG. 95 OBD1 M3 was easier to modify before, but now there are everything for OBD2 as well. 95 M3 has smaller engine 3.0L & it is cast iron, less quality valve/springs, old style ergonomics, has no ASC(Stability Control), 19/27MPG... 96-99 OBD2 has 3.2L Alloy engine built with Forged parts, better head, everithing is digital, ASC, heated seats, better traction, and fuel economy at 20/28MPG - ONLY 96/97 EARLY 98 M3... How to distingush early 98 M3 from later one? Later M3 has three spoke steering wheel, back seat head rests, M-contour rims are heaviest also. Get M3 with forged or M-Paralell rims. Watch history before buyng one, most importent factor is 'How many owners car had', as of 2007 2-3 owner M3 is OK, but 4-7 What you think? Maintenance history is very important. I guarantee you will enjoy owning this cars. Last & not least is to get it with MANUAL transmission, better MPG, Automatics have 11lb-torque less, and REMEMBER to look for 4door M3, they are rare, made only in 97-98.. Sedan M3 looks better than coupe, plus all the rest it's more usefull. BTW sedan M3 weighs same as coupe. Good luck finding good 1996/97 M3/4!!!

5 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Does recommend this car!!

19 out of 19 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

Best Sports Car All Around

by act97m3 from San Diego, CA on Sat Aug 12 2006

I have "four" words for you: This Car Is SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!! You will love this car more than anything else you own. The motor is bulletproof. The interior is eligant/sporty, very functional, and is extremely comfortable, having all of the features and gadgets of a modern 2006 American/Japanese car (keep in mind that this is a car made in 1997) Blows the competition away.... Pretty inexpensive considering the fact it is a BMW engineered rocket. What more do you need. Oh...and did I say that it is blazing fast completely stock. You don't really need to modify this car at all...just put on some race tires and enjoy a fine day at the track. Oh...and the best of all "The Car Is A Chick Magnet" and it gets 22-25 mpg on average. Two Problems: 1.) The black strip trim/molding that goes all the way around the car is not appealing to the eye. You must take these off and paint them the same color as the car. Makes a huge difference :-) 2.) The car has more electronic devices and sensors than I have ever seen before. I mean a plethora of wires and switches that tend to go out here and there. Electrical problems are never good, but the car has NEVER failed me and it is relatively easy to fix them when they pop up. The cars electronics will let you know visually when there is a problem. 3.) Can be a little spendy for maintenance. However, if you find a good local BMW specialist, the prices will be fair and just bring it to the dealer for the electrical issues. The dealer is the only place that can 100% accurately diagnose an electrical problem from my experience. In closing, these are all minor issues. The car is worth its weight in gold and I promise you that you will ENJOY THIS CAR. I also know that you will learn to love investing your hard earned cash to maintain the car. Everyday you will be excited to be behind the wheel of "the ultimate driving machine". It really does live up to the slogan. JUST MAKE SURE THE CAR IS IN GOOD SHAPE WHEN YOU BUY IT.

5 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
4 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Does recommend this car!!

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

What a thrilling ride!

by HwnViper from Honolulu, HI on Sat Mar 10 2007

What a car BMW built, a M3 sedan which can out corner and out accelerate most sport cars. The performance of this car is outstanding, the horsepower is rated at 240 but I can tell you that it feels alot more (and take it from a person who owns a Viper RT/10). Frankly I have more fun driving my 1997 BMW M3 sedan then the Viper as it is a total sleeper car. BMW is certainly correct when they say the "Ultimate Driving Machine." The only drawback to the car is that it does not have a center console armrest, storage and a tilt steering wheel. But all that is forgotten when you hit the go pedal and hit the turns.

5 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
4 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
4 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Does recommend this car!!

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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5 out of 5 stars

I dreamed this car

by Enthusiast of CARs from LA, CA on Tue Dec 26 2006

Most amazing design & look, a balance between civilization and savagry, powerfull drivetrain, nimble & agile, that makes E36 m3 ultimate symbol of BMW's greatness. You get 5 passenger every-happy-day car, with big trunk, heated comfortable seats, nappa leather, OBC & so on... But most important in it is it's power, handling, steering, breaking and feeling you get. In S50B32(EURO) spec m3 you could get even more: 316bhp/258ft-tq, 0-60 5sec, top speed 175mph and more....

5 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Does recommend this car!!

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you?

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4 out of 5 stars

Great All Around Performer

by M3 Power from Indianapolis, IN on Mon Dec 17 2012

I bought a 1997 4-door 5-speed BMW M3 in July '04. Keeping it in running in top shape costs you, but the results are worth it. Driving the M3 around makes any trip a fun experience, while getting 23 mpg combined city/highway. I tracked the M3 a few years ('06-'09), and all it needed were summer tires and good brake pads. With its locking rear differential, and winter tires, the M3 got around in the snow tolerably well too. Sadly the M3 was lost in an accident (September 2012). The car saved our lives, as we were blind-sided by a young lady driver in her '98 Jeep Grand Cherokee. If the M3 weren't totaled, I'd still have it today. It was a great car!

4 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
3 out of 5 starsInterior Design
4 out of 5 starsReliability
4 out of 5 starsPerformance
3 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Just getting around

Does recommend this car!!

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5 out of 5 stars

Go buy one now

by M3 from Maine on Tue Aug 15 2017

By far my favorite car I've owned. Well balanced, decent power, but just wants to drive. Long distance, short distance, highway, back road, Just does everything (except snow).

5 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Commuting

Does recommend this car!!

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5 out of 5 stars

Race car

by Recently Hooked On BMW from Chandler, AZ on Mon Dec 12 2011

I just purchased my 1997 M3 a couple months ago and it is engineered fantastically and you can tell the good quality parts that BMW uses. I bought this to turn into a race car as it is very popular as a relatively inexpensive, ultimate handling, absolute blast to drive car. It is also used by racers because of its great reliability. Some BMW reviews say BMWs are expensive to maintain but this one certainly does not have many problems like other BMWs have. (And that is why you don't take it to a dealer..) Aesthetics: The clear side markers and clear tailights immediately make this car stand out and look so much better. I don't really know about the comfort and interior design as mine is stripped out.

5 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Having fun

Does recommend this car!!

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5 out of 5 stars

Top Notch Performance and Reliability

by TM from on Sun Feb 12 2017

I've been the proud owner of my 1997 M3 4-Door Sedan for 18 years. Although it still has only 59K miles, it's been one of the most reliable and exhilarating cars I've ever owned. It features the rare combination of a 5-speed manual transmission, sunroof and Luxury package.

4 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Having fun

Does recommend this car!!

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5 out of 5 stars

Fun to drive

by Jprod from Channahon, Il on Sat Aug 26 2017

Relive the excitement of driving a classic European performance vehicle. This car can bring excitement to your daily drive to work, or it can bring SCCA trophies home for your mantle. Priced Right drives great!!

5 out of 5 starsComfort
5 out of 5 starsValue for the Money
5 out of 5 starsInterior Design
5 out of 5 starsReliability
5 out of 5 starsPerformance
5 out of 5 starsExterior Styling

Purchased a Used car

Uses car for Having fun

Does recommend this car!!

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