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1996 BMW 3 Series

Overview
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Vehicle Highlights

Information shown for entry-level Hatchback.

Fuel Economy:
City 20/Hwy 29/Comb 23 MPG
Max Seating: 5
Engine: 4-Cyl, 1.9 Liter Transmission: Manual, 5-Spd
Country of Origin: Germany Country of Assembly: Germany

1996 BMW 3 Series Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.9
Out of 10

Based on 535 Ratings for the 1993 - 1999 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.1/10
    Quality
    9.2/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    9.2/10
  • Comfort
    9.0/10
    Styling
    9.3/10

Great Car Except

By on Friday, January 15, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 164,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
3/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great driving car highway & around town."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"This has been a fabulous car. It still runs great. Little to no maintenance. Tires & religious oil changes. Sunroof problem, less than 300.00 at dealer. The only reason I am selling, the interior has not held up well."

6 people out of 10 found this review helpful

I sold my newer BMW to get back into an E46 3'er!

By on Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 175,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Comfortable, fun, reliable, easy to maintain"

Cons: "Often sell above KBB value, window issues"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"These cars are the best value bar none in the compact executive car segment. I'm on my second Orient Blue Metallic E46 3-Series (sedan production - 1999-2005) and actually sold a newer 5-Series to make space for it. Both of my E46 sedans have been extremely reliable and are easy to work on for the DiY-motivated owner. The car has aged gracefully and is easily mistaken for a newer car. The interior is comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, and durable. Performance is what one would expect from a small rear-wheel drive sedan - crisp, responsive, and engaging. Performance in snow is sub-par but manageable for a good driver. These cars have a few quirks that an unfamiliar buyer should be aware of: - Power window regulators fail; don't be surprised if one or more of the power windows doesn't work or makes a clicking sound. It's an easy fix. - Front bushings are often neglected, resulting in a bit of front end clunk. It's a relatively easy fix. - Passenger seat occupancy sensor fails, illuminating the airbag warning light. - The automatic transmission used in the 323i is known to shred reverse gear; manual is always better. - Weak rear subframe mounting points can result in the suframe tearing away from the body; this is most common in coupes. I would highly recommend the E46 generation 3-Series as a first BMW or for anyone looking for a cheap but classy daily commuter."

10 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Best Vehicle i ever owned!

By on Thursday, August 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 259,200

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "fUN TO DRIVE,VERY AFFORDABLE! A GREAT LITTLE CAR!"

Cons: "None,it paid for itself several years ago!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought this little bobtail bimmer with 167 k miles on it.I have owned it for 9 years it now has 259k on it.The only replacement parts that i had to replace is one alternator a battery,brakes basic stuff.The seat folds down in the back and i cannot tell you how much stuff i have hauled.It still has the clutch in it that was there when i bought it.On the highway it gets 34 mpg with a 5 speed manual no engine leaks,the engine is strong A GREAT CAR !"

13 people out of 20 found this review helpful

Great little car!

By on Monday, May 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 135,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Powerful, efficient motor. Fun to drive."

Cons: "Glove box sag, Weak cooling system."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Got a '98 328i about six months ago, this thing has ran like a gem. Nice and powerful, fun to drive. Handles really well too. Only problem I've had from it (and I've come to understand this is a shared complaint amount E36 owners,) is the cooling system has a tendency to break down. I redid the whole cooling system myself, and have had no problems with it since. My car is sixteen years old, with 135k miles on it, and still runs great. I get 20 mpg in town, and up to 33 on the highway. The interior is quite nice, simple and classy. The seats are very comfortable for their age. The glove box does sag, but really I couldn't care less."

24 people out of 37 found this review helpful

german cars made right

By on Monday, March 2, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,900

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "very comfortable, fantastic driving car"

Cons: "small cup holders, glove box sag, only a 5 speed :("

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is my first car and I'm absolutely hooked on it. It's proven to be very reliable through this cold Chicago winter. The car drives extremely well for being 18 years old. It has enough power for you when you need to get on the gas but a controllable amount where you won't get busted for speeding. The interior is basic and user-friendly. Also the seats are very comfortable for their age too. I can't wait to start fixing the basic cosmetic flaws. It could also be a great project car for any age and skill set! Overall a phenomenal car and i would own another E36 in a heartbeat."

11 people out of 18 found this review helpful

Best bang for the buck

By on Sunday, January 4, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: Money

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "very affordable, fun to drive, looks great"

Cons: "more than 15 years old"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"The E-36 3-series is one of the best handling cars I have owned. In addition to that, they are also very affordable to purchase and maintain...it would be difficult to find a less expensive car that doesn't cost more to maintain and drive."

21 people out of 31 found this review helpful

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