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  #1  
Old 04-13-2003, 12:07 PM
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Just drove ZHP back to back with M3/4, M3C

This will be a quick review, as I'm just in the house for a minute. I'll post some pics later.

SteveMD and his 500 mile-old ZHP met up with TD and I this morning so that we could ooh and aah over the new car, and get some back to back impressions against TD's M3/4.

Cutting to the chase: The ZHP is a DAMN impressive car. The problem areas that plagued the first 330s are mostly gone (or at least mitigated). Throttle delay is present, but not as severe as in the first 330s (and maybe not as bad as the E46 M3 in non-sport mode). Steering feel is excellent (though the furry wheel feels like something that should be in Shaft's car), with a nice weighting. It doesn't transmit the same road feel as the M3 (esp. mit Konis), but it feels like a BMW should. No apologies necessary--and, believe it or not, better than the current M3.

Handling is solid. The ride is less harsh than a Koni E36 M3, and while there may be a touch more lean, you can also tell that the structure is stiffer. No squeaking, no flex--just thumpthump over bumps. Very nice.

Acceleration? Well, the butt dyno says the M3/4 is still a bit faster, but it's also a whole lot louder, so maybe the butt dyno is wrong. Oddly, the exhaust in the ZHP is louder than that in the M3/4, but the M3's other engine noises are much more pronounced. The ZHP is not slow. Still, an even shorter differential would be appreciated.

Finally, the interior is pretty wicked (other than the wheel). I dig the cloth/alcantara combo, and I even like the black cube trim.

I could own a car like this and be happy. Believe it or not, in moderate driving (because of the steering feel) it's more fun than the E46 M3. It's clearly the pick of the current litter.

Even if the top doesn't go down.

Last edited by JST; 04-13-2003 at 12:09 PM.
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  #2  
Old 04-13-2003, 12:59 PM
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waiting for Mr. TD...
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  #3  
Old 04-13-2003, 01:00 PM
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I agree that the E36 M3 feels faster than an E46 330. However, tests by the magazines show differences that are only within maybe 0.2-0.4 seconds 0-60. I think the torque curve of the E36 M3 gives you more grunt which throws off the butt dyno a bit.

From the NJ BMW CCA autocross I attended today, I'd have to agree that the E36 M3 has a cooler (and louder) exhaust note to it too.
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  #4  
Old 04-13-2003, 01:17 PM
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A sudden sense of liberty
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Driving the M3.
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  #5  
Old 04-13-2003, 01:17 PM
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And the 330:
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  #6  
Old 04-13-2003, 01:18 PM
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Handing over the keys:
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  #7  
Old 04-13-2003, 01:21 PM
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Still has the warning sticker on the dash, eh?
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  #8  
Old 04-13-2003, 01:28 PM
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Originally posted by nate328Ci
waiting for Mr. TD...
LOL.
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  #9  
Old 04-13-2003, 01:29 PM
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And before we headed out...
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Last edited by TD; 04-13-2003 at 02:21 PM.
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  #10  
Old 04-13-2003, 01:46 PM
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Okay...

First of all, JST and I discussed our opinions as we drove and I agree with everything he posted at the top of this thread.

In summary- We would both buy this car.

It is a slightly heavier, more isolated, more rigid and quieter E36 M3 sedan. And it is the first post-2001 model year BMW that I've driven that feels worthy of being a BMW.

We all (including Steve) agreed that the steering wheel, while the perfect size and thickness, really would be better off were it not so fuzzy. But all of the other ZHP elements are perfect. The shifter feels great, although without a back to back comparo with a non-ZHP 330i 6-spd, one cannot be sure if it has a shorter throw or not. And the steering weighting and overall feel was very similar to the E36 M3.

We also sought to determine whether it exhibited the infamous DBW throttle delay. And, while the throttle is still not as immediate as the E36 M3 throttle response, it is about 90% of the way there (if you treat the '01 throttle response as"0" and the E36 M3 response as 100%). It also doesn't "blip" as well, but still it's SO much better than the '01s.

What we also noticed is that, while the exhaust is rather loud on the ZHP (which is good) you cannot hear the engine sing. The opposite is the case on the E36 M3 where you hear the engine wail but barely notice the exhaust.

Steve noticed immediately on starting my car how much more vibration is felt in the cabin on the E36 M3 and indicated that was a good thing. On the ZHP, parked, you'd be tempted to re-start an already running engine (were it not for the exhaust drone) it's so still.

We agreed the suspension on the ZHP was a triumph. It is very controlled and communicative while still isolating the cabin from rude impacts and noises. For a hard-core enthusiast driving experience, the E36 M3 is much more visceral. But for most enthusiasts, the ZHP suspension is an ideal blend of comfort and feel. And for a daily driver, it's probably the perfect suspension.

For me personally, I'm beginning to geez, so the isolation offered by the ZHP suspension did hold some appeal. And the rest of the feel elements felt so very similar to those on my M3 that I definitely could see myself driving one.

Bottom line- If they made a wagon variant, it might motivate me to give up my E36. Driving them back to back, they (honestly) are more similar than they are dissimilar. Of course, I still prefer the E36. But the ZHP is, by far, the best E46 offered. Period.

Last edited by TD; 04-13-2003 at 02:24 PM.
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  #11  
Old 04-13-2003, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by TD
For me personally, I'm beginning to geez, so the isolation offered by the ZHP suspension did hold some appeal.


Quick! Someone check to see if the earth just stopped spinning.

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  #12  
Old 04-13-2003, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by TD


But the ZHP is, by far, the best E46 offered. Period.
...that you've driven

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  #13  
Old 04-13-2003, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Clyde@work


Quick! Someone check to see if the earth just stopped spinning.



Hey, there is always hope for change

j/k TD
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  #14  
Old 04-13-2003, 05:52 PM
TD
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Originally posted by atyclb
...that you've driven

Even aside from the fact that the E46 M3 has two few doors, I still will tell you that I don't think I'd like it. From the Honda sounding exhaust to the jittery throttle response to the light steering and porky weight, I really doubt it.

BTW, you pick this out of my review yet you ignore this line from JST- "Believe it or not, in moderate driving (because of the steering feel) it's more fun than the E46 M3. It's clearly the pick of the current litter. "

Last edited by TD; 04-13-2003 at 06:03 PM.
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  #15  
Old 04-13-2003, 06:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by TD
Even aside from the fact that the E46 M4 has two few doors, I still will tell you that I don't think I'd like it. From the Honda sounding exhaust to the jittery throttle response to the light steering and porky weight, I really doubt it.
What's an M4?

And, how can you confirm any of your allegations

Honda exhaust?
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  #16  
Old 04-13-2003, 06:05 PM
TD
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Quote:
Originally posted by nate328Ci
What's an M4?

And, how can you confirm any of your allegations

Honda exhaust?
M4 - obvious typo

Honda exhaust - Heard them with my own ears many times. Piss poor exhaust note

Steering weight, throttle response - From reviews from objective sources not defensive owners

And anyone past the age of 2 can count high enough to know that the E46 M3 only has 2 doors.
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  #17  
Old 04-13-2003, 06:20 PM
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About the fuzzy steering wheel...You may not appreciate it now, but if you're on the track with driving gloves, you'll love how the alcantara wheel just STICKS to your hands like glue. I've had problems with sweaty palms at the track, but with a regular driving glove the leather just simply does not stick to my hand too well.
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  #18  
Old 04-13-2003, 06:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by TD
Even aside from the fact that the E46 M3 has two few doors, I still will tell you that I don't think I'd like it. From the Honda sounding exhaust to the jittery throttle response to the light steering and porky weight, I really doubt it.

BTW, you pick this out of my review yet you ignore this line from JST- "Believe it or not, in moderate driving (because of the steering feel) it's more fun than the E46 M3. It's clearly the pick of the current litter. "

you expected a reponse, JST didn't.

I obliged.

For anyone to say that a 330i ZHP is far and away better than an E46 M3 is just pure trolling and/or blindness and/or ????
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  #19  
Old 04-13-2003, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by TD

Honda exhaust - Heard them with my own ears many times. Piss poor exhaust note
It doesn't sound like any honda that I have heard

I actually like the chainsaw engine. Sounds really nice as a corner worker with one screaming by...
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  #20  
Old 04-13-2003, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by atyclb

For anyone to say that a 330i ZHP is far and away better than an E46 M3 is just pure trolling and/or blindness and/or ????
Have you driven both?

I have.

The ZHP has better steering. The handling, at non-insane speeds, is similar. The ZHP may ride slightly better, though there was some time between my having driven the two. The ZHP has two extra doors. The interior in the ZHP is much nicer; the M3 seats feel flat and unsupportive in comparison to the well-executed alcantara/cloth. The ZHP costs substantially less. The ZHP has a spare tire.

On the plus column for the ///M car, the M3 is faster, but its extra performance is really most pertinent at speeds above 75 or so mph, at which point you are *already* committing "reckless driving" in Virginia. The M3 has an "M" badge.

As I said above, the ZHP is (IMHO) the obvious choice for someone who wants a BMW to drive daily, and isn't looking for track-day perfection or bragging rights re: number of throttle bodies. When cost is factored into the equation, it's the best car BMW makes.
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  #21  
Old 04-13-2003, 06:49 PM
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TD - NOW DO YOU BELIEVE ME ? ? ? ?


LOL I am loving your review . . . I TOLD YOU about the DBW and the revised steering and you never beleived me . . . or as you said "I don't buy it'

I told you so, I told you so, I told you so

This made MY DAY !!!! Thanks
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  #22  
Old 04-13-2003, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by JST
Have you driven both?

I have.

nope.

I don't remember ever commenting on the 330i ZHP, as I have never driven one.
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  #23  
Old 04-13-2003, 06:54 PM
TD
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Quote:
Originally posted by atyclb
you expected a reponse, JST didn't.

I obliged.

For anyone to say that a 330i ZHP is far and away better than an E46 M3 is just pure trolling and/or blindness and/or ????
For the enthusiast who makes occasional yet infrequent visits to the track, the ZHP is the ideal car. I could see how the extra top end on the E46 M3 would be put to full use by hard-core track junkies (like some of the E46 M3 owners who have recently migrated over to the Fest). But even you have never once tracked your M3. And you have also never driven either car referenced primarily in this thread, the ZHP or the E36 M3.

For real world driving, I am quite confident that I would MUCH rather drive the ZHP than the E46 M3.
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  #24  
Old 04-13-2003, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by TD
For the enthusiast who makes occasional yet infrequent visits to the track, the ZHP is the ideal car. I could see how the extra top end on the E46 M3 would be put to full use by hard-core track junkies (like some of the E46 M3 owners who have recently migrated over to the Fest). But even you have never once tracked your M3. And you have also never driven either car referenced primarily in this thread, the ZHP or the E36 M3.

For real world driving, I am quite confident that I would MUCH rather drive the ZHP than the E46 M3.
Sounds like you are turning into a C&D old man

Speaking of atyclb and his driving, why doesn't he ever go out to TWS?
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  #25  
Old 04-13-2003, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by TD
For the enthusiast who makes occasional yet infrequent visits to the track, the ZHP is the ideal car. I could see how the extra top end on the E46 M3 would be put to full use by hard-core track junkies (like some of the E46 M3 owners who have recently migrated over to the Fest). But even you have never once tracked your M3. And you have also never driven either car referenced primarily in this thread, the ZHP or the E36 M3.

For real world driving, I am quite confident that I would MUCH rather drive the ZHP than the E46 M3.
Even if I NEVER track my car, I am truly convinced that I would MUCH rather drive the E46 M3 than the E36 or ZHP.

















Those others are not nearly trendy enough.
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