So I decided to do something less than practical with my BMW tonight and installed the BMW Performance SSK for the 6 speed (ZHP). It is NOT the kit for the M3, THEY ARE DIFFERENT!!! I don't care what you hear, what you read, or anything else. THIS is the lever you want to buy if you have an 03-05 E46 6 speed manual (Getrag). It is BMW Part # 25117528881. It has an S curve and is a wonderful mod.
I did some videos of the process, here are my ramblings.......
Impressions: I like it. I have tried other SSK's including Rogue and UUC and find them all to be too notchy for my liking. I am NOT saying they are bad, just too notchy for my taste. This kit is NOT at all notchy, it is very OEM like. The forward position of the knob post install is almost identical to the before. However, when shifting into 2nd, 4th, and 6th it is MUCH shorter. I dare say 25-30%. Since I only paid $63 for the handle, I say it is WELL worth the money and time. Total install time was less than one hour.
Couple notes on install: It took me about 6 minutes to get the old shifter out of the car. Once I got the rubber liner off, I just popped the old clip off with a long screwdriver.
On the new kit the yellow bushings from your stock shifter are no longer needed and will not fit so don't try to add them (ask me how I know). This is due to the design of the new handle, the bushings are sort of "built in" to the new handle.
I used a coat hanger with a hook on the end to pull the selector rod up enough to slide it back through the shifter handle hole and then attached the bitch clip from underneath (I have read where people do it from the top, if you can, you are a better man than I, I tried and got really pissed really fast). It is a tight fit and I was only able to get my hand up high enough by pulling my heat shields down a good bit, even then it was really tight. HOT TIP: I read where someone else tied a string around the top of the bitch clip so if they dropped it they could just pull the string. This was a FANTASTIC idea! Saved the day cause I dropped it more than once.
Once done I had my son row through the gears a few times while still under the car to make sure I had the bitch clip seated properly (buy a COUPLE new ones just in case). I hate this design, cause if you lose the clip, you are stranded in whatever gear you were in when the selector rod comes out. And that clip is flimsy aluminum, but it held for 160k miles so I guess it is fine.