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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys:

I currently own a 2000 323i with 100K (wife's car). Last year sold my 2003 530i which was bought new (sport package.. super machine) due to job issues.

Ready to get back into a sporty 3 series. Considering a 2004 330i ZHP - 6 spd. I am about to look at one with 22K priced at $32000.

I have not driven a ZHP and would like your honest opinion of this vehicle.

Thanks

Doug
 

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dweiler said:
Hi guys:

I currently own a 2000 323i with 100K (wife's car). Last year sold my 2003 530i which was bought new (sport package.. super machine) due to job issues.

Ready to get back into a sporty 3 series. Considering a 2004 330i ZHP - 6 spd. I am about to look at one with 22K priced at $32000.

I have not driven a ZHP and would like your honest opinion of this vehicle.

Thanks

Doug
I drove a new 2003 330i ZHP back from the BMW Performance Center in SC back to NYC a few years back and drove it again cross country (NYC to WA) last December. The ZHP is a lot of bang for the buck. It is definitely a car I would consider if I was looking for an E46.

Hope this helps....JL
 

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Keeping it surreal
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If you`re a performance-oriented driver, the ZHP is for you. If the M3 is out of the equation for whatever reason, this is the next best thing (albeit with 100 less horses). Many think the ZHP is the best-balanced 3-series ever offered for everyday driving....IMHO they made a good compromise between comfort and a balls-to-the-wall hard-core ride like the M3`s. It`s also a model that you don`t see at every stoplight, which gives a slight personal satisfaction. To me, the coupe`s graceful lines are complimented by the ZHP`s bodywork, wheels, and other goodies. Do I like it? Of course !

Regards,
Bob
 

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The 330i w/ZHP is going to be a much different car than the 530 you used to have. I would imagine that it will quite a bit different than your 323 too. It's lighter and smaller than a 5er and most folks can really feel the difference between the 3 and 5 series. The ZHP package moves things to a whole different level. The exhaust note is much more pronounced than any other 330. The suspension is firmer than every other BMW except the M and Z cars. The body kit, interior trim changes, and wheels are just icing on the cake.

I actually like the way mine drives better than the E39 M5, although I love the 400hp that the M5 offers, it just feels so much more nimble and connected to the road. Even as nice as the E90s are, I like my ZHP better. I don't see myself being tempted by the E90 until I get some seat time in a 335i or the new M3. The E46 w/ZHP is just such a well done package that there isn't anything out there in stock form that I like better.
 

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I was very close to purchasing an '04 ZHP, before I settled on my Manual ZSP. I went for the sport package because I'm not racing into every corner, and the ZSP isn't exactly a poor man's 3 series.

I have three children, and I drive clients enough that the ZHP was a little too firm for me. When you're on your own, it's a blast, when you have clients in the car, you feel every crease in the pavement ,etc.

Love the wheels and subtle differences in the vehicle, but you can't go wrong w/ a nice ZSP either. Plus, you can change the wheels and add a few other mods.

I'm very happy w/ my decision. Even when I admire a nice ZHP on the road next to me.

My two cents.

32k not a bad deal, but if you're patient, you could do better. I saw them w/ less miles and cheaper six months ago.
 

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I think you can go a little lower on the pricing, depending on the options you have on the car. Just as an example, I see a 2005 with everything but nav and 21,xxx miles going for 30k. With that said, I love the ZHP package as it sets it apart from all the other 3 series on the road. Although you do get quite a stiff ride, if you have the cloth/alcantara seats, the ride is not as punishing as the leather seats (IMO).
 

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dweiler said:
Hi guys:

I currently own a 2000 323i with 100K (wife's car). Last year sold my 2003 530i which was bought new (sport package.. super machine) due to job issues.

Ready to get back into a sporty 3 series. Considering a 2004 330i ZHP - 6 spd. I am about to look at one with 22K priced at $32000.

I have not driven a ZHP and would like your honest opinion of this vehicle.

Thanks

Doug
Yes, pretty much what they said above.

Mine is coming up this September on 3 years and 30K miles more or less.

The car is a "little" stiffer than the sports pack, but not much. The M135 wheels are a pain to clean, but they do look sharp. The extra 10 HP is nice, but hardly noticeable, honestly.

I have the leather, but I could do without the fuzzy wheel; at 29K mine is a bit ratty. I had the coils checked during the recall (2003 model) but do not have the problem.

I had a noisy belt idler replaced under warranty, otherwise, no major issues.

That's about it.

2004 at 32K seems a little high to me for some reason, perhaps in a couple months it will fall but maybe this is a low mileage/pristine model.

Good luck.
 

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Omni Extaris
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dweiler said:
Hi guys:

I currently own a 2000 323i with 100K (wife's car). Last year sold my 2003 530i which was bought new (sport package.. super machine) due to job issues.

Ready to get back into a sporty 3 series. Considering a 2004 330i ZHP - 6 spd. I am about to look at one with 22K priced at $32000.

I have not driven a ZHP and would like your honest opinion of this vehicle.

Thanks

Doug
Here in the SF area I saw a subaru dealer with a 2004 ZHP/silver grey/black leather/xenons/14k miles - pristine.... for $32k.

I drove it for 40 minutes and felt it was a bit louder and stiffer than what I wanted. albeit gorgeous.

They dropped to $29.5 in 5 minutes. I thought about it for a few days and ended up with an '03 ZSP - I preferred the slightly softer ride - I felt they got it exactly right with the sports pkg and I also preferred the exhaust note on the sports pkg. I found the ZHP a bit noisy to the point of annoying.

It's a gorgeous car. love the wheels, it's different... Drive it and then drive the sports pkg model.

You can't go wrong with either car.
 

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My Imola Red ED'd ZHP is just over 2 years old...11,000 miles (The Ultimate Parking Machine?) This is my ninth BMW and except for the tii the absolute most fun. I love the looks because you don't see yourself going by everyday and the handling is superb, a bit heavy compared to the 318ti I came out of, so it's still a learning experience. So far I've experienced none of the problems floated around here, but I realize the mileage is pretty low. I'd recommend this car to anyone wanting a sporting BMW who doesn't want to go M3. I don't have kids or clients (Just a wife who lusts for a Z Coupe) so the ride is not a problem. First driving school in this car is coming up next month, 235 horses are going to be a lot more fun than 145. Yeah, the wheels are painful to clean...but I've had the infamous basket weaves..."the wheels you love to hate". Kind of wish I'd gone for leather as the alcantra is going to get dirty sooner or later and you just don't wipe it down, but it sure is comfy summer or winter. I like the car and am glad we bought it...hope the prices stay way UP.
 

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Fast Bob said:
If you`re a performance-oriented driver, the ZHP is for you. If the M3 is out of the equation for whatever reason, this is the next best thing (albeit with 100 less horses). Many think the ZHP is the best-balanced 3-series ever offered for everyday driving....IMHO they made a good compromise between comfort and a balls-to-the-wall hard-core ride like the M3`s.
I couldn't agree more.

Many liken the ZHP to the E36 M3 but with a bit less raw factor, making everyday driving just that much better. It's almost a luxurious version of the E36 M3 IMO.
 

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IMHO the e46 330i w/ZHP is the best 3-series car ever made outside of the e46 M3 and that includes the new e90 until I see a better sports suspension, better drivers cockpit, cupholders that aren't ridiculous, better wheels,.....well you get the picture. After 5 years of innovations, facelifts, tweaks and improved features on the platform a late model e46 w/ZHP is just a phenomenal automobile that couldn't be improved upon without the complete redesign that was attempted. I got it because I wanted an M but needed 4 doors. I do have a kid and he enjoys the ride while firmly planted in his carseat in the back!!! :D
 

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jetstream23 said:
IMHO the e46 330i w/ZHP is the best 3-series car ever made outside of the e46 M3 and that includes the new e90 until I see a better sports suspension, better drivers cockpit, cupholders that aren't ridiculous, better wheels,.....well you get the picture. After 5 years of innovations, facelifts, tweaks and improved features on the platform a late model e46 w/ZHP is just a phenomenal automobile that couldn't be improved upon without the complete redesign that was attempted. I got it because I wanted an M but needed 4 doors. I do have a kid and he enjoys the ride while firmly planted in his carseat in the back!!! :D
OK, if you can get a Jet Black w/ Natural brown, I'll agree w/ Jetstream.

The e46 in black is still my favorite BMW on the road (ZSP or ZHP). But mine's easier to clean:)

I like black because I'm not a fan of the black strip a long the sedan's bumper and side, and glad Bimmer went away from it. But when your car's black you don't see it. Nice ride JetStream!
 

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downtown said:
OK, if you can get a Jet Black w/ Natural brown, I'll agree w/ Jetstream.

The e46 in black is still my favorite BMW on the road (ZSP or ZHP). But mine's easier to clean:)

I like black because I'm not a fan of the black strip a long the sedan's bumper and side, and glad Bimmer went away from it. But when your car's black you don't see it. Nice ride JetStream!
Yes, one of the reasons I went for the black exterior. I don't like how the black strip stands out on other colors either. Thanks for the compliment. The natural brown interior is killer, I love it. Took extra time and effort to find this color combo on a ZHP but I'm glad I did.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Opinions

Thanks for all the input guys.

The owner has accepted an offer of $30.9. Perhaps a tad high in everyone's opinion but he claims it is flawless. I am flying to Cincinnati (from Wisconson) on Wed or Thur to inspect it. Sale depends on inspection. We'll see.

Will let you know.

Thanks again and hope to add to the ranks of ZHP lovers.

Doug

I'll be off line for a couple days
 

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jetstream23 said:
IMHO the e46 330i w/ZHP is the best 3-series car ever made outside of the e46 M3 and that includes the new e90 until I see a better sports suspension, better drivers cockpit, cupholders that aren't ridiculous, better wheels,.....well you get the picture. After 5 years of innovations, facelifts, tweaks and improved features on the platform a late model e46 w/ZHP is just a phenomenal automobile that couldn't be improved upon without the complete redesign that was attempted. I got it because I wanted an M but needed 4 doors. I do have a kid and he enjoys the ride while firmly planted in his carseat in the back!!! :D
I remember we both got our 330's at roughly the same timeframe last year. And it sounds like someday we both have a potential supercharger in the future :)
 

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wingspan said:
Yes, pretty much what they said above.

Mine is coming up this September on 3 years and 30K miles more or less.

The car is a "little" stiffer than the sports pack, but not much. The M135 wheels are a pain to clean, but they do look sharp. The extra 10 HP is nice, but hardly noticeable, honestly.

I have the leather, but I could do without the fuzzy wheel; at 29K mine is a bit ratty. I had the coils checked during the recall (2003 model) but do not have the problem.

I had a noisy belt idler replaced under warranty, otherwise, no major issues.

That's about it.

2004 at 32K seems a little high to me for some reason, perhaps in a couple months it will fall but maybe this is a low mileage/pristine model.

Good luck.
A good way to get rid of the fur balls on the wheel is to go get a fabric shaver. I bought one at Walgreens for $4 figuring it was worth a shot. It worked really well. Afterwards the wheel felt almost as smooth as it did new.

Regarding my opinion on the ZHP - If I had to do it all over again I would opted for the ZSP instead. A few things I don't like about it is the final drive. I would rather have a taller gear. I would rather have a leather covered wheel versus alcantara. The ride at times becomes tiresome. I do like the exhaust note and exterior looks. I like the wheels but they're a PITA to clean.
 

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Fast Bob said:
If you`re a performance-oriented driver, the ZHP is for you. If the M3 is out of the equation for whatever reason, this is the next best thing (albeit with 100 less horses). Many think the ZHP is the best-balanced 3-series ever offered for everyday driving....IMHO they made a good compromise between comfort and a balls-to-the-wall hard-core ride like the M3`s. It`s also a model that you don`t see at every stoplight, which gives a slight personal satisfaction. To me, the coupe`s graceful lines are complimented by the ZHP`s bodywork, wheels, and other goodies. Do I like it? Of course !

Regards,
Bob
I'm with Bob. I had a 2002 530i with sport prior to my ZHP. I loved it and agonized over the decision, but my driving needs changed and the 330ci ZHP was the answer. I love this car! I was not convinced a new M3 at $10k more was worth it for me at the time, so I thought the ZHP would be a close second. Having never driven an E46 M3, I'm not sure how close, but I find the ZHP very capable for my needs/wants right now. In the used market the differential in price is not quite as big though.

Some major differences between the 530, from my point of view:

- E46 sport seats are not comparable to those in the E39. I miss them the most. They're close, but not quite.

- Ride quality in the ZHP is fine on smooth roads, but introduce bumps and dips, and be prepared to "bounce" a little. Where the E39 soaked them up, the ZHP is much stiffer. Of course this is a benefit when driving on twisty roads.

- Handling on the ZHP is unmatched by the 530. The steering ratio on the ZHP is the quickest of any 3-series, may be my favorite feature. It's quite sharp!

- With a 6-speed and the different ratio rear diff, the ZHP is ready to run. I like the gearing alot.

- Interior comfort on the E46 isn't quite that of the E39, things are closer to you and it takes a little getting used to. Fit and finish are equivalent. Everything is familiar and similar otherwise.

- H/K sound system blows away stock system in E39, tho not audiophile quality, much, much better.

- I actually get worse gas mileage with my ZHP cuz, well, the go pedal is too hard to resist. I average about 21mph for my driving, got about 23 in the 530i.

There are times I miss the 530i, but they are rare. I wish I could have both, one for trips, the other for serious fun driving. The 530i was a great all around car, but the ZHP equipped E46 is one sure-fire blast to drive hard.
 

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The 330 ZHP is simply the best non-M 3 series ever! Period.

The steering is the best I've ever encountered in a bimmer it has laser precision.

The Shifter is a bit notchy but better than the regular 3.

The exhaust note is just perfect!! Not too loud not too low, just right.

The handling is awesome! The ride is comfortable and not that harsh, sometimes i can't believe its riding on 18's.

The interior is the same beloved driver cockpit of the E46 with some special trim, wheel and knob to give it a different more performance look.

The total package is great and takes the E46 to another level in both performance and driver fun, buy it you wont regret.
 

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Just get it and don't look back. You won't regret it :thumbup:
 
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