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jfryjfry
jfryjfry Reader
9/21/16 2:24 a.m.

So I'm working on a show and we have a few BMW 330i zhp's.... I could probably pick one up from the show for around $4k. (Plus transporting from boston to los angeles). One has 190k (unsure of year) and the other is an 04 with 120k. I need to check but I don't think any rust.

I have a 98 3/4/5 (m3 4-door 5-speed) that is in good shape. Not amazing but pretty solid.

I can only have one and am really trying to decide which one, if the zhp becomes avail and is in good shape.

My e36 is rough and a little noisy to drive. It needs rtabs (which I have) but also has some new parts and is a known quantity.

The zhp's are both really clean and solid.

This is strictly as a semi-daily driver and could see an autocross but unlikely as I have a track car for that.

Value down the road has a little bearing on it but not much. My wife does not like the noisy m3 and would probably like the zhp better. The zhp's seem like better cars but I'm fine with the m3 and it's a m3. I don't know if that should hold any weight but seeing that little m badge and stripes makes my brain smile a little.

Any thoughts???

vazbmw
vazbmw HalfDork
9/21/16 3:01 a.m.

Subjectively speaking, the 330 is a more attractive car with about 10hp than the e36 M3. I vote the 330 ZHP.

Furious_E
Furious_E Dork
9/21/16 5:02 a.m.

Zhp would be my vote I think. The M3 might have the badge and stripe recognition factor, but the ZHP is the rarer car that only someone truly in-the-know would recognize. There is a certain coolness about that. Plus, it should be as better all around car.

2002maniac
2002maniac Dork
9/21/16 5:04 a.m.

Both are certainly done depreciating and should be on the upswing price wise.

Both great cars. I think I would have a tough time choosing between the two. Probably would go with ZHP personally.

1966stang
1966stang Reader
9/21/16 5:28 a.m.

ZHP!

Huckleberry
Huckleberry MegaDork
9/21/16 6:53 a.m.

I'll be the lone hold-out for the E36. I'd keep the M3 because it's an M3 and they have started to appreciate. Nice ones are getting pretty hard to find and you have the rarest of all the E36 M3s. The 98 3/4/5 is a unicorn.

The 330 ZHP is a nice package but it isn't really all that special or that much better than a regular 330 if you put an LSD with a little more gear in it. Since you already own the M3, keeping it is free where either 330 will cost you something.

dean1484
dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/21/16 7:06 a.m.

So if you pass on the zhp is there even a remote chance I could get in line behind you to get it? Being it is in Boston it is local to me.

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture PowerDork
9/21/16 7:11 a.m.

The E46 has a MUUUUCH nicer interior than the E36. Having owned both cars, that alone would be enough for me to choose the E46 as a DD.

penultimeta
penultimeta Reader
9/21/16 7:17 a.m.

M3 since you already own it. Might not be as "rare" as a ZHP, but a nice one is hard to find these days and I imagine will continue to become harder to find. The ZHP is more or less just a special package 330i, which is by no means a knock against it. If you were asking "should I buy" one over the other, my vote would go to the ZHP, but since you own the M3, I vote M3.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
9/21/16 7:22 a.m.
vazbmw wrote: Subjectively speaking, the 330 is a more attractive car with about 10hp than the e36 M3. I vote the 330 ZHP.

The ZHP is rated at 250hp?

Huckleberry
Huckleberry MegaDork
9/21/16 7:26 a.m.
z31maniac wrote:
vazbmw wrote: Subjectively speaking, the 330 is a more attractive car with about 10hp than the e36 M3. I vote the 330 ZHP.
The ZHP is rated at 250hp?

No. It's rated at 235 so down 5 on paper from an OBD-II E36 M3. It's up 10HP over a regular E46 330. TQ is about the same.

dculberson
dculberson PowerDork
9/21/16 7:34 a.m.

I do not think the ZHP cars are done depreciating but $4k is cheap enough that you'd be unlikely to lose money on resale for many years to come. How kosher would it be for you to buy to resell? Sell it in Boston for$6k. Then spend $2k on awesomeness for your M

rslifkin
rslifkin Dork
9/21/16 7:34 a.m.

As another comparison metric, the E46 330 and E36 M3 both have about the same amount of tire clearance, maybe a slight edge to the E46. 4 stock ZHP rear wheels will let square 255s fit on the E46 without issue on both the coupes and sedans.

vazbmw
vazbmw HalfDork
9/21/16 7:39 a.m.
z31maniac wrote:
vazbmw wrote: Subjectively speaking, the 330 is a more attractive car with about 10hp than the e36 M3. I vote the 330 ZHP.
The ZHP is rated at 250hp?

Sorry, I thought the E36 US version was 225hp (While Europe got the 280hp engine), but I stand corrected. I would still go with the ZHP...both are nice cars though. There would be no losers

dyintorace
dyintorace GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/21/16 8:01 a.m.

Tough call. I've owned 2 e36 M3s and 2 ZHPs. Both are great cars. I think the M3 felt a little more special and sounded great with an AA exhaust on it. And the throttle response was simply incredible.

The ZHP is a much nicer car and looks stunning. Just this morning, I saw this photo on FB and fell in love with ZHPs all over again.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
9/21/16 8:24 a.m.

Put me in line for the '04 / 120k car too. I'd buy that for my use and hand my '03 / 120k 325i down to DD#2.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
9/21/16 8:35 a.m.
dyintorace wrote: Tough call. I've owned 2 e36 M3s and 2 ZHPs. Both are great cars. I think the M3 felt a little more special and sounded great with an AA exhaust on it. And the throttle response was simply incredible. The ZHP is a much nicer car and looks stunning. Just this morning, I saw this photo on FB and fell in love with ZHPs all over again.

I would love for that to be my daily driver.

mad_machine
mad_machine GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/21/16 8:36 a.m.

As said above.. the ZHP is nothing more than a special order package on a stock 330. Other than being "rare" it is nothing all that special. The M3 IS special. It was designed from the factory to be special and carry on with the M badge from the E30 M3 on down till today. It may be a bit rough around the edges, but as you say, it is a known quantity. Just think of what that 4 grand you would spend (plus shipping) on the ZHP would do for your M3

Tyler H
Tyler H GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
9/21/16 8:44 a.m.
mad_machine wrote: As said above.. the ZHP is nothing more than a special order package on a stock 330. Other than being "rare" it is nothing all that special. The M3 IS special. It was designed from the factory to be special and carry on with the M badge from the E30 M3 on down till today. It may be a bit rough around the edges, but as you say, it is a known quantity. Just think of what that 4 grand you would spend (plus shipping) on the ZHP would do for your M3

I could live up to the bimmerbro stereotype and say that the M3 was designed to be special....except for the US version. BUT...I love M3s for what they are, not the badge.

The ZHP is an option package on the 330...a big one. Different cams, tuning, and a six speed are the hard parts...the rest is aesthetic.

I set out to buy an M3/4/5 and ended up with a 330i ZHP, which coincidentally I bought from dyintorace. I bought the nicest car I could find in my price range, and all of the M3s were beat.

Really, you can't go wrong here.

BMW 330i ZHP ownership experience

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
9/21/16 8:47 a.m.

The M3 is more visceral and involving to drive. The ZHP has a much nicer interior, is a bit more modern, and would serve better as a daily driver. That said, its also more numb to drive than the M3, and not nearly as much fun.

Seeing your situation, and how your wife feels, I may go with the ZHP. Of course, you could always keep the M3 as a track / autocross car.

Cooper_Tired
Cooper_Tired HalfDork
9/21/16 9:03 a.m.

4K ZHP?!!

Where's the line for the rejects?!?

golfduke
golfduke Reader
9/21/16 9:26 a.m.

If you're DD'ing, ZHP will outperform the e36 m3 in almost all metrics.

If you're going to use it on the track/auto-x course for more than 1-2x a year... there's a reason why every HPDE is comprised of mostly e36 M3's. They're extremely hard to beat in terms of bang for buck, performance, and general reliability.

Personally, I have a super soft spot for e36's, so I'd go that direction. But I totally respect the fact that I'm most likely in the minority.

Harvey
Harvey Dork
9/21/16 9:45 a.m.
That said, its also more numb to drive than the M3, and not nearly as much fun.

I agree that it's probably a little bit more numb than the M3, that said I don't think in general it's numb. The road feel is still there, though moderated enough that driving it daily is a pleasure.

The people saying the ZHP is just an option package are correct, but you get a lot with that option package. The steering ratio is changed up to make it much quicker, you get a lot of nicer interior bits, different wheels (though they are heavy as hell and hard to clean) a different cam and software setup for more power (235 vs 220), a different rear end ratio. If it had an LSD from the factory I'd say it beats the E36 M3, but otherwise I feel it's a toss up depending on what you want from it. I really enjoyed our ZHP. I don't really like the E90 335i we have now as much, you want numb this is the car, but it does have that twin turbo motor.

A $4k ZHP at 120k miles is a bargain IMO if it is in good condition.

That said, you could make the M3 less noisy I'm sure. They aren't by default noisy. Put a quiet exhaust on it, change out some bushings and I'm sure it would be more appealing.

Also a 4 door E36 M3 has got to be more rare than a ZHP car.

rslifkin
rslifkin Dork
9/21/16 9:51 a.m.

In reply to Harvey:

Non-ZHP E46 330s are 225hp, not 220. The ZHP package is typically a good chunk of extra money for the 10 extra hp, different wheels and other bits. But $4k is a cheap for one, so...

Harvey
Harvey Dork
9/21/16 9:55 a.m.
rslifkin wrote: In reply to Harvey: Non-ZHP E46 330s are 225hp, not 220. The ZHP package is typically a good chunk of extra money for the 10 extra hp, different wheels and other bits. But $4k is a cheap for one, so...

I stand corrected on the HP. Not sure why I remembered 220.

Hey, no argument from me on the value proposition. We sold ours for about twice what you would probably get for a comparable regular 330 and it sold quick, within a week of me posting it up. I think for most people, they can't make a regular 330 do what the ZHP does for less money.

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