2004 BMW 330i ZHP


In stock form the E46 330i sedan was already a brisk, practical and rewarding car to drive. A capable sport sedan for grown ups, if you will. But when specified with the $4,000 ZHP “Performance Package,” the 330i could be given a slightly harder edge that helped to make up for the lack of a four-door M3 in the E46 range (at least, a bit). Offering a mixture of cosmetic upgrades (M-Sport bodykit, 18″ M-Sport wheels and splashes of alcantara interior trim) and some mechanical reworking  – firmer suspension, a remapped ECU and upgraded cams bringing power from the smooth 3.0 liter M54 engine to about 235 hp – ZHP equipped cars remain favorites among enthusiasts and tend to command strong money when they show up on the used market.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 BMW 330i ZHP on Bimmerforums

2003 BMW 330i ZHP

1In the UK, where I grew up, the E46 3-series was available with a Sport package from 2001 onwards. This added M-Tech suspension, an M-Tech II bodykit, sport seats, steering wheel and “M V-Spoke” Style 72 alloys (later replaced by style 135s). The revised bumpers and spoilers definitely lent the car a more aggressive, sporting edge and considerably enhanced the overall look of the car. The package, officially renamed from “Sport” to “M Sport” in 2005, proved immensely popular throughout the E46 production run. As a result, the UK used market is filled with relatively cheap examples. Not so in the US. When I moved here, I soon discovered that the American E46 did not receive the same package until 2003, and only then on the 330i/330ci models. Known here as the ZHP or “Performance Package,” this added all of the aforementioned upgrades plus redesigned camshafts and a remapped engine computer, supposedly bringing power to 235 hp (10 hp more than standard models). Ticking this option box added nearly $4,000 to the cost of the car, making ZHP-equipped models relatively uncommon. As a result, when used examples do crop up they seem to command a considerable price premium.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW 330i ZHP on eBay

2004 BMW 330ci ZHP Performance Package

The success of the Motorsport derived versions of each generation of the venerable 3-series mean that it’s both easy and a natural choice to concentrate on them in the used market. But BMW has also offered some pretty special non-M models in the 3-series lineup, and the 2003-2006 330i. Much like the M3, the 330i was available in 2-door coupe and convertible no surprise there – but the 330i was also quite popular as a sedan and the E46 M3 never came in that configuration. If you ticked the ZHP Performance Package box, you paid an additional $3,900 on top of the premium for your top-of-the-line 330i. While that was no small amount of change, what that amount resulted in was actually quite a bargain. Developed by BMW Individual, you got a plethora of performance details throughout the package. Outside, M-Tech body pieces adorned the car front, sides and rear and blacked out trim replaced the chrome. So too were M-branded special Style 135 18″ wheels, with tires to match the width of bigger brother M3. Lower and stiffer suspension was met with more negative camber, special reinforcement and control arms. The engine was upgraded too, with unique cams and a revised engine map resulting in 10 more horsepower, but the ZHP was more than 10 hp quicker off the line thanks to a shorter final drive and a 6-speed manual borrowed from M. Performance wise, the ZHP split the difference between the 330i and M3 in acceleration and cornering, so it really was a performance package to live up to its name. Inside, too, many special details adorned the ZHP – from small items like lightly revised gauges with special needles to unique shifter, steering wheel, seat fabric and eggcrate dash trim. Just like the S-Line Titanium Package Audis, these more potent 330is have a cultish following who proudly claim they’re not only special, but one of the most special BMWs made:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 BMW 330ci ZHP on eBay

2003 BMW 330i ZHP

While the four-door M3 has been with us for the last two generations of 3 series, you were out of luck if you wanted an M-badged 3 series four-door when it came to the 1999-2005 E46 3er. Or were you? For a short while, BMW offered the ZHP package on E46 sedans, coupes and convertibles. More aggressive cams and modified engine management delivered 235 horsepower. Along with a modified suspension setup, this was a bit of an M3-lite. Whether it’s a standard or ZHP variant, it’s hard to come across mint condition E46 sedans these days, but this example for sale in Maryland looks to have led a pampered life, with under 60,000 miles on the clock.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW 330i ZHP on eBay

2004 BMW 330i ZHP

It’s always a happy occasion when I come across a ZHP that has been well loved and remains unmolested. In fact I think these cars are more likely to have been left in their original state than an M3 simply because the folks that tended to opt for the ZHP were more “grown up”. All I mean by that is while the E36 3 series was in production there was no four door M3 option so if you were a family man who wanted a go fast BMW, this was your car.

The ZHP only got a 10hp increase over the regular 330i but reprogrammed engine management and a close ratio six speed manual made it feel quite zippy. It’s stiffer and slightly lower too but from what I’ve read the ride quality didn’t suffer and that’s a big plus. I’ve driven a couple of E46 M3s and while they’re fantastic for spirited driving, I don’t cruising around in them on city streets. In this era before adaptive suspension setups you had to decide whether you wanted a performance car that was tolerable in day to day life or a sporty car that was OK when you wanted to get after it a bit. The older I get the more I find myself thinking the latter is the right way to go and I think the 330i ZHP is a near perfect choice for the driver who might go to the track a few times a year but mostly enjoys a spirited canyon run.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2004 BMW 330i ZHP on Pelican Parts

2005 BMW 330i ZHP

For practical folks like myself (who also happen to be BMW fans) one of the biggest disappointments in recent memory is the lack of an E46 M3 sedan. I’ve always had a soft spot for the E46 3 Series in nearly all forms but aside from the legendary M3 coupe, it’s the sedan that I’m most drawn to and I’ve always lamented the fact there was no true M version.

However, never the ones to pass up an opportunity to squeeze some extra dough out of Yankee consumers, BMW offered us the “ZHP” package on the 330i from 2003 to 2006. For $3,900 you got a lowered ride height thanks to firmer springs and stiffer dampers. Special control arms, a unique light weight front underbody cross brace, staggered wheel/tire setup further contribute to the enhancement of the car’s handling prowess. Your money also gets you an slight bump in power, 235 hp up from 225 hp as well as a marginally higher redline of 6800 rpm up from 6500 rpm. A special final gear ratio and rear axle make the most of those gains and I’m willing to bet that these cars feel plenty quick but isn’t constantly reminding you that you’re unable to use every ounce of power in day to day driving situations. After all isn’t that what you want in a daily? That’s a question I’m asking myself more and more these days.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: BMW 330i ZHP on CarsDirect

2005 Dinan S3 BMW M3

When I wrote up yesterday’s 2002 Dinan S3-R M3, I wanted to find an equivalent model to it for sale for value comparison. Naturally, I think the best counterpoint would be a lower mile late build E46 M3 equipped with the ZHP competition package, the hardest-edged M3 available without modification in the U.S.. To my surprise, I found an even better comparison; a ZCP equipped M3 with enough modifications to get a Dinan registration, but without the supercharger and suspension rework of the S3-R. Today’s example looks ready to race in Imola Red:

Year: 2005
Model: Dinan S M3
Engine: 3.2 liter inline-6
Transmission: 6-speed SMG semi-automatic
Mileage: 39,003 miles
Price: $35,991 Buy It Now

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2005 BMW M3 Dinan S on Ebay

2005 BMW M3 Coupe w/ $20K in DINAN upgrades!
1 Owner! – Low Miles! – Never Raced! – Creme Puff!

Call Laurel BMW Sales – 630.537.0311

Over $20,000 in DINAN upgrades include:
— Performance Exhaust
— Air Package
— Throttle Bodies
— 3.9 Rear End
— Additional Oil Cooler
— Water and Oil Guages
— Stainless Stainless Steel Brake Lines
— Stiffener Braces front and rear
— Cam Shaft
Dinan Registered
 
VIN:   WBSBL93495PN62120
  Chassis Number:   PN62120
  Line Make:   01 – BMW 
  Model Year:   2005
  AG Model Code/Desc:   BL93 – M3
  NA Model Code/Desc:   0537 – M3   

Exterior Color Code:   405  (Imola Red)
  Interior Trim Code:   N5SW (Black Leather)
  MSRP:   $59,740.00   

Vehicle Production Date:   2005/02
  Motor Type:   S54 
  Platform/Engineering Series:   E46   
        

   
   Original Options
   0ZCP  Competition Package 
  01CA  CO2 relevant vehicles
   0403  Moonroof
   0459  Power front seats 
  0473  Center armrest
   0494  Heated front seats  
 0508  Park Distance Control
   0521  Rain sensor and auto headlight
   0522  Xenon headlights
   0640  Phone preparation 
  0650  In-dash CD player
   0676  Hi-fi sound system 
  0692  CD changer preparation
   0793  SMG-Sequential Manual Gearbox  

509

The ZCP Competition Package on the M3 added some nice details, but in my eye the best of those is by far the wheels.…

2004 BMW 330i ZHP

The M5 we featured on Thursday was certainly nice, but for those scared off by that beast’s running costs, there is a milder solution. The E46 3 series with the ZHP package. Offering performance that straddled the line between the normal 330i and the M3, the ZHP package increased horsepower to 235 with a shorter final drive ratio. Also included was the M-Tech II bodykit, 18″ staggered size wheels, anthracite window trim and a mix of leather and alcantara on interior surfaces.

This ZHP for sale in Washington State is in an uncommon shade of Orient Blue and was a second hand CPO car.

2004 BMW 330i ZHP on BMWCCA Classifieds

2004 ZHP sedan with 6-speed manual. Orient blue metallic with natural brown leather. Moonroof. Low miles, 52.2K. Second owner since 2007, car bought as CPO with 13K miles. Stock except for DICE iPod interface and hard-wired Valentine 1 connection (both can be removed if not wanted). Excellent condition in and out, no door dings, paint in very good condition. Regularly detailed. Old-school maintenance. Brand new F/R brakes, new front calipers, fresh Pilot Super Sports. Leather steering wheel. Taillight recall done. FCABs done at 33K, new HIDs/igniters at 45K. Adult/enthusiast owned. Selling to make room for my new ’12 E91. More pictures: http://www.pbase.com/rselby/zhp

The asking price is not too out of the park, but somewhere around $1,500 or so less would probably make this car move faster. Still, after checking out the new 3 series, I think I’d be just as content with this ZHP, as the styling is less fussy and the driving experience is just a bit more simple, without any interactive gimmickry. I always wonder why BMW held off on producing an E46 M3 sedan, but I guess the ZHP was their way of offering a bone to more hard core BMW enthusiasts.…

2004 BMW 330i ZHP Supercharged

I’m a Benz guy through and through, but in one bay of my garage sits an E90 330 and even I have to admit that where Mercedes got away from some of their timeless designs in the late 1990s and early 2000s on their most popular models, BMW’s baseline 3er continued to be a design that will age well.

This E46 330i has a design over a decade old and it still hits the right notes.

Year: 2004
Model: 330i ZHP Supercharged
Engine: 3.0 inline 6
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Mileage: 46,500 miles
Price:  No reserve auction opening price: $21,000, Buy-It-Now: $24,900

2004 BMW 330i ZHP Supercharged on eBay

2004 BMW 330i ZHP Supercharged

This car has seen some very tasteful modifications to set it out from the crowd.

The photos here don’t completely do this car justice as the Orient Blue paint is coming across as black in the shadow and this really is a nice shade of deep blue. There are plenty of other photos of this car on the net if you search around.

The ESS Tuning TS2 Supercharger is the gem of this piece and with some of the other mods should up the horsepower to north of the 350 ponies range. That also is about a $7,000 kit just for the parts if you were to buy it new from ESS.

Unlike some tuned cars out there this one has the complete package with uprated suspension bushings, strut and sway bars to help the car really perform in more than a straight line. A shorter 3.46 rear diff makes sure this car jumps off line. The 3.46 upgraded is a common one as it is a stock part from automatic BMWs, the manuals got taller gearing. So while this will cut a few MPH off the top end you are getting about 15% shorter ratio with the swap.…

2004 BMW 330i ZHP

The recent kerfuffle surrounding BMW’s decision to expand the M badge to a wider variety of cars such as diesels and all-wheel drivers has merits on both sides of the aisle, but leaves me wondering why they’ve so egregiously ignored a different branding in their own history, the “is” moniker. Sure, they finally brought it back with the 335is (which I think is great), but why not skip pouring fuel on the “M dilution”-fire and just make a 535ds, an X5 4.4is, or something along those lines? The 325- and 535is in the 80s were awesome, and gave a nice, subtle hint that there was more. I know the bottom line is that the ///M brings in tons of cash, but that’s a shitty reason when it comes to maintaining brand identity.

Today’s E46 330i with the ZHP package also seemed like the perfect opportunity to utilize the “is,” but was eschewed for a 3-letter addendum bearing no relation to BMW’s model history. Gripes with nomenclature aside though, it was an awesome package. Interior and exterior specialties were well backed up with 10 more horses and a higher redline, a shorter final drive for the only non-M 6-speed manual, and various suspension and running gear upgrades. This makes it essentially the opposite of most upgrade packages: lots of content with little advertisement. No one knows how many were made, but they quickly established a solid cult following. This example on Craigslist Sacramento has added an M3ish front bumper which, combined with a salvage title, makes me think it was involved in a front-end collision. It should thus be thoroughly inspected for possible damage, but if it checks out it could be had for a significant discount. At $11,900, this could be an extremely fun car for very reasonable money.

2004 BMW 330i with ZHP package for sale on Craigslist Sacramento


A glowing description that unfortunately never explains the salvage title but includes a nice list of ZHP upgrades:

The car is in amazing condition very clean inside and out,
The paint is flawless no dents or scratches on it
Runs and drives excellent, very smooth, quiet, and comfortable Handles like a dream
–I’m asking $11,900 for it
– The KBB Value for this car is $15,210

Miles: 75,030
Transmission: 6-Speed Manual
Title: salvaged
Interior: Alacantara Seats/Sterring Wheel, and black carbon fibre looking trim
Exterior: M3 front bumper, M-Tech II rear bumper, trunk lid spoiler

Fully loaded– Harman/Kardonpremium sound, Heated Power Memory seats, HID Xenon self leveling headlights,

Options– ZHPpackage, Sports package, Performance package, Premium package, cold weather package.