Model: 330ci (ZHP)
Title: Clean, MT
Engine: Inline 6 Cyl
Trans: 6 Sp. Manual
Location: Bozeman, MT
Shipping: Yes, Buyer's Expense
Revo Summary: An immaculate ZHP, perhaps the best daily driver BMW ever made.
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If you have any questions, like what you see, or want to make an offer, contact Revolving Garage at email@example.com, and we will put you in direct contact with the owner. All information and transactions will take place directly between the seller and prospective buyer. There are no additional fees to buyers, no middle man, and no catch. You are looking at a For Sale By Owner Listing, in an enhanced format. Thanks for looking, and enjoy!
- The Revolving Garage Team
It’s no coincidence that the internet forum dedicated to ZHP package equipped BMWs is called “ZHP Mafia.” Like the mafia, the ZHP is the kind of thing that if you know then you know, and if don’t know, be careful who you ask. However, unlike asking the wrong question of the mafia (which may land you in a New Jersey wetland via the trunk of Brougham d’Elegance), asking a BMW nerd about a ZHP has a better chance of boring you to sleep as they prattle on about the technical and moral superiority of their car. They’ll start by talking about a hotter cam, you’ll black out somewhere around the sport suspension with upgraded M spec control arms, and if you’re lucky you’ll regain consciousness sometime after they fully geek out over the red instrument needles.
Seriously though, the excitement is wholly warranted. And if you make it through the Tolstoy-esque description unscathed, you’ll probably want to go buy one. The ZHP may be the best BMW for daily use ever made.
And among ZHPs, the example listed here is one of the best available anywhere. It is an immaculate 2006 Convertible with 40,600 mile and a manual transmission. It’s bathed in Imola Red paint, with black Montana leather upholstery. It’s scrumptious, and we’ll discuss it in more detail below. But first, let’s talk about what ZHP really means.
The BMW 3 Series produced from 1997 to 2006 is known both internally and by enthusiasts as the “E46.” It was preceded by the E36, succeeded by the E90 and so on. Many consider the E46 3 Series to be the best modern BMW ever. It is just the right size, has a sweet straight six engine, manual trans option, hydraulic steering, rear wheel drive, and just the right amount of computerization to make it very accessible and potent without making it a programming nightmare to own out of warranty. While we’re sharing blatantly subjective opinions, I think that the cars of the late 1990s to early 200s will be known as a golden period in enthusiast cars for all of those same reasons.
On that solid platform we add what was designated on a BMW ordering form as the “ZHP Package.” It could be added to E46 330i sedans from 2003 to 2005, and coupes and convertibles from 2004 to August of 2006. This June of 2006 build convertible is close to the very end of the line of not just ZHPs, but E46s. And that is always a good thing when buying a used car as the manufacturer has used all the buyers that came before to do their real world testing, and made all the requisite tweaks. When new ZHP added about $3,900 to the sticker price.
So what exactly did the ZHP package add? A lot. Starting with the M54B30 inline six found in the 330i, it bumped horsepower to 235 (from 225 in the regular 330i), and torque to 222 lb-ft (up from 214) by adding an intake, a hotter cam shaft, and freer flowing exhaust and tuning the ECU accordingly. The cam and tune allow the ZHP to spin a higher readline at 6,800 rpms. The power is routed through the same gearboxes found in the 330i which are plenty stout, but finds the axels through a shorter differential ratio of 3.07.
In the wheel wells all ZHPs were fitted with the sport suspension (ZSP), along with “M” spec lower control arms not found on any other non-M three series. M Performance brakes were fitted, and ZHP specific staggered BMW M Style 135 wheels, 18x8 in front, 18x8.5 rear.
In the interior many ZHPs were fitted with alcantara seats and steering wheel. This looked gorgeous when new, but had all the durability of wet toilet paper. Fortunately whoever spec’d the subject car chose to go with Montana leather seats and a perforated leather wrapped M wheel both of which were available options on all ZHPs.
A weighted and shorter gear knob and short throw shift linkage were fitted, and both unique to the ZHP and not found on any other E46. (NOTE: the subject car here has what appears to be the regular E46 330 shift knob. Subject to availability, the Seller will acquire the ZHP specific shift knob and include it in the sale). There are many other additions to the ZHP, including: red gauge needles; M Tech 2 body kit; Black cube trim; trunk spoiler (not on ‘vert); and sport package seats.
So what was the result? Many think it’s better than the E46 M3 for daily and street driving purposes. That’s not bluster. You can hear it from others here, here, and here. It’s one of those rare builds that finds just the right amount more of everything, in a reliable and usable package.
Only 806 manual transmission convertibles were sent to the U.S., and of those only 91 had Imola Red paint and Montana black leather, as this car is spec’d. The seller has spent a great deal of attention getting this car into exquisite condition. He was working from a solid low mileage platform, and has done several little things that can make the difference to an enthusiast, including replacing the front bumper with an OEM part to remedy the typical cosmetic damage, touching up the paint meticulously, sourcing and replacing faded or missing “M” badging on wheels and elsewhere, and performing a superb paint correction. The only item known to the seller still to be done is fixing a strip of dead pixels on the nav screen (shown in photos), a common issue that has been addressed by the aftermarket.
The car presently has about 40,600 miles on the odometer. The motor and trans are believed to be original, all body panels except for the OEM replaced front bumper cover are believed to be original, and there are no known mechanical issues. All switches, buttons, and controls work as they should. There is a video of the top opening and closing included.
This one features a highly desirable 6 speed manual transmission, a Getrag unit shared with non-ZHP pack cars, but it is paired with a shorter ratio differential (3.07) here. The motor is a silky smooth M54 inline 6 cylinder motor. An extensive stack of records will transfer with the car. The seller would be happy to detail the service history with any interested buyer.
The Style 135 wheels are free of curb rash and spin true. Brand new Falken Azenis tires in stock sizing (225/40-18 front; 255/35-18 rear) have been fitted (note: this was done subsequent to many of the photos above) as the old tires were approaching the end of their recommended life. The Imola Red II paint was recently corrected. Two chips were repaired on the driver side to a very high standard (we could not capture them in pictures, despite our best efforts). The M-Tech II front bumper was recently replaced with an OEM unit to correct some damage to the front lip caused by a vehicle delivery transport. The trim on the driver's door (which was scratched, a common issue with this trim) was recently replaced. The convertible does not have the rear lip spoiler of coupe or sedan variants.
The black Montana leather interior is in excellent shape with no visible tears, rips or excessive wear. This car was optioned with leather seats and steering wheel (deleting the poorly aging alcantara found in many ZHPs). The far more durable leather has resulted in the overall excellent condition you see here. The highly bolstered seats are heated. The head unit has navigation and the Harmon/Kardon sound package. There are several pixels out on the screen, but it is fully functional and repair kits are available.