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Thread: ZHP ride and handling characteristics???

  1. #1

    ZHP ride and handling characteristics???

    I just heard back from the transportation outfit that's shipping my car that it should arrive on the 16th. When it does, this will be the first time I've ever driven a ZHP. I owned a 2009 M3 convertible for about 3 years and found it to be slightly harsh, especially while driving on crappy city streets or uneven pavement. Great on the track, but the chassis stiffness combined with the low profile 19" tires would get tiresome on occasion.

    On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the softest, how would you guys describe the ride and handling characteristics of the ZHP compared to the E93 M3?

    The '06 ZHP I just bought was a former CPO vehicle and has about 69K miles on the odometer. The dealer that sold it to me drove it to the local BMW dealership to correct the airbag recall and have a full inspection performed. The car checked out fine by BMW, but after he had driven it, he told me that he could feel a small amount of play in the steering and that it would be a good idea to replace the control arm bushings when it arrives. I'll get my local dealership to handle it, but while it's there, are there any other little rubber bits like motor & transmission mounts, tie rod ends and anti roll bar bushings that should be replaced at the same time?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    Portland, OR
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    I am impressed you were willing to buy a car sight unseen without having driven it. I could never do that, at least not without having driven a similar car.

    At any rate, I have never driven or ridden in an E9x M3 so it's tough to me to compare. However, I can describe the ZHP a bit. In the stock setting, it is very good as a daily driver. It's comfortable and compliant and absorbs rough roads relatively well. However this is dependent on your suspension's health. My 2005 330Ci with only 49k miles had completely worn factory shocks and the ride was a bit harsh and struggled to absorb small bumps well. As a result, I did a suspension refresh about a year and a half ago and it definitely improved the ride comfort. It should be noted that ride comfort is probably a bit by the factory style 135 wheels because they are large (18" diameter), come with low profile tires, and are heavy (27-28 lbs a piece i.e. added unsprung weight). All of these things stack up to marginal decrease in ride comfort. That said, they look great and are a defining part of the ZHP.

    As for performance it is an decent suspension setup and great for its age. Again, it errs on the side of a daily driver, but it is still plenty competent in the corners. The car willing to change direction well, has great feedback, and has decent grip. Compared to the E9x M3, it'll probably roll more just due to less torsional rigidity of the chassis, but you can remedy some of that with bigger sway bars. When I refreshed my suspension I opted to go for Koni Sports which are adjustable shocks. In their current setting (3/4 turn from soft) they have good ride comfort with better performance. The other thing I did to improve handling was to get a different set of wheels. I opted for a square setup of 17x8.5" ET40 APEX ARC8 wheels which shed about 11 lbs per corner and had the added benefit of taller side walls that improved ride comfort. The car now feels more planted, eager, and capable in the corners than before. One of my favorite mods/upgrades.

    As I said before, the ZHP is a great daily driver and very capable when you cane it in the back roads. If the car you bought was dealer maintained I would be very surprised if any suspension components were replaced, meaning the vast majority are 11+ years old now. Your car will be due for suspension refresh for bushings, most likely shocks, and possibly things like tie rods, end links, etc. I would have it taken to an independent BMW specialty shop if you're not doing your own maintenance, you can save some money there over the dealership. If you don't know of any independent BMW mechanics in your area, try looking through http://bimmershops.com/ first, they're a good quick and dirty resource for that.

    If you're contemplating what parts you may need for a partial suspension refresh, you can take a look at my refresh thread I have when I did my car at 50k miles. The first post has the parts I used for a relatively factory refresh with a few improvements (sort of an OEM+), plus a list of additional parts you might consider: http://www.zhpmafia.com/forums/showt...miles-10-years

    If you are thinking about wheel size as well, you can take a look at my thread discussing the ARC8 when I was trying to decide what to do, plus a cool article by Road and Track on acceleration improvements when getting lighter wheels: http://www.zhpmafia.com/forums/showt...Size-Questions

    Good luck, post pics when the car arrives!

  3. #3
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    You are going to like it but it's slow.

    Look into improving the suspension since most components are going to be worn out.

    His - 2004 Imola Red / Alcantara 330i | 6MT | ZHP |

    Her's - 2005 Black Sapphire Metallic / Black Leather 330i | 6MT | ZHP |

  4. #4
    Don't be impressed. I've done this before and the last time didn't work out so well. I bought a 1964 Triumph TR-4 in 2008 that was the subject of a "frame-off" restoration. The car looked fantastic, but one day while conering a little hard, it felt like the rear end was going to fall off. An inspection with an ice pick relvealed that the frame was completely rusted out on the inside and had been covered with Bondo and painted over. Fingers crossed on the XHP. The funny, if not ironic part, is that both cars came from the San Francisco area.

    I do plan on replacing the wheels and tires when soon and have been looking at the Apex wheels as well. The square set up makes sense to me and I'll most likely do the same.

    Why did you opt for the 17" wheels instead of the 18"?

    Thanks for the great input and advice and I'll take a look at your mod list.

  5. #5
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    I think my Zhp with the stock suspension is fairly harsh but not unbearable. My friends e36 with Bilstein tourings, and g37 definitely soak up bumps better but I guess those cars aren't as geared towards performance driving as much.

  6. #6
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    For a handful of reasons.
    • 17" wheels were a pound lighter than the equivalent 18" in the same width
    • Tires would be slightly cheaper in 17"
    • Additional sidewall height would ideally provide an improvement in ride quality.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Having driven mine for the past 15K miles or so (currently @90k miles) I always felt that stock ZHP suspension is on the soft/comfortable side. This is comparing it to my old cars: S2000 and Integra Type R.
    2005 ZHP Jet Black 6-Speed MT

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by zhp05jb View Post
    Having driven mine for the past 15K miles or so (currently @90k miles) I always felt that stock ZHP suspension is on the soft/comfortable side. This is comparing it to my old cars: S2000 and Integra Type R.
    agreed, it is definitely a little softer than an ITR. i had one new in 2001. that thing was just perfect right out of the box... the stock suspension was fantastic.
    peter



    2005 BMW 325iT M Sport 5MT | japanrot mit schwarz leder | 1/7, canadian-spec | MTechII
    future 330iT ZHP.

    2004 BMW 325iT Sport 5MT | black sapphire metallic mit schwarz leder | 1/6, canadian-spec
    the wife's new daily.

    2003 Mitsubishi Montero Limited | silver on black leather with BT, 7 seats and massive rubber
    the tank.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by BMWM3186 View Post
    I think my Zhp with the stock suspension is fairly harsh but not unbearable. My friends e36 with Bilstein tourings, and g37 definitely soak up bumps better but I guess those cars aren't as geared towards performance driving as much.
    Perhaps you need a suspension refresh (new shocks, perhaps). The stock ZHP suspension is typically far from harsh.
    My car is still comfortable with Bilstein PSS10's, and those are far firmer than a stock ZHP suspension.
    BP
    2005 330i ZHP / 6MT
    Connecticut Valley Chapter
    Patroon Chapter
    Imolarot / Naturbraun

    It's not the car you drive, it's how you drive it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by az3579 View Post
    Perhaps you need a suspension refresh (new shocks, perhaps). The stock ZHP suspension is typically far from harsh.
    My car is still comfortable with Bilstein PSS10's, and those are far firmer than a stock ZHP suspension.
    Is there a way of knowing? I don't feel as if it bounces when I push on it. I can also hear the rear shocks with the windows down when I hit a bump is that normal? Also, I feel like I'm going to break something when I go over those bridges on the interstate at 80+ But Im used to SUVs so I don't have a basis for what it's supposed to feel like.
    Last edited by BMWM3186; 03-06-2017 at 08:14 PM.

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