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Thread: Time for a commuter car?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Chevy Chase, MD
    Posts
    8

    Question Time for a commuter car?

    Hey everyone! Occasional lurker here, and a 7-year ZHP owner ('04 6MT Silbergrau/Alcantara). It took me over a year to research, locate and buy this car (sold by an amazing owner from here). Expensive to fix, but downright the most powerful and best driving experience I've ever owned.

    I've now had a ~20 mile commute in Washington, DC traffic everyday, and I'm am thinking of swapping my ZHP out for a more comfortable automatic that's just as powerful. As much as I love the stick shift, its starting to get harder to drive in stop-and-go traffic. DC roads aren't that great to start with, so I feel every bump in the road. I'm craving a more comfortable driving experience, specially since I sit in traffic for so long, which is now causing back issues for me ☹️. Fuel economy is not a big consideration, but I'd like a fairly decent gas mileage (~25-28 combined)

    I have several questions for the group -
    • Is it a bad idea to swap my baby for another? Will I regret selling my ZHP? Will I never find the same power and driving again?
    • Is it common to develop back issues after driving for an hour each way? Am I doing something wrong?
    • Does the stick shift start to feel like a chore or do I need to get it looked at?
    • What is the best next car / DD in your minds? I’m considering at 2015-2017 Volkswagen Golf GTIs or BMW 2 series. Any experience with either?


    Thanks much and I'm looking forward to your replies!
    --Sree

    Mods: Crossposted to the Off Topic Car Discussion forum a well. Let me know if I should delete a duplicate?

  2. #2
    1) Yes, you will regret it. This car has spoiled me in ways that I really wish it hadn't. There isn't another car with perfect blend of subtlety, handsome looks, driving involvement, luxury (it isn't an eco mobile with cheap interior trim), power, character, etc.

    2) When my commute was 1+ hr, it was fine, but I also have a healthy back. If you have any previous injuries or underlying issues, I could see it being a problem as the ride is still "stiff." Swapping to 17" wheels would soften it a bit.

    3) The stick is fine, even in Atlanta traffic. It's a very soft and forgiving clutch, easy to manipulate, etc.

    4) The best car would definitely be something M57 powered imo.

    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
    -Corey

    2003 Blue ZHP Sedan @ 210k
    Dead due to damaged valve. We will save her soul for future use, but the body will go to car heaven...or another owner...who may or may not turn her into a race car...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Austin TX
    Posts
    5,731
    Since we are on a BMW forum, I will recommend another 3 series: the e90 2009-2011 328i. Those model years are the facelift (LCI) version. That engine (N52) is very dependable. You don't need to worry about turbos or injectors. The prices are very reasonable as well. I used to have the 2006 e90 330i and sold it to my father in law. The car sits at 130k miles with just regular service and maintenance. Still runs like a champ.

    Don't sell your ZHP. Is there any chance you can keep it as a weekend car ? GL on your decision.
    2005 IR / black / 6MT
    150,000 miles

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    17,015
    L.A. traffic here so I feel ya, that's why I have an auto (but I don't commute anymore). Seems you will regret selling, as so many do. Keep it if you can afford a cheap daily driver.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
    Randeaux/Rando/John/jr - '06 Cic ZHP; Southern California
    "ZHP or not, I still like you"


    ZHP Performance Package, Cold Weather Package, Leather, Jet Black/Black/BlackCube, NAV
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Socal
    Posts
    1,100
    - You'll probably regret selling the zhp. I'd keep it as a weekend car.
    - No it's not common to develop back issues after driving for that amount of time each way. I used to do it in my car no problem. Unless you have some underlying injuries. Does your car not have lumbar?
    - No idea about this. I still like the manual even in socal traffic. I pretty much stick to second gear the whole time when it's really bad so not much shifting. I have a DD (Model 3) now. It's boring to drive, but has all the bells and whistles for being a great DD.
    - Best DD? Model 3 with autopilot lol The 2 series is ok. The seats hug you a lot more. And the car is a lot smaller than the e46 on the inside. The steering wheel feels good, but the steering itself is a little numb. A lot of the torque comes around 1500ish. So to me, in stop & go traffic, there's this sort of jerk when you hit that rpm every time you start which I don't like. It is a fast car though. Also looks good. At least the M240i does to me.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    San Diego, Las Vegas
    Posts
    1,790
    Yes.....You will regret it. Keep it as weekender. Get a cheapo daily driver.

    I'm retired. So I really do not get the ZHP as a daily. But I use the ZHP for my travels to and from Vegas. Love the drive. I already have a time and day schedule on when to depart San Diego and vice versa Vegas. On a good day....3.5 Hrs. 4 hrs. max.

    Like I said before.....mileage is a killer. 302 miles one way. But what a fun car for the drive.
    Lawrence
    "But Mama....That's where the fun is!"
    BMW CCA San Diego Chapter #192742
    NRA Lifetime Member

    MY STABLE
    '90 M3 AWII - Garage Queen (The Crown Jewel)
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    '03 530i Silver Grey Metallic - ED 5 spd - S.O.'s Cruiser
    '05 330i ZHP Mystic Blue Metallic 6 spd - My Ride
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Chevy Chase, MD
    Posts
    8
    Thanks for the input everyone. I have a tough decision ahead of me for sure. I've paid off the car a few years ago, but I live in the Washington, DC area and this significantly impacts cost of ownership. Parking costs are high, along with higher insurance premiums as well.

    I have a month of two to think through this, so I'm going to check out some of the other cars mentioned here. We already have an SUV, so I'm totally good getting a smaller car.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Chevy Chase, MD
    Posts
    8
    Quote Originally Posted by DeathTrap View Post
    1) Yes, you will regret it. This car has spoiled me in ways that I really wish it hadn't. There isn't another car with perfect blend of subtlety, handsome looks, driving involvement, luxury (it isn't an eco mobile with cheap interior trim), power, character, etc.

    2) When my commute was 1+ hr, it was fine, but I also have a healthy back. If you have any previous injuries or underlying issues, I could see it being a problem as the ride is still "stiff." Swapping to 17" wheels would soften it a bit.

    3) The stick is fine, even in Atlanta traffic. It's a very soft and forgiving clutch, easy to manipulate, etc.

    4) The best car would definitely be something M57 powered imo.

    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

    Thanks, man. Any specific M57s? Lighter, smaller, good value?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Chevy Chase, MD
    Posts
    8
    Quote Originally Posted by fredo View Post
    Since we are on a BMW forum, I will recommend another 3 series: the e90 2009-2011 328i. Those model years are the facelift (LCI) version. That engine (N52) is very dependable. You don't need to worry about turbos or injectors. The prices are very reasonable as well. I used to have the 2006 e90 330i and sold it to my father in law. The car sits at 130k miles with just regular service and maintenance. Still runs like a champ.

    Don't sell your ZHP. Is there any chance you can keep it as a weekend car ? GL on your decision.
    Thanks! I had considered the E90s but was never a fan of the looks. Any specific reason to not go for the Turbos? A lot of the Fxx and newer cars seem to come with them?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Chevy Chase, MD
    Posts
    8
    Quote Originally Posted by johnrando View Post
    L.A. traffic here so I feel ya, that's why I have an auto (but I don't commute anymore). Seems you will regret selling, as so many do. Keep it if you can afford a cheap daily driver.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
    I'm middle of the line right now but I know I'll miss the power and fun drive!

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