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Thread: ZHP values rising. At what point do you just get an M3 ?

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by cakM3 View Post
    I like your touring George!
    Thanks! It doesn't have the velocity stacks anymore and it's all one color... I need to update my journal thread, maybe tonight.

    Quote Originally Posted by t.er View Post
    You just got real lucky with your purchase and I don't think the price you paid is a good example for ZHP vs M3 prices even back in the day - you could barely find an SMG M3 vert for that much back then. Back in 2015, $7K got you this bucket of bolts. If the price difference wasn't as significant as it was, I probably would've considered an M3.

    Definitely jealous of your find though. Alpine white 6MT is a beautiful colour - I don't know what crack the seller was on to price it like that, but all the more power to you lol
    Fair, it was a trade in at the dealer I worked at because it was misdiagnosed as needing a transmission (by the owner, the pivot pin was broken and intermittently it would grind when pushing in the clutch). I did the RACP, bearings, vanos, clutch and some other "minor" things and sold it with around 140k (iirc) for $16k 3yrs ago and it took a little bit.

    Also I did have a SMG Imola M3 before that, the previous owner tried to change the clutch himself. The SMG wouldn't adapt and he thought it had a bad hydraulic unit. I bought it for $4500 iirc and it turned out the clutch was damaged and wouldn't disengage. I 6MT swapped it and kept it for a couple years and when I sold it, it had similar miles and condition to the alpine car with RB and Vanos done and I had to work to sell that one for $12k. You aren't going to find that deal either.

    But I do see SMG cars misdiagnosed all the time, deals are out there if you know what to look for, just not as prevalent as they were. (*Side note, I've converted maybe 10 or so M3s from SMG to 6MT, and the majority of them were misdiagnosed as needing a hydraulic unit and they all could have been fixed for less than $500 in parts. Misdiagnosed by their owners or other shops, I generally like to diagnose them before I swap to learn more about the failure modes whether the customer specifically asked for it or not). 3yrs ago I could go buy an M3 coupe for $5-6 within a week or two of searching, convertible SMG were even cheaper. And when looking for a donor, I could buy a wrecked M3 off of CL or FB for $3-4k.

    SMG verts can still be found for $8-9k right now. The S54 touring I am building the customers donor car was a 90k SMG vert he bought off a used car lot for less than $10 (it did have a salvaged title, but had been repaired, albeit not perfectly).

    Either way the days of those cars being priced like that are over and not valid to compare to today's market as your $6,200 ZHP then isn't that now just like all of my M3s are worth more now too.
    Current Garage... '00 R11S, '09 HP2S, '12 R12GSA, '00 Black 323iT (wife's), '02 Alpine 325iT (Eileen, Track Wagon), '02 Japan Rot 325iT

    Instagram @ HillPerformanceBimmers
    Email to George@HillPerformance.com

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by t.er View Post
    I read that article years ago and just glanced through it again. IMO that car wasn't worth $7k then and probably isn't worth it now unless it had really low mileage (which I didn't see stated in the article but may have missed).
    Current Garage... '00 R11S, '09 HP2S, '12 R12GSA, '00 Black 323iT (wife's), '02 Alpine 325iT (Eileen, Track Wagon), '02 Japan Rot 325iT

    Instagram @ HillPerformanceBimmers
    Email to George@HillPerformance.com

  3. #23
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    My buddy bought a 2006 manual M3 vert for $12k with about 100k miles about 2 years ago. Enthusiast owned and maintained with good service records. I think GeorgeH is the exception here, because that M3 has been a very expensive car for my buddy to own. We both do mostly DIY stuff with occasional visits to a local Indy for stuff we can't do. Labor costs are actually no different. Wouldn't make sense for them to be since the chassis and the way parts attach to it are mostly the same (the engine is a different matter). It's actually the parts that are more expensive because so many of them are M-specific. In many cases, they are double the price compared to my 330i. For example M3 Lemförder control arms are $240 a piece vs. my $110 a piece Lemförder control arms. Dampers are also more expensive.

    Not to mention that the S54 also requires much more involved preventative maintenance than the M54. Rod bearings are obviously the big thing everyone talks about, but my friend also didn't replace his timing chain guides preventatively which led to him almost grenading his engine when they failed. They need to be replaced by the fixed Beisan aftermarket part, and that's anything but an easy job. Fixing the VANOS on the S54 is also a matter of spending triple digits as opposed to a measly $60 on the M54. Sure, the M54 needs an upgraded DISA valve, but that's a walk in the park compared to the S54 stuff I listed. And that doesn't even include the periodic valve adjustments yet, or more mundane stuff like gas mileage/fuel costs.

    All in all, pretty much every step of his journey has cost my friend double what I pay for my 330i. And yes, my friend did pay a shop for stuff like rod bearings but you can't reasonably expect the average enthusiast to be able to do that so it's pretty much always gonna be an upfront cost when purchasing a M3. I'm glad that the M3 worked out for GeorgeH, but I don't want people reading this in the future to think that they will automatically have the same experience. If you are outside the US, road taxes and insurance can also be prohibitively expensive for a M3.
    330i Base | Mysticblau | Slicktop | 6MT

  4. #24
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    First, I am only replying because I find this a healthy conversation about the running costs and values of our cars. Secondly, I certainly am not the best at understanding the E46 market, but I try to follow it at length. I have multiple S54/ZHP donor cars that will some day get turned into ZHP/S54 touring or S54 sedans, etc so I am needing to be aware of my costs vs the price of these cars as I will eventually sell and my labor is worth something in that regards. I realize everyone including myself have their own opinion of value but with that said I think we should compare real world numbers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Galapolis View Post
    My buddy bought a 2006 manual M3 vert for $12k with about 100k miles about 2 years ago. Enthusiast owned and maintained with good service records. I think GeorgeH is the exception here, because that M3 has been a very expensive car for my buddy to own. We both do mostly DIY stuff with occasional visits to a local Indy for stuff we can't do. Labor costs are actually no different. Wouldn't make sense for them to be since the chassis and the way parts attach to it are mostly the same (the engine is a different matter). It's actually the parts that are more expensive because so many of them are M-specific. In many cases, they are double the price compared to my 330i. For example M3 Lemförder control arms are $240 a piece vs. my $110 a piece Lemförder control arms. Dampers are also more expensive.
    FCPEuro for DIY pricing:
    ZHP: $413.83 control arms and bushings, Lemforder
    M3: $569.96 control arms and bushings, Lemforder *Note this kit uses Lemforder control arm bushings that come pre-pressed into the brackets, you can buy BMW bushings for less and press them into the original brackets.

    Labor would be the same for both of these cars at my shop.


    Quote Originally Posted by Galapolis View Post
    Not to mention that the S54 also requires much more involved preventative maintenance than the M54. Rod bearings are obviously the big thing everyone talks about,
    Oil Pan gskt for a M54 in my Shop: $910.08
    S54 rod bearings: $2044.63

    Both of those jobs use all BMW parts incl a steering coupler and aftermarket engine mounts. IF you DIY'd those and bought from FCP it could be as cheap as:
    Oil Pan gskt for a M54: $36.50 for comparable parts in the S54 kit to do just the pan gasket on this one.
    S54 rod bearings: $361.97 https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...-1124783440kt1


    Quote Originally Posted by Galapolis View Post
    but my friend also didn't replace his timing chain guides preventatively which led to him almost grenading his engine when they failed. They need to be replaced by the fixed Beisan aftermarket part, and that's anything but an easy job. Fixing the VANOS on the S54 is also a matter of spending triple digits as opposed to a measly $60 on the M54.
    The vanos issue on the S54 is not from chain guides failing, but multiple other reasons. 1. The high pressure oil pump in the vanos breaks and part of it can fall into the timing chain and cause severe engine damage (simply put). 2. The cam sprocket bolts and become loose and back out.

    M54 Vanos at my shop: $846.88, but depending on mileage I'd recommend a new valve cover which would change the total to $1330.70
    S54 Vanos at my shop: $2001.08 (note this includes valve adjustment)

    Both these jobs have a decent sized parts list so instead of listing the FCP pricing (which is overall cheaper than what I charge) here is the parts costs with no labor for those jobs (w/o tax):
    M54 Vanos w/o valve cover: $259.30, w/valve cover: $706.33
    S54 Vanos: $973.17


    Quote Originally Posted by Galapolis View Post
    Sure, the M54 needs an upgraded DISA valve, but that's a walk in the park compared to the S54 stuff I listed.
    DISA on FCPEuro: $351.49 https://www.fcpeuro.com/BMW-parts/33...ds=11617544805

    $510.82 installed at my shop

    CCVV kit on FCPEuro: $198.13 https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...-m54b30coldkit

    $496.76 installed at my shop, but I didn't use their exact parts list as we don't need the cold weather kit down south and there are some misc parts that include that I don't feel are necessary, but it was any easy parts kit to select.


    Quote Originally Posted by Galapolis View Post
    And that doesn't even include the periodic valve adjustments yet,
    You can buy a valve adjustment kit from FCP for about $76, if you are like some people and will reuse the valve cover gaskets then the only cost is the valve shims if you need more from the kit they are $3.09 BMW brand (each) on FCP https://www.fcpeuro.com/BMW-parts/M3...ds=11347832285

    I charge $745.24 for a valve adjustment, but that also gets you new gaskets.


    Quote Originally Posted by Galapolis View Post
    or more mundane stuff like gas mileage/fuel costs.
    My M3s will usually do 25+mpg on the hwy and a couple less than my ZHP in town.


    Quote Originally Posted by Galapolis View Post
    All in all, pretty much every step of his journey has cost my friend double what I pay for my 330i. And yes, my friend did pay a shop for stuff like rod bearings but you can't reasonably expect the average enthusiast to be able to do that so it's pretty much always gonna be an upfront cost when purchasing a M3.
    I don't expect the average enthusiast to be able to do rod bearings, but that's because of the intimidation or work space situation more than anything. A lot of my clients are avid DIYers and I am often blown away by the go get itness of these guys doing jobs in poor work environments with inferior equipment that I wouldn't want to do, lol. But really if you can successfully swap an engine, you can do rod bearings, it's just a very scary job on the surface (I used that as an example because I see a decent amount of engine swaps on this site).


    Quote Originally Posted by Galapolis View Post
    I'm glad that the M3 worked out for GeorgeH, but I don't want people reading this in the future to think that they will automatically have the same experience. If you are outside the US, road taxes and insurance can also be prohibitively expensive for a M3.
    I agree, as I originally stated if you are paying someone to do the work there is a difference, if you are DIYing it's not that much:


    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeH View Post
    IMO it comes down to mainly 2 things.

    1. Do you want to DIY maintenance and repairs... if so then the M3 is not that more expensive compared to a ZHP IF it even is. At the same purchase price the M3 will likely need more "work" but the dollar investment for parts is probably on par with what you would put into a ZHP at the same level of needed maintenance. If you are paying someone to work on the car the M3 will be considerably more expensive
    ***Note I thought this was an interesting exercise to compare so common repairs between the two cars. If anyone has some other jobs to compare I'd be happy to estimate them or look up the parts pricing.
    Current Garage... '00 R11S, '09 HP2S, '12 R12GSA, '00 Black 323iT (wife's), '02 Alpine 325iT (Eileen, Track Wagon), '02 Japan Rot 325iT

    Instagram @ HillPerformanceBimmers
    Email to George@HillPerformance.com

  5. #25
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    You seem to be very locked onto your specific experience, so I just want to offer my specific experience to show the other side of the story. I don't mean to discredit you at all, just want to continue the conversation like you said.

    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeH View Post
    FCPEuro for DIY pricing:
    ZHP: $413.83 control arms and bushings, Lemforder
    M3: $569.96 control arms and bushings, Lemforder *Note this kit uses Lemforder control arm bushings that come pre-pressed into the brackets, you can buy BMW bushings for less and press them into the original brackets.
    I just went with the standard control arms which are about $110 a piece. I haven't had any issues or wear with them in the last 50k miles. Yes, the MSport arms more expensive, but at least you have the TRW option for $292 if you need to save a buck. The M3 doesn't have any cheaper options unfortunately.

    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeH View Post
    Oil Pan gskt for a M54 in my Shop: $910.08
    S54 rod bearings: $2044.63

    Both of those jobs use all BMW parts incl a steering coupler and aftermarket engine mounts. IF you DIY'd those and bought from FCP it could be as cheap as:
    Oil Pan gskt for a M54: $36.50 for comparable parts in the S54 kit to do just the pan gasket on this one.
    S54 rod bearings: $361.97 https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...-1124783440kt1
    I consider oil pan gasket and rod bearings two different jobs. On my car it has cost me $0 as it has not required a new oil pan gasket or had any leaks in that area since I bought it 4 years ago. I've since put over 50k miles on it. The oil pan gasket is something I've seen a lot of people (including on this forum) do themselves. Rod bearings, not so much. So the real world situation will often (not always of course), end up being a $37 cost for the 330i owner and a $2k cost for the M3 owner (if I go off your shop pricing). I'll admit, you could turn that $37 cost into a $237 cost because typically a DIYer would also do the oil pump when replacing the oil pan gasket on a 330i. Still, cheaper than the M3 cost.

    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeH View Post
    The vanos issue on the S54 is not from chain guides failing, but multiple other reasons.
    I don't understand, where do I say that the VANOS and timing chain guides are connected?

    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeH View Post
    M54 Vanos at my shop: $846.88, but depending on mileage I'd recommend a new valve cover which would change the total to $1330.70
    S54 Vanos at my shop: $2001.08 (note this includes valve adjustment)
    VANOS was $60 for me because it is a very easy job on the M54. Everyone will be different, but just from seeing other builds, it seems like most enthusiasts have no problems doing it on the M54. The S54 procedure is significantly more complicated, which is probably why, for example, people sell refurbished S54 VANOS kits on E46Fanatics where all the hard work is already done. Even after returning the core, these units are in the region of $1000.

    So like I previously stated, I'm viewing the situation form a very pragmatic perspective. What will end up happening is that in many cases (not always), the 330i owner will be left with a $60 bill and an afternoon of DIYing, whereas that same enthusiast might likely choose this $750-1350 option as a middle ground between DIY and bringing their car to a shop. Luckily my buddy's M3 has had the VANOS resolved by the previous owner, so he saved himself that hassle.

    You might not be aware of this, but the S54 has an issue with timing chain guides breaking because they are plastic and become brittle over time. This is what happened to my friend's M3. This can cause engine failure if the timing chain slips. Apparently it is a common issue. I did not know about this either as it's not really talked about often like rod bearings are. Luckily a solution is provided by Beisan. I actually offered my friend to help him do this job as a DIY, but he refused and brought it to a shop instead. I can understand his hesitation with timing-related items, that is something many people prefer not to mess with. I admit, that cost is definitely on him since he could've had the job done for free.

    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeH View Post
    DISA on FCPEuro: $351.49 https://www.fcpeuro.com/BMW-parts/33...ds=11617544805
    $510.82 installed at my shop
    CCVV kit on FCPEuro: $198.13 https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...-m54b30coldkit
    DISA is a $70 repair and again, very easy and quick to do yourself: https://germanautosolutions.com/stor...d-upgrade-kit/ You see people ordering/installing these kits all the time.

    I have not had to replace the CCV yet. It's less of an issue if you warm up your engine fully every drive. Unfortunately even 15 minutes of driving is not enough to fully warm up the oil. Something to keep in mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeH View Post
    You can buy a valve adjustment kit from FCP for about $76, if you are like some people and will reuse the valve cover gaskets then the only cost is the valve shims if you need more from the kit they are $3.09 BMW brand (each) on FCP https://www.fcpeuro.com/BMW-parts/M3...ds=11347832285

    I charge $745.24 for a valve adjustment, but that also gets you new gaskets.
    Valve adjustments are definitely not something that the average enthusiast can/would do themselves. And since it's a recurring cost too, it will really add up over time. This alone puts the M3 out of my personal budget. I had to push my friend to get his done. It's definitely more affordable to replace the CCV every 100k or so. Especially versus a valve adjustment every 30k miles.

    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeH View Post
    My M3s will usually do 25+mpg on the hwy and a couple less than my ZHP in town.
    My friend gets about 24mpg hwy. My 330i sits at 30mpg hwy and currently 26mpg average with about 20mpg around town. I've been able to confirm the mileage as the furthest I've ever driven on a tank was 468 miles before the light came on. This was 99% highway of course (roadtrip to Nashville).

    Most importantly it doesn't use that much gas either when pushed harder, probably due to the low revving engine. The M3 can become quite thirsty in performance situations. 5mpg is also definitely a significant difference for hwy.

    Overall I just don't agree on a 330i and M3 being comparable. Again, I'm not discrediting your experience, and like you said, I'm not an E46 market expert either, but I do consider your case to be a lucky one. It's also a different dynamic because you are clearly a very experienced mechanic who runs his own shop and business, which can not be said of most E46 owners, regardless of which model they own. You can argue about the prices and it's very much possible to spend more on keeping a ZHP running than a M3 if you go all out on the restoration process, but I do stand by my opinion that on average, the M3 is a far greater investment in money, time and effort than a 330i or ZHP. I guess it comes down to whether or not you are willing to take the risk. The M3 driving experience is certainly sublime and a league above the ZHP, but as I said, that does come with its price.

    Also some fun facts that I think you might appreciate that also highlight how different experiences can be: I frequent the German forums a lot and over there, the M54 rod bearings are considered a big issue as well since they need to be replaced on many cars by the time they hit 150k miles. I've heard various explanations as to why this is the case, from different gas/oil quality to oil change intervals to Autobahn use. Either way it seems like US M54s are safe from rod bearing issues. Also, engine rebuilds are far more common in Germany and I've read that many M3 owners opt to rebuild their engines every 40k miles, which usually includes stuff like piston rings, timing chain (including all guides), VANOS, bearings etc.
    Last edited by Galapolis; 07-18-2021 at 07:33 PM.
    330i Base | Mysticblau | Slicktop | 6MT

  6. #26
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    Any hopes I had of getting an M3 have been dispelled.
    2004 BMW 330i ZHP (52k miles), Jet Black with black leather, MFactory LSD (3.38) with Z4 cover, 18"x8.5" ET38 APEX Arc-8's (Anthracite) with 245/40 Michelin PSS', Koni Sports with factory springs and front and rear reinforcement plates, Shark Injector, Corsa TSE3 cat-back exhaust, TMS under-driven pulleys (water & steering), CDV delete, TMS CF strut brace, K&N CAI, GAS DISA rebuild, TMS pedals, Wheelskins steering wheel cover, roller tray center console, black-out grilles, and WeatherTech mats

  7. #27
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    Many good points and perspectives shared already. Just adding my experience owning both as a DIYer.

    The cliff notes: m3's slightly more expensive. But no need to be scared off for cost or complexity.

    For the DIYer, I think the price difference stems mostly from parts prices, with some from running costs. Labor prices will vary, and thanks to GeorgeH for posting some data points.

    And although the m3 parts prices are expensive, we're not talking Porsche prices (maybe Charlie can speak to that comparison since he own all three). Also, most of these parts are long lasting (maybe 100k mile items, like FCA and dampers) so it amortizes out (it hurts less).

    In terms of DIY difficulty / involvement, I don't think it's much different between zhp and m3. I've DIY'd extensively for both.

    Prior to doing rod bearings, my DIY experience was limited to suspension, oil change, cooling system, OPG, and VANOS - the "external stuff".
    Rod bearings were daunting, but the hardest part of the rod bearings was getting over the fear that I screwed something up. Other than that, if someone can do a OPG, then it's "just" 12 more bolts (and a 3-step tightening sequence that must be adhered to). Many DIY guides exist, especially when m3f was still around. I used one by a member named SYT_Shadow (or something like that), but the TIS is always better.

    I think replacing the clutch and flywheel was more of a PITA - I'm doing everything on jack stands.

    Sure, the VANOS procedure for the m3 is more involved, but it's just more steps, not like it requires machining. Still very DIY-able. The most daunting thing was to have the cams properly timed and the crank pinned at TDC. Again, follow the steps in the DIYs. Many people have the timing bridge and the crank pin for loan (if someone needs to borrow one, hit me up).

    Both of these items are basically once and done things (rod bearings maybe every 100-150k miles, depending on your usage and risk tolerance).

    The valve adjustment is more time consuming than difficult. The consensus seems to be use a OE BMW VCG (some suspect it's viton) and you can reuse without leaks. I just get a Victor Reinz or Elring and no leaks. Surprisingly my valve lash was within spec the last two times I've checked, let's see what it is next time. It was expensive to buy the BMW shim kit (~$250 back in the day), but it was later discovered by forum members that there's a Wiseco kit with all of the shims in the proper size, it's like $50. Take precautions to prevent dropping a shim. Be diligent, that's all.


    For the m3, IMO, it basically comes down to a couple things that I think are essentials:
    1. VANOS + rattle kit + chain guide,
    2. Rod bearings,
    3. RACP ("subframe") reinforcement.


    For the ZHP, IMO, it's:
    1. DISA,
    2. VANOS + rattle kit,
    3. CCV / m56 VC,
    4. Cooling system
    5. RACP (if driven hard, but for regular highway cruisers it's probably not necessary).


    The rest are maintenance items or timed out d/t mileage (e.g. dampers, fluids, etc), for both cars.

    Again, most of the cost difference is parts prices (for the DIYer), and things are more DIY-able than people seem to think. If paying someone for the work, it's probably a different story.

    As for running costs, my registration is about $20/yr difference between the two. Insurance is definitely more expensive in the m3.

    Fuel consumption difference:
    Mixed use: 18-19.5 mpg for the m3, and 19-20 mpg for the zhp. Similar useage. Not a significant difference for me.
    All highway, it's a bigger difference, but it's not earth shattering. When I go from socal to portland, it's 1000 miles, I'm averaging 27-30 mpg in the zhp and 24-26 mpg in the m3. But again, I do this drive maybe once a year. So it's really negligible. We're not talking Rovert with his diesel mileage!

    What I notice / appreciate about each:

    ZHP:
    - As I'm getting older, ZHP is more comfortable. Both for daily use and for long drives. The springs rates are lower, the damper valving is more supple, and the exhause noise is lower. The m3 is not uncomfortable, but the zhp is slightly more comfortable.
    - The ZHP is a great car, without any real complaints.
    - Great looks. The subtle difference from a non-zhp is dramatic, to me. I think it's one of the best looking cars.

    M3:
    - The extra 100 hp in the m3 is wonderful to have.
    - The car as a whole feels more eager to go or turn.
    - The noise of the s54 running to 8k rpm is glorious. Its induction noise, intoxicating. It's unique.

    Basically, I think the m3 is as DIY-able as the m54 cars. Now, whether someone DIYs their m3 is a different question.

    I just wish my zhp was a sedan rather than coupe, then I wouldn't be thinking about selling it.

  8. #28
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    ZHP values rising. At what point do you just get an M3 ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Will View Post
    M3:
    - The car as a whole feels more eager to go or turn.
    I wish I could find an M3 that had better turn-in than my ZHP Sedan without fold down seats. I feel the S54 partial-iron block weights the front down a bit and turns the vehicle into a high-speed GT car vs the ZHP feeling like a go kart. The slow steering rack of the M3 is huge difference compared to how quick the ZHP ratio is. I swapped to an expensive ZHP rack on my M but it still didn’t work as much as I hoped. The ratio is about half that of the ZHP because of different tie rod lengths.

    I’ve driven countless E46Ms, but none have felt as nimble like my old ZHP. That’s probably the one thing that makes me miss my ZHP the most. The closest feeling BMW I’ve driven is an E82 135i.

    One thing that is noticeable with the extra S54 power is the ability to make larger steering adjustment via throttle. It’s a riot being the stereotypical M driver at times!

    The E90D I have feels faster to turn-in than my M3 but still slower than the ZHP. I just installed Bilstein coilovers tonight and can’t wait to get it properly aligned and ride height dialed in to hopefully get it closer to ZHP go-kartness.
    --Trevor--
    Vancouver, BC

  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Rovert View Post
    I wish I could find an M3 that had better turn-in than my ZHP Sedan without fold down seats. I feel the S54 partial-iron block weights the front down a bit and turns the vehicle into a high-speed GT car vs the ZHP feeling like a go kart. The slow steering rack of the M3 is huge difference compared to how quick the ZHP ratio is. I swapped to an expensive ZHP rack on my M but it still didn’t work as much as I hoped. The ratio is about half that of the ZHP because of different tie rod lengths.

    I’ve driven countless E46Ms, but none have felt as nimble like my old ZHP. That’s probably the one thing that makes me miss my ZHP the most. The closest feeling BMW I’ve driven is an E82 135i.

    One thing that is noticeable with the extra S54 power is the ability to make larger steering adjustment via throttle. It’s a riot being the stereotypical M driver at times!

    The E90D I have feels faster to turn-in than my M3 but still slower than the ZHP. I just installed Bilstein coilovers tonight and can’t wait to get it properly aligned and ride height dialed in to hopefully get it closer to ZHP go-kartness.
    Thanks Trevor

    After reading your comment above, I'm glad I got myself another ZHP although the one I got needs a lot of love... I'm still glad to have another ZHP in my stable. Especially after reading this comment

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rovert View Post
    I wish I could find an M3 that had better turn-in than my ZHP Sedan without fold down seats. I feel the S54 partial-iron block weights the front down a bit and turns the vehicle into a high-speed GT car vs the ZHP feeling like a go kart. The slow steering rack of the M3 is huge difference compared to how quick the ZHP ratio is. I swapped to an expensive ZHP rack on my M but it still didn’t work as much as I hoped. The ratio is about half that of the ZHP because of different tie rod lengths.

    I’ve driven countless E46Ms, but none have felt as nimble like my old ZHP. That’s probably the one thing that makes me miss my ZHP the most. The closest feeling BMW I’ve driven is an E82 135i.

    One thing that is noticeable with the extra S54 power is the ability to make larger steering adjustment via throttle. It’s a riot being the stereotypical M driver at times!

    The E90D I have feels faster to turn-in than my M3 but still slower than the ZHP. I just installed Bilstein coilovers tonight and can’t wait to get it properly aligned and ride height dialed in to hopefully get it closer to ZHP go-kartness.

    I didn't notice that crisp turn in in the ZHP until I changed sway bars (27mm fr / Cic rear). Prior to that change it also felt to me like a swift GT car, but now it feels much more dart-y.

    No arguments about that extra ~200lbs over the front axle, though. I wish those revs, hp, and noise were without that weight penalty, especially up front. This weight comparison reminds me of the e39 530i vs e39 m5, albeit one has a rack and pinion and the other with recirc ball steering.

    I don't think anyone can go wrong with either car, as both are fantastic. M3 will be more expensive, without a doubt. Whether someone thinks that marginal cost is worth the marginal utility is a value judgement, and up to each person. But DIYer shouldn't be scared away from an m3.

    And just to add, if my zhp were a sedan rather than a coupe I probably wouldn't consider selling it. But as a coupe, the two cars feel redundant to me... one should go (don't know which one). If the zhp wasn't such a good car this decision would be easier. I was thinking of replacing one of them with a F30 or F31 diesel.

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