Oppo, it is I. The poster formerly known as e30s2k. It’s been a while since I replaced my beloved E30, so it’s about time I updated you fine folks on developments.

As some of you may know, I ended up buying a 2005 E46 ZHP with a stick – which many of you had predicted from a mile away. Ended up being a coupe, and in silver color – neither were my first choices, but it was a deal I couldn’t pass up.

I don’t like talking numbers, so let’s just say I paid about $3k less for this car than I would have for the ticking timebomb of a ZHP sedan I saved myself from, thanks to a PPI. I also paid $2k less for this car than I did for my ’89 E30 on its 3rd engine with 300k miles. It came with maintenance records for the last few years, a car cover, roof rack, a fresh set of Pilot Super Sports mounted on 17” Style 73 wheels, and some barely used Michelin X-Ice winter tires.

I do think the 73s really work with the color of this car, for some reason reminds me of the old Mercedes CLK-GTR race car.

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Also check out how small the E46 feels compared to the most compact car BMW currently makes -

So all in all I’d say it was a pretty spectacular deal. The car also has a full leather interior, so as much as I love the alcantara that came standard on ZHPs, we all know that most of them are worn to shreds at this point.

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Just today the new to me ride hit 111,111 miles (gauge shot fail)–

Issues with the car thus far –

- As noted came with Style 73 wheels, not the sweet staggered style 135s that came standard on ZHPs. Benefit of that is that I have a square set up and can rotate my tires front to back. I can’t justify the price of 135s (or loss of utility), so I’m going to keep the winter tires on the 73s and find some appropriate 17x7.5 wheels to mount the PSS set on for summer use. I’m not seeing too many OEM BMW options I like, so will most likely go aftermarket while trying to retain a clean stock-ish look. Any recommendations appreciated, priority is to keep price and weight down.

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- Cigarette lighter charger doesn’t work – neither does the power for the flashlight in the glovebox, seems like this might be a simple fuse fix. Hoping that’s the case so I can juice up my phone when needed.

- Orange oil level light comes on every now and then randomly – oil level is fine, no leaks. Oil level sensor is a common fault on these cars and a cheap easy fix, will be doing that next time I change my oil.

- Shocks will need replacing sometime soon. They work fine, but are looking rusty. This car unfortunately spent the first few years of its life on the East Coast.

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- PPI revealed that power steering fluid was pretty dirty, will be flushing that out and putting a new reservoir in sometime soon.

- Preventatively do intend to rebuild the VANOS and look in to cooling system sometime soon down the road, because this is an E46 after all. Currently not a problem – and DISA valve has been done, along with certain cooling components and other miscellaneous weak areas by previous owner.

The car really was a bargain. My wife’s mind has been boggled since the day I bought it – simply doesn’t understand how I can buy this car that is so much “nicer” than my E30 and put $2K in our bank account in the process. I love the M54 engine, it’s wonderfully smooth and makes a very nice noise. Weak points I’d say are that the car is heavier & less nimble than the E30 (no shit) and the gear shifter feel is crap. Even with the short throw on the ZHP it’s just too rubbery. I don’t expect Miata/S2000 level feel from a BMW – and this is probably better than the E30 by a mile – but on that car the rubbery vagueness was part of its old-school lazy charm. On this thing it just leaves something to be desired. Also, how the hell did BMW not offer a LSD option on a performance package 3 series? I’m glad to see that they do offer one as an option on their newer cars again at least.

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I miss my E30 terribly but I’m glad to have a car that I drive more often, and that my wife actually enjoys going places in. My S2000 is long, long gone too now…so it’s time I updated my username to my current fleet and own up to it, I suppose.

From now on, I formerly e30s2k, shall be known as ZHP Sparky, the 5th.