Rare Performance Package: 2004 BMW 330i ZHP

This 2004 BMW 330i ZHP is more modern than we normally feature, but it definitely fits the definition of an emerging classic. The ZHP option was a rare sport package offered between the normal sport trim and the top shelf M3, and is a desirable model among BMW enthusiasts today. There were some minor variations between different ZHPs that were largely limited to cosmetics; every ZHP came with ten extra horsepower over the standard model, 18 inch wheels and tires, firmer suspension, short throw gearbox, and shorter final drive ratio. They were rightfully quick, too, trailing the contemporary M3 by a measly half second. Find this bone-stock, sunroof-delete model here on craigslist for $13,000.

I have a personal connection to these cars, having owned a 2003 sedan in Mystic Blue Metallic with the alcantara interior, like this car has. The interior finish is one of the few variations between models, as you could option a ZHP with leather. ZHPs were offered in sedans and coupes, and many casual observers wouldn’t know they were looking at a limited production performance model unless they could spot the ZHP-specific wheels. Ironically, I bought mine years ago for $14,000 and sold it a year later for $13,000 with about the same mileage as this car, so prices haven’t moved much. The condition of the interior is always a wild card, as alcantara – despite being seriously cool – can look like garbage after just a few years.

The standard suspension kept the ZHP plenty low over the larger diameter wheels and tires, and lowering the car further almost looks silly considering the ZHP rides at the perfect height right out of the box. These were only offered in rear wheel drive, with no XDrive available. The subtle trunk lip spoiler is barely noticeable, which is in keeping with the sleeper style of the whole package. While most of these came with sunroofs, the fact that this one doesn’t have a powered opening is sort of a big deal, as slicktops are hard to find. The dual exhaust was standard as well and made a great burble from what I can recall. I truly enjoyed mine but sold it to buy an E36 M3 as a daily while my short commute allowed such foolishness.

The interior looks to be in fine shape, and the seller details some other features that make this a model practically built for enthusiasts. There are no seat heaters; no navigation system; and most importantly (to me, at least), no xenon lights. With none of the pricey electrical stuff to break, this should be a very easy car to live with long-term. The ZHW xenons were a known trouble spot, with the headlight bowels losing their luster over time and making the high-powered xenon lights practically useless in the dark. The seller says he is firm on price, and I don’t blame him – this is a great car that will likely appreciate mildly over time, but the main reason to buy one is to own a daily driver-friendly performance car that won’t send your insurance premiums skyrocketing. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Jay L. for the find.

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Comments

  1. 8thNote 8thNote

    That is a great price on a clean, mid-mileage, manual ZHP. Someone will snatch this one up quick.

    Like 1
    • George

      This has pt of rust on the undercarage. I have the PPI on this vehicle. If anyone would like it!

      Like 1
      • Kevin

        Would love to see that as I am considering this car.

  2. angliagt angliagt Member

    It’s located in the Washington DC area.

  3. Mark Member

    Excellent value. The M3 was upgraded in 2001 because the 330 was almost as good for less money. The performance package on this one makes it close again!

  4. Keith

    Love to see the mask, hanging on the turn signal handle.

  5. Superdessucke

    Don’t forget about the steering rack. These used a special “yellow tag” rack that is highly sought after, as it’ll bolt into any E30, E36, or E46 and pretty much completely transform your driving experience.

    I just put one in my E36 M3 this summer and the steering feel is awesome. Best mod I ever did. 100% better than the stock E36 M3 rack.

    Like 3
  6. LarryS Member

    “with the headlight bowels losing their luster”

    I’m not a BMW expert but I am wondering if a story edit might be in order. Unless of course the xenon lighting literally became sh**ty with time.

    Like 4
    • Mountainwoodie

      A guy in my gym had the same year red 4 door ZHP with a slushbox. He wanted to trade me for my 5 sp 01 E46 wagon…I passed. Now about that ‘yellow tag’ steering rack….

      Like 1
  7. Matt

    I had a 6-speed Imola red/alcantara 2004 coupe that I picked up in 2006 and sold 2 years later…I’ve regretted it ever since. On the flip side I just found an immaculate black over grey 2006 convertible with 65k one-owner miles that I picked up for $12,000. Even though it’s an automatic, it’s still an amazing car.

  8. Rich G

    While I appreciate the condition of that vehicle(it’s gorgeous), at best that is a $6 -$7k car according to KBB.com. Anyone who plays asking for that car is a little crazy!

    Like 1
    • Dave

      There are a number of cars like these which current market demands and and values are outpacing the pricing guides. These ZHP cars are trading hands at robust prices- as evidenced by recent BaT results. Most of these owners are aware and will simply cut the cord if someone starts spewing book numbers in order to lowball….

  9. CJinSD

    When my friends and I used to get together to watch football or cook out, it looked like an E46 club meeting. Of course that was over by 2004, since the cars aged like milk. I used to really enjoy driving 3-series BMWs, until I drove a car that handled AND had a steering wheel that faced me instead of addressing the B-pillar. Once I noticed that, I could never enjoy them as much.

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