Crapwagon Outtake: ZHP SMG

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
crapwagon outtake zhp smg

For some time now, I’ve had the notion that I’d like a BMW – and a specific one at that. I want one with a manual transmission, a naturally aspirated I6 and hydraulic steering. Finding one isn’t exactly hard, but finding a good one is very tough. So much so that I nearly pulled the trigger on one of the last 128i 6-speed manual coupes to come to Canada. The dealer offered me some rather generous terms, but my overriding distaste for owning a rapidly depreciating asset (128i residual values are flaccid, to put it mildly) ended that idea. The next best thing, according to former E46 330i Sport owner Jack Baruth, is a used E46 330i Sport.

My search hasn’t been terribly fruitful. Most E46s BMWs in my area are overpriced, overmiled and purchased by an owner base that really, really must have the badge but has no interest in maintaining the vehicle. I did find this oddity however – a very nice, low kilometer 330i ZHP Sedan with an SMG. Personally, I am scared of the potential operating costs of an SMG box, not to mention it wasn’t exactly the last word in smooth shifting or performance. A shame too: I love the color, the sedan body style and the price is fair considering the market and its condition. This is emphatically not a crap wagon. But it’s enough to scare me off.

Join the conversation
7 of 89 comments
  • Aerojammin Aerojammin on Oct 30, 2013

    I've always liked those cars, but I just can't stand the thought of giving up my MINI to get one. Here is a neat review just in case you haven't seen it yet.

    • Tjh8402 Tjh8402 on Oct 30, 2013

      great review. sums up my experience with mine perfectly.

  • Juicy sushi Juicy sushi on Oct 30, 2013

    Derek, I've got nothing practical to add, but think you should go for the E46. The extra practicality of the E46 sedan over the 128i is a definite bonus. Plus, it gives you the excuse that since it's a "family" car, you still have room for a "fun" car when something interesting comes along. That said, between idiots deferring maintenance and Canadian roads and road salt, good luck finding the car you want in proper condition...

    • See 1 previous
    • Juicy sushi Juicy sushi on Oct 30, 2013

      @Derek Kreindler Don't come expecting much in the food department, it's pretty poor cooking up here compared to Toronto... :)

  • Tjh8402 Tjh8402 on Oct 30, 2013

    there's a 2004 zhp 6mt with 75k miles down here in Central Florida listed on craigslist for $15k...not too far out of your way is it? :-P It's the only stick I can find within 200 miles on either CL or autotrader. You might check BMW forum classifieds too.

  • Burgersandbeer Burgersandbeer on Oct 30, 2013

    What about an E36 M3? How important is a nice interior? It won't be easy to find a clean one, but if you did it could be worth a look.