390 HP
355 LB-FT
Curb Weight
3285 LB
Rear Wheel Drive
Engine Size
3.0 L
Transmission Type
MPG (City/Highway)
21 MPG

The rust monster ate my old car, so it was time to find a new sedan.  This time I wanted something with rear-wheel drive so I had a solid platform to work into higher power levels.  And it had to be a manual.  I came across an article in Eurotuner magazine about a budget BMW 325i build which got me thinking about BMW's.  I started my search for a cheap e36 but my eye was quickly drawn to the e46 ZHP.   Inline 6, 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive, attractive modern interior, timeless looks.   Perfect. Since rust is the devil I wanted a clean specimen.  So I started a nationwide search focusing on the southern states for an e46 ZHP, 6-speed manual, with sunroof.  I found one for sale by a nice young man who was in the air force.  After exchanging emails, phone calls, and some pictures, I bought a one-way ticket to Alabama with a travelers check in hand.  Upon arrival, everything checked out, and the car was everything he described it to be, it was in flawless condition with about 33k miles on the odometer. That night I started my drive home to Michigan, but took a slight detour.  I drove up through Washington DC, New York, and wound up at Turner Motorsports just north of Boston.  I had read about the subframe failures in the e46 ZHP and I wanted to head that off right from the start, and who better to handle the subframe reinforcement than the company that sells the reinforcement kits and professionally races BMWs including the e46 chassis.  It was my first preventive maintenance. From Tuner Motorsport near Boston I started home through up-state New York and Canada but I almost didn't make it.  Being the car was from Alabama it had summer performance tires on it.  And being that it was November there was a chance of some slight snow-fall.  Turns out that chance materialized within the last hour or so of my drive.  I was within 1/2 mile from home, and now there was about .5 inches of snow on the roads.  The problem is I live up in some hills, and with the snow, the summer tires, and the steep roads leading to my home, I couldn't get there.  I tried.  I tried two different roads for about an hour, trying to get enough momentum to make it up the last hill to get to my house.  Finally I had taken things just right, and the DSC was working hard to keep me moving, and I literally inched forward up an incline at a rate of about 200ft an hour.  After 30 minutes of inching forward slower than a snapper turtle, tires spinning, I crested the hill, and at last, I was home.   I parked my new ride in the cozy garage, and have been loving every moment since.

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Sometimes it's the little things

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Strap in tight

Got to be the best mod for the track.  Stock seat belts just don't cut it when you're running Miche

[]Sven Feige

Safety first. Good choice

[]Wilson Oberholzer

What do you mount the upper straps to in the sedan?

[]Ryan Kneeshaw

This kit has a connector to the rear seat seatbelt and has a male connector that bolts in under the rear seat bolster. No drilling, no permantent modifications, and installs and uninstalls in seconds. Its pretty sweet. Turner Motorsport sells them as a kit specifically for the e46 and e39

[]Wilson Oberholzer

That's pretty awesome. I'll have to check them out if I ever start going in that direction on my 328i

[]Basir Khan

How are those seats? Any plans to upgrade?

[]Ryan Kneeshaw

Those are still stock seats, and they feel great. Having the 4 point belts makes all the difference. If I go full racecar someday (caged, slicks, solid bushings, etc) then I'd consider a true racing seat. But for occasional track days on 200 treadwear tires this works great. It comes out of the car as quickly as you can unfasten your stock seatbelt too, which makes converting back to daily driver mode super easy.

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Track day!

Today I completed my first HPDE track day in the 330i, and I LOVED it!

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Coding using NCS Expert

Just enabled rear fog lights and brake force display stage 3.  Had to use NCS Dummy to modify the K

Discuss this build

[]Matthew Smith

Does the turner motorsports under drive pulley make a noticeable difference also has it been reliable ?

[]Ryan Kneeshaw

Yeah they do, car is more peppy. Haven't had any issues at all with the pulleys. I took them off for a while but missed them, it's not 50hp but it makes a difference

[]Matthew Smith

Thanks because I’ve heard mixed reviews on them which stopped me from making the purchase

[]Ryan Kneeshaw

I haven't seen any downsides

[]Daniel Crescitelli

Is the the super charge worth it and about how much from start to finish did it cost to install?

[]Ryan Kneeshaw

I would say YES, way worth it. I am somewhat mechanically inclined so I installed it myself. Took me about 8 hours or so taking my time if I remember right. Total costs for me were probably close to $7,000. On a car this old, some would say its not worth it, but I love this car and the twin screw system totally transforms the car. Beware that while the ESS TS2 kit is a really good kit, the tune and the customer support is not very good so I would highly recommend you simply plan to get a custom tune from another tuner after you get it installed.

[]Daniel Crescitelli

Okay, Thanks for this information.

[]Jonathan Root

Nice! I have a 2004 ZHP I've gone a bit less crazy with than this that's been an incredible daily. e46s are a lot of car to maintain, but they're also an insane amount of car for the money these days. ^_^

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