The E46 3 series (1999-2006) did not have a sedan version of the high-performance BMW M3, although this car could be called a slightly watered-down version of it. First things first, we have to understand the different variants of the E46 3 series engine and layout combinations. The 3 series came in a wagon, sedan, coupe, and convertible. The 3 series came with a 2.3, a 2.5, or a 3.0 liter inline 6, with the 3.2 liter tuned inline 6 in the M3.
The 3.0 liter 3 series, or the 330i, came with the option of an improved performance tune over the regular 330i, as well as a body kit. This options package was called the ZHP Package, and only about 6000 ZHP cars were made for the North American market, making it rarer than the M3 of that generation (approx. 44,000 cars). The ZHP package cars came with about 235 horsepower and 222 lb. ft. of torque. Although this may not seem that close to the M3 of that generation, 10 horsepower is pretty noticeable over the regular 330i. The body kit is really at center stage with this package as it makes the car look so much better than a normal 3 series. It seems more aggressive, but not as aggressive as the M3.
This car would look ordinary to anyone but a person like me, who would recognize it in a heartbeat. This engine is also a pretty good engine for tuning and supercharging. Although it may cost some extra cash, you could easily get over 100 horsepower out of a tune and a supercharger or turbocharger setup. Through my research, I've found a few tastefully modified ZHP's making over 320 horsepower, which is close to the M3 with around 330 hp. Overall this car would be an excellent daily driver, with some more power over the regular 3 series cars, and it would also be a great canyon carver or track car because of its pristine handline as I've seen with my own E46.
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