2016 BMW 435i ZHP Edition Coupe Quick Spin [w/video]
An All-In Special Edition You Can Build Yourself
EngineTurbo 3.0L I6
Power335 HP / 332 LB-FT
0-60 Time5.1 Seconds
Top Speed130 MPH
Curb Weight3,600 LBS
MPG20 City / 30 HWY (est)
Bimmer nerds (the ones who correct you if you call their car a "Beemer") will remember the ZHP package from the E46 3 Series. An internal option code that became insider lingo and a must-have for enthusiasts. They're still sought after today. Built from 2003 to 2006, the original ZHPs included a power boost (to 235 hp), a modified suspension, an M-Tech II body kit, and a unique shifter and shift knob.
The new ZHP has a considerably longer list of equipment. It builds on a 435i coupe with the M Sport package and either a manual or automatic transmission. Additions begin with the new-for-2016 Track Handling package – 18" wheels, M Sport brakes, the Adaptive M Suspension, and Variable Sport Steering. To that BMW adds an M Performance limited-slip differential, M Performance exhaust, the M Performance Aerodynamics package, and the M Performance Engine Kit; horsepower goes from 300 to 335, torque jumps to 332 lb-ft for automatic cars or 317 on manuals.
Yeah, it's a lot of stuff, but nothing you can't order on a car for yourself. So the process that let BMW make this replica so easily also contributes to a lack of specialness. All of the equipment is available either from the factory or through BMW's VIA personalization program. VIA components are spec'd at the time of ordering and then installed at port when the car lands in the US. BMW hasn't announced pricing yet, but we have a hunch a full-on ZHP will come in slightly lower than a car optioned a la carte (though we don't know, since BMW didn't tell us how much our car cost).
The 4 Series we reviewed had all the ZHP equipment save the wheels and tires. All 2016 ZHPs will get v-spoke wheels finished in Orbit Grey and wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires; the car we drove had a different 18-inch wheel design and Bridgestone Potenza S001 rubber.
- The 435i already has too much power. The M engine kit provides more of it. You may not be surprised to learn that we also enjoy chocolate-covered chocolate.
- Perhaps the saving grace of the questionable output bump, and the most transformative part of this package, is the mechanical limited-slip. Even without the grippier tires it's supposed to come with, the near-ZHP put it all to the ground smoothly and predictably. Almost goes without saying, but this piece is a must for anyone looking to take a 3 or 4 Series to the track.
- BMW's engine reprogramming includes some added exhaust burble on overrun. It's a timpani-in-the-distance sound that gets slightly louder (which is to say less distant) in Sport modes. The M exhaust sounds good otherwise, but we'd like more volume off throttle and on.
- Just like in a standard 4 Series with the variable rack, the steering is a bit lifeless. We know, you've heard this one before. It's a bit fidgety, almost notchy, on center. Aside from the M4's slightly better system, there's nothing in the BMW parts catalog that would fix this.
- We like the black grilles, and the lip spoiler and diffuser are okay, but the carbon road scraper up front is both a bit much and a source of driver anxiety. It's not a question of if it bottoms out or even when, because it's all the time. What you're left wondering is if it's still attached to the car.
- The Potenzas on this car had decent grip for the bit of back-road play we put the car through, but the ZHP-correct Michelins should provide even more bite and help with putting down that additional over-the-top power. (See: limited-slip differential.) BMW says the whole package knocks 0.2 second off the 0-to-60 time compared to a standard 435i.
- We do commend BMW for sticking with 18-inch wheels instead of opting for any of the 19s that are available on the 4. The ride quality stays nicely intact as a result.
- The change that made the E46 ZHP so distinctive, its upgraded suspension, didn't carry through to this homage. Instead we settle for the selectable suspension used here with stock programming and parts. Nothing special for today's ZHP, no altered geometry for better handling or improved steering feel.
This is the point where we remind you that the M4 exists and that this car, in addition to not being a ZHP, is not an M car. (Despite all of the slanty Ms plastered everywhere, including the engine cover.) Only 100 are being made, so BMW shouldn't have trouble finding buyers. But we'd make tweaks.
The beauty of how this car came together is you can order all, some, or none of these parts on a stock 4 Series. And while there is no ZHP pack being offered on other 4 Series body styles or any 3 Series for that matter, the VIA program makes it easy to pluck the items from this car that you want (perhaps the power pack and limited-slip) and leave out the ones you don't (some of the aesthetic add-ons). So it's entirely possible to replicate your own 435i Gran Coupe in the ZHP style, or even copy this treatment but choose an actual color. Making it yours might make it more, you know, special.
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