If you had to name the single rarest and most special BMW 3 Series of all times, which one would you pick? The 330i ZHP (E46), or the Alpina D3 Touring?
In the mid-80s BMW fans in Europe were thrilled by the M3 (E30), the first-ever M3 in the history of the Bavarian company. But the model was never shipped to South Africa, so the local division of the automaker decided it needs its own high-performance special version. This is how the 333i was born.
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While it wasn’t officially a full-blown M3, the 333i was equally cool. It was powered by the 3.2-liter straight-six engine of the 733i, which replaced the stock motor of the 325i and delivered 198 horsepower (148 kilowatts). It was mated to a close-ratio five-speed manual gearbox and a limited-slip differential, channeling the power to the rear wheels. Stopping power was provided by Alpina dual-ventilated brake discs.
Speaking of Alpina, BMW South Africa used some help from BMW Motorsport and the tuning company developing the car. The final result was an impressing acceleration from 0 to 60 miles per hour (0-98 kilometers per hour) in 7.4 seconds. Not quite as wild as the M3, but the closest thing you can get in South Africa. With only 204 examples sold to customers, it is even more desirable to some enthusiasts than the original M3 (E30).
In a new video by the folks over at Cars.co.za (attached at the top of the article), the 333i makes an appearance, showing its special sides. The owner of the car, Ashraad Nana, says he has found it a very long time before he could actually buy it, but now he knows its every nut and bolt.
Source: Cars.co.za on YouTube