Can Nissan Beat BMW? 370Z vs. 135i
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What comes after Z?, we wondered when Nissan let the stage go black in 1996
and officially bid farewell to the Z-car at an event at the Petersen
Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Sales of the twin-turbo 300ZX had been declining as fast as
applications for library cards, so Nissan simply stopped selling the car in
the U.S. It made us wonder where the Z fit in Nissan's future.
The answer came in 2002, when the Nissan 350Z appeared, a serious sports
car that seemed to measure itself against the Corvette in both speed and
style. It brought people back to Nissan, but lots of the young enthusiasts
didn't know what an icon the Z had been for the company since its inception
With the 2009 Nissan 370Z, all that changes. As a Z should be, the 370Z is
a statement of purpose, not just another car on the showroom floor. With
this second-generation version of the revitalized Z, the car has moved on
from affordable performance to something that brings new descriptions into
play — not only like quick, fast, strong and powerful, but also gorgeous,
luxurious, nimble, graceful, delicate and smooth.
This is a car so good that it makes you wonder what kind of car it is: a
sports car, a sport coupe or a muscle-bound pony car? And that's where the
2008 BMW 135i comes in, a pocket-size BMW M3 with an affordable price tag
Battle of the Bimmers: BMW M3 v BMW 135i v BMW 335i
Before you start sending us flaming e-mails complaining that a comparison
between the 2008 Audi S5 and the 2008 BMW M3 Coupe is an obvious mismatch
from the get-go, you should know a few things.
Our first full test of the $53,000, all-wheel-drive 2008 Audi S5 was a bit
of a revelation. With a 354-horsepower version of Audi's
direct-injection 4.2-liter V8 under its hood, the voluptuous Audi S5 ran a
13.3-second quarter-mile at 104 mph, just 0.1 second and 2 mph shy of the
420-hp 2007 Audi RS4 sedan. What's more, the S5's slalom speed is within a
couple mph of the harsh-riding RS-spec sedan. "It ran a 13.3? With that
kind of speed, who needs a $67,000 RS4?" we asked ourselves.
We believe so strongly in the 2008 Audi S5 that it earned our Inside Line's
inaugural Editors' Choice Award.
So we acquired (hastily perhaps) another 2008 Audi S5 and set it against
the new 2008 BMW M3 Coupe, a car now fortified with V8 power for the first
time. Speed-reading the specifications sheets of these two cars, they seem
like natural rivals: the 354-hp, all-wheel-drive 2008 Audi S5 measured
against the 414-hp, rear-wheel-drive 2008 BMW M3.
But as it turns out, we gave the 2008 Audi S5 a bigger challenge than we
had initially intended.