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    2008 BMW M3 vs. 2009 Nissan GT-R

    The GTR is a 2+2 with back seats big enough for small women and bigger kids. The e92 M3 Coupe has more space and less power. But it may be more fun to drive.

     

    Which of these two cars would you choose for a trip through the backroads of the Alps in late spring with two passengers (small women or bigger kids),  followed by a week of hot laps at the Ring? 


    After driving both cars I would chose the M3 for the Alps (more fun) and the GTR for the Ring (more fast). If I had to choose one car for everything it would be the M3. How about you?



    2008 BMW M3 vs. 2009 Nissan GT-R 

    Vision Quest: A BMW helps us to see where the radical Nissan GT-R fits into the automotive landscape.

    BY TONY QUIROGA, PHOTOGRAPHY BY KEVIN WING 
    July 2008

     
     Unlike the GT-R  the naturally aspirated M3 lacks turbochargers. Compared with the 430 pound-feet found in the GT-R, the M3 has a seemingly minuscule 295 pound-feet. The M3 is out of its league in horsepower, too, but it makes up some of this handicap by weighing several hundred pounds less. 

    The GT-R is a track hero and makes the most of the considerable grip from the Bridgestone Potenza RE070R tires. This is a nearly foolproof chassis with supernatural balance. It makes any driver seem smoother and faster.

    Off the track, the GT-R felt rawer and far larger than the BMW. Excessive road noise, interior creaks, a teeth-clenchingly firm ride, and an occasionally slammed shift from the gearbox became wearisome. There are a few settings that try to mitigate a couple of these complaints, but even with the shocks in “comfort” mode, the ride remains brutal, and if the gearbox shifted more smoothly in “normal” mode, we didn’t notice.

    Motoring through a mountain pass demonstrated the superior stability and grip of the GT-R. The GT-R never ceases to feel wide and heavy, but it never does anything untoward. Firm and responsive brakes, quick steering with impressive feel, and the sticky tires almost erase the 3900-pound mass. Almost.

    If you’re interested only in performance numbers, the GT-R proves to be a match for Ferrari’s finest, but comparing the two is like comparing Reno and Monte Carlo. Reno is relatively affordable fun that’s a little rough around the edges, but Monte Carlo is tuxedos and debonair refinement. To stretch this analogy further, the winner of this comparison test (which you’ve probably gathered is the M3) would be Las Vegas. Vegas versus Reno is a closer matchup, but where would you rather end up? Now ask yourself why.



    The voices in our head say: “How could the M3 win against a GT-R ? Are you guys goofy? BMW jock sniffers! How could you let this happen? Impossible!


    In this group of radical cars, the M3 emerged quickly as the voice of reason. The extremist voices of the Porsche and the GT-R are just not present in the M3. It never shouts, utters complaints, or makes any unbecoming demands. Road and tire noise are subdued, the fabric-covered seats are perfect, and there is a back seat and a real trunk. But even with those attributes, the M3 doesn’t skimp on supercar performance. It just happens to be dressed in a polished and practical package.

    Even without the optional adjustable electronic dampers, our M3 test car displayed a better ride-and-handling compromise than the GT-R. Handling, both on the track and public roads, matched the GT-R in our individual scoring. But the M3 goes about its business differently. The GT-R steamrolls the tarmac into submission in an eerie sort of way; the M3 allows the driver to use the car as an instrument. Not many cars can play the road—the car world has more fakers than a middle-school band concert.

    As one test driver put it, “The M3 is the car that the driver has the most control over.” Oversteer, understeer, and neutrality are all on the M3’s résumé, but they’re dependent on the driver’s inputs. The chassis has no surprises, no snap reactions, no bad habits—even midcorner bumps are sopped up without drama. Strong brakes have excellent initial bite and didn’t fade even after many, many laps. 

    Unlike the heavyweights, the BMW feels smaller the harder it is driven. Part of that feel is due to light steering, but the importance of having the lowest mass and the narrowest width also plays a huge role.

    It is immediately obvious (especially at altitude) that the M3 isn’t as quick as its turbocharged competition, but 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds is nothing to scoff at, either (other M3s we’ve tested have been slightly quicker). A naturally aspirated 4.0-liter V-8 can’t deliver the massive torque of the blown sixes, but the M3 delivers its 414 horsepower in a linear and consistent manner from idle to its 8300-rpm redline. No lurching, no drama, no sudden explosions of boost. And the sound the BMW V-8 makes is due a Grammy. It’s a V-8 note not often heard outside racetracks.

    The M3 offers an unparalleled mix of hassle-free livability and performance at a price that undercuts those of the Nissan. For that, it wins in our book. We say its performance deficit is made up by the near perfection and sophistication of the rest of the package. And before you think we’ve gone soft and are too old for a wildcat like the GT-R, know that the average age of the test drivers (and the voters of the comparison test) was 29.5 years. Moreover, we’re the only three C/D staffers who dream of having a Lotus Elise as a daily driver. Trust us, we can put up with a lot of crudeness—you should have heard our dinner conversations. But if you can have it all without the pain, who would vote against that? And until that Elise thing happens, the M3 is the car we’d take home forever.



    --


    Re: 2008 BMW M3 vs. 2009 Nissan GT-R

    I suppose like everything else in life, car comparisons could be argued in any way you wish.

    Use the simple formula of stressing the strengths/suppressing any weaknesses and you can draw the conclusion that suits you.


    --
    It's not where you're going, it's how you get there that counts

    Re: 2008 BMW M3 vs. 2009 Nissan GT-R

    I think I would take the M3 over the GT-R as well. I just really like the feel of driving a BMW, and the quality is superb. It also seems to be better all around than a GT-R based on this and other reviews too.

    Re: 2008 BMW M3 vs. 2009 Nissan GT-R

    AUM:


    After driving both cars I would chose the M3 for the Alps (more fun) and the GTR for the Ring (more fast). If I had to choose one car for everything it would be the M3. How about you?


    -- 


           

    Why did you experience the M3 as the car that offers more driving pleasure? That is an interesting experience indeed. To date, I only know the M3 (did not drive a GTR yet). Of course, the M3 is a fun car to drive (to be honest, I admire it more each time I drive it...). However, I would have thought that the GTR is even more of a sportscar and should have lots of driving pleasure waiting for its driver Smiley 


    Re: 2008 BMW M3 vs. 2009 Nissan GT-R

    For the most driving fun, I prefer RWD, N/a cars with a clutch pedal. The GTR is an AWD Turbo with no clutch, so it is not quite my cup of tea. It is lots of fun to drive at the limit on a track because it inspires tremendous confidence and feels very safe and predictable while pushing close to the edge. But on the road it lacks the sensory feedback and satisfaction that the M3 provides at slower speeds. 

    It will be interesting to see how the Euro GTRs do at the Ring in the hands of owners, compared to GT3s, Turbos and GT2s. I suspect most average trackers would be faster in the GTR. But I just cannot abide the styling and Nissan-ness of the beast.

     



    --


    Re: 2008 BMW M3 vs. 2009 Nissan GT-R

    AUM:

    For the most driving fun, I prefer RWD, N/a cars with a clutch pedal. The GTR is an AWD Turbo with no clutch, so it is not quite my cup of tea. It is lots of fun to drive at the limit on a track because it inspires tremendous confidence and feels very safe and predictable while pushing close to the edge. But on the road it lacks the sensory feedback and satisfaction that the M3 provides at slower speeds. 

    It will be interesting to see how the Euro GTRs do at the Ring in the hands of owners, compared to GT3s, Turbos and GT2s. I suspect most average trackers would be faster in the GTR. But I just cannot abide the styling and Nissan-ness of the beast.

     



    --

    Interesting... How would you rank the two cars in terms of steering (precision, lack of synthetic feel etc.) and by how the car turns into corners (agility)?

     

            


    Re: 2008 BMW M3 vs. 2009 Nissan GT-R

    I haven't driven the M3 on a track (just on the autobahn) so I can't really compare them properly. But I would say the M3 is a better road car and the GTR is a better track car. The problem with the GTR as track car is it is too heavy. But it hides the weight well and will be very hard to beat for the first ten minutes on any track. 
    --


    Re: 2008 BMW M3 vs. 2009 Nissan GT-R

    did you fall and hit your head AUM?
    --

    track vid

    0-300kph

    chasing a 997GT2




    Re: 2008 BMW M3 vs. 2009 Nissan GT-R

    I'd rather slam my dick in a car door (not GT-R) Smiley
    --

    2005 Ford Focus S, 5spd
    1986 Porsche 944, 5spd


     
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