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C&D July '08 - Production Model Comparison - BMW M3 vs Porsche 911 Turbo vs Nissan GT-R

3rd place - 911 Turbo

The highs - Sucker-punching turbos, steering perfection, sport-car feel & manners, craftsmanship pervades every corner.

The lows - Sticker shock, not as trustworthy as the GT-R, tiny trunk, clunky shifter & clutch feel, floor mats cost extra.

The verdict - Costs as much as an M3 & a GT-R, you could almost buy two standard 911s instead.

2nd place - GT-R

The highs - Heroic launch control, nearly lag-free turbo motor, balanced chassis, quick-witted all-wheel drive, hides its 3900 pounds (well, most of the time.)

The lows - Excessive road noise, transmission clunks, rough one-to-two shift, car feel too wide, heavy & big.

The verdict - Nissan aims for Ferrari & hits somewhere between an M3 & a 911.

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 & Monte Carlo. Reno is relatively affordable fun that's a little rough around the edges, but Monte Carlo is tuxedos & debonair refinement. To stretch this analogy further, the winner of this comparison test (..the M3) would be Las Vegas. Vegas verses Reno is a closer matchup, but where would you rather end up? Now ask yourself why.

1st place - M3

The highs - The direct connection between man & machine, vice-free handling, feathery feel, Grammy-worthy engine, day-to-day likability.

The lows - Not as quick as the two other cars, somewhat light & numb steering, that stinking iDrive.

The verdict - Every other manufacturer should give up on building their own cars & just make M3s instead.

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 resume, but they're dependent on the driver's inputs...The M3 offers an unparalleled mix of hassle-free livability & performance at a price that undercuts those of the Nissan & the Porsche...We say the performance deficit is made up by the near perfection & sophistication of the rest of the package. And before you think we've gone soft & 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.

................0-60......1/4 mile...Top Speed..Lap time/mph
[email protected]:29.3/58.7
[email protected]191.......1:26.7/61.1
911 Turbo....3.5.....[email protected].....185.......1:27.8/59.0

Lap times were on a 1.5 mile long portion of Nevada's Reno-Fernley road course, 4,200 feet above sea level.
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