Edmunds and Motor Trends recently released simultaneous judgements on their hands-on comparison of the 2007 BMW 335i and the 2008 Infiniti 37s. It is a battle of the standard bearer versus the up-and-coming in a face-off to see which is putting out the better sport coupe. And just like any boxing match you sometimes wonder if both judges were looking at the same fighters as the results appear a little mixed.
The BMW 335iÂ
Both publications approached the BMW with a particular level of deference as they have been the pinnacle of the sport coupe class for many many years. Both Edmunds and Motor Trend were recipients of similar cars in trim and propulsion with the 3.0 liter twin-turbo straight six. The 335i was run through similar tests and graded with somewhat similar results, which would be a mark to the stability and experience that the elite builders should provide. When Edmunds submitted their test car to the dyno they found that the usual 15% loss of horsepower due to drive-train resistance was actually only 7% (the Infiniti tested to show the usual 15% loss in horsepower, but showed a considerable drop in torque from the advertised amount). Thus to say that either the 335i has a magical new drivetrain technology that they are not sharing or that BMW has underrated the published 300-horsepower that they advertise for the car.
The Infiniti G37s
The Infiniti G37s coupes tested by Edmunds and Motor Trends have on major difference between them and that would be the transmission. Edmunds received a manual stick while Motor Trends had a 5-speed automatic with the fixed paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. While the manual shift managed a faster quarter mile for Edmunds (13.8 seconds) than the automatic did for Motor Trends (14.0 seconds), it was in over-all competence and feel for the road that set the two reviews apart. The G37’s 4-wheel-active-steer (4WAS) was highlighted as a hindrance to the Edmunds tester where he indicated that such interference did not take place in the G37 Sedan with an automatic transmission they had tested this year. The Motor Trend test coupe which came equipped with that same automatic transmission displayed no noticeable interference in the handling of the Infiniti during its 400-mile run.
While both tests seemed to give the BMW 335i the usual high grade it would expect, it was the difference in the grades of the Infiniti G37s that may raise more questions than answer. One of those questions being whether it is better to have the G37s in an automatic rather than the manual transmission? In the end though it is the consumer that benefits from this competition. While these two duke-it-out in their design wars and beefed-up engine power it is the buyer who is provided the greater options. The price may be the final judge as the Infiniti comes in around $8,000 less than the BMW, but for some the prestige of a BMW could be priceless (or at least worth an extra eight grand.
Which car would you pick if you were in the market for one of the two participants in this test?