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2007 BMW 328/335 vs Nissan Altima 2007 3.5 SE/SL

car111car111 Posts: 24
edited April 27 in BMW
Hi all,
I'm in market for practical fun to drive sedan. I feel new V6 CVT altima 268Hp/258Torque is quite sporty and easier to handle whereas BMW 3 feels little stiffer. Anyway compared the two ?


  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Ummm, no disrespect, but I cannot imagine most folks wanting to even bother comparing a 3-Series to an Altima. They are just so very different that I've never heard of anybody cross shopping the two before.

    Best Regards,
  • car111car111 Posts: 24
    These new cars (altima v6, camry v6) are very responsive and fun to drive. They have got more power than most BMW 3 series, except BMW 335 hence I asked for comparison. Altima's steering wheel, pedals, seating seems more comfortable and feels more light-weight to maneuver than BMW.

    Where does the legendary sportiness of BMW manifest - is it mainly ability to make very fast turns ?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,407
    Probably if you pushed the Altima hard you'd notice the dynamics just aren't up to the BMW level of performance. Since so many modern cars are now very competent, you have to stress the chassis and brakes a bit to see the difference. Just driving around the block isn't going to tell you anything really. But once brakes are hot and shocks are all warmed up and you are going fast enough to demand instant response you're going to see the Altima degrade.

    Or maybe not--a BMW is overkill for the driving habits of some folks and the Altima is thus a fine choice and a very good value.


  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    The Altima has the soft gas pedal you're looking for, it has more power than the BMW 328i, and you really like the way it feels and drives.

    Seems to me you should save yourself $10,000 and get the Altima.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Have you driven both? Shifty makes a good point about taking the cars around the block. You have to actually drive both to the point stressing the chassis and then see which car you prefer.

    HP isn't the be all and end all and it's important the chassis be able to absorb the hp properly.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,407
    No I haven't driven the brand new Altima but unless something totally radical has gone on in the past two years with the car, and they are aiming for a different type of driver, I'd expect the new one to be pretty much what I think it's going to be. Nice car but without that feel of precision and rock solid construction.

    I always tell people that if you genuinely can't notice the difference between two cars, and one costs $10K less, well, gee, buy it!


  • car111car111 Posts: 24
    Pardon my limited knowledge of BMW but I am trying to see what I may miss but not buying 328 or 335. Can you be more specific of stressing the car - speeds, etc ?

    I have driven both Altima and 328/335 - and stressed them (to my level). I think braking of BMW 3 or 5 might be best in town. Taking turns at 40,45,50mph I thought new ALtima handled well, better than camry, accord. I think for years Altima/Maxima are known to be sportier cars compared to camry, accord. And my BMW friends also confirm to their surprise Nissan handles well. I think if you take 60mph+ turns BMW is needed, but that would be quite aggressive/risky driving in Northern California.

    In normal to reasonable risk driving, would the difference be noticed between Altima and BMW 3 ? It seems aggressive driving wherein one can get a traffic ticket would be where BMW wins.

    Also, I heard there is some place in LosAngeles where for $10, you can race cars (BMW, Audi, etc) around the track ?
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    You ask a difficult question. It's like asking a steak lover what they are missing out by eating a $15.99 Outback steak vs a steak in a high-end steak house.

    The difference between Nissan and BMW is the intended mission of the car, not the ability to do crazy and illegal stunts on the road.

    The BMW has a balanced neutral feel, those who know can feel the difference at 10mph. If you do not covet the driving dynamics of the BMW after taking it for a test drive, there would be no reason to spend $10 grand more for the car over the Altima.

    When I test drove a BMW it took about 15 seconds for me to understand what makes a BMW a BMW over a FWD appliance type car.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,353
    When I test drove a BMW it took about 15 seconds for me to understand what makes a BMW a BMW over a FWD appliance type car.

    I knew I felt something way more valuable to me when I sat in the car before my test drive and it took me a little longer than you, about 1/4 mile on a few twisties and then I was sold. Huge difference than anything I ever drove previously.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,407
    A lot of this is somewhat subjective. It's like when someone describes themselves on a computer data service. You really don't know much until you meet them, and then when you do meet them, your experience and mine about this person might be quite different. You find someone eating with their mouth open charming, and it makes me ill. Who's right? Nobody.

    I like a very responsive car. If I point it somewhere, that's where I want to go, like right now. I don't want to have to spend time setting the car in a turn, or anticipating its bad habits, or having to slack off when the car gets squirrely in a bad spot.

    Other things I notice in some otherwise very nice cars are "dead center" steering (a dead spot in the neutral area o the steering), the annoyances of FWD, too-easy steering (one tends to over-correct), brake fade under duress, or a car that gets upset on bumpy/twisties.

    There are things I DON'T like about BMWs, but I think they are great driving cars, and I think it's significant that they rule in the 3-series to this day, and have bedeviled every competitor who has tried to copy them. No one has quite done it yet after decades of trying.


  • lili1lili1 Posts: 44
    no having to drive in the snow, I will go for the BMW for the RWD which is much more natural to accelerate out of a turn aided by weight transfer under power till you overdo teh speed. Altima is FWD and normally require drifting oversteer/plow out of a turn requiring room as you drift out of a turn in a line which a normal road's width and flow of the turn does not lend well to that.

    The Altima with the power is enticing for more simple the straight road accleration with the seat of the pants feel and the BMW is more all rounded and mature handling as well as feel of driving a solidly built mahinery rather than a figer tip steering machine. BMW is more a well crafted piece of design w/ all of its pieces moving more in harmony and the Altima is a raw basket of coponents each carrying its own technical specs put together, that is one is designed around the human being who is controlling the machine and the Altima put together for an operator of the machine. For deep enjoyment and artistically chiseled out 3D shape Vs a less deep shaped to please who who can see simpler line, that is BMW Vs Altima. So, that is 10K dollar difference in the feel, feeling, taste.... However, everything is relative, the Altima on the other hand is a much soother design, more artistic shape than Accords and Camry.....

    Driving wise, all the three FWD will behave and feel more or less the same if you do a blind fold test, I bet.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Hmmm, sounds interetsing. I'm going to find a dealer that will let me test-drive them blind-folded. :blush:
  • lili1lili1 Posts: 44
    Too late already. You have seen all those three 'Japanese barnded' cars already, and you can include the Fusion but I think that is a different category (AWD is always neutral even back in the days of the Audi Quattro fo the 80's therefore easier to corner a little faster while also gripping better to therefore power out of the corner a that little edge. So, unfair comparison.)!!!! You can't even be led to each of the car blindfolded and all logo taped up... just joking.

    Well, MBW Vs ALtima, it is a bottle of older wine Vs a bottle of regular stuff. The former you have a longer after taste and more to feel and explore, the latter, the most you got is get drunk.

    However, there is no bias and pure reality. A difference of 10k is not all eaten up by margin. We all have to ralized that the Nissan designers have taken a significantly pain staking exercises to cut $1 by $1 on each piece of whatever in the car, down to drill 3 holes instead of 4 to save $1 cents for example. The non-margin share of the 10K has a LONG way to go $1 by $1. In this global economy and WW outsourcing, there is a pretty normal price for each way of design, materials, manufacturing, quality, life, etc. You are paying 25% more, you should be getting closer to 25% more of a car. You don't have the extra money, you can't ask for the fine tuning, the last touch, the life, the tightness of mechanical parts.... However, the SE/SL by no mean is the entry level all 'cheap' design.
  • mf15mf15 Posts: 158
    My son has an 05 Altima I really love the power.
    So I went to the Nissan dealer and sat on an 07 loaded 32000
    sl it was white with blond leather. Perhaps I did not like the light colored leather, not sure why but my cheapness meter went off for some reason. I will have to test drive another color. The other bad thing I noticed was that on the sides of the doors I could see though the paint, and it looked like fish scales, not good. I really want to like the Altima since I can get the Nissan VPP program. Then I went to the Acura dealer and sat in a TSX, wow, wow was this car nice inside, I liked it so much had to test drive. Great car but underwhelmed by the power will have to drive without the salesman. While the TSX is not a BMW, my experience may show the difference between the Altima and another upscale car. Old Mike
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    You can't go wrong with the Altima or the TSX (or BMW for that matter), it just depends on what moves you.

    I will say that I think you should look at other colors before you dismiss the Altima. The new model is greatly improved over the 2005 model in quality and fit/finish.

    The scales you saw through the white paint were probably a result of the paint NOT being a pure white. Nissan doesn't offer the Altima in white, but instead has a color called "Winter Frost." While I haven't seen it in person myself, I suspect it is a metallic/pearlescent color - which might explain the "fish scales."

    Good luck with whatever you choose.
  • mf15mf15 Posts: 158
    Yes I want to like the new Altima I know all about it, as I said I can use the Nissan VPP program to get a real good price. But I could see through the paint to the metal on the doors while the hood did not have this problem. Old Mike
  • jd10013jd10013 Posts: 779
    you could try pointing it out to the dealer, and telling him you'll buy if its corrected. If, as you say, you can see through the paint; it is obioulsy a defect. That being the case, the dealership can probably have it corrected at minimal to no charge to them. Especially if it's just the doors. They can just take them off, strip, prime, paint, and clear coat em in a day or two.
  • absoluticabsolutic Posts: 29
    I own both. I mean my wife drives the Altima and I drive the new 328i. But we drive each other's car almost daily; we have a back-to-back parking, and usually I just pick up whatever car is parked behind that day when I need to go anywhere. I've had the Altima for about 7 months and the BMW for about 2 weeks. Now, our Altima is a 2006 style, I know they changed the style in 2007 and I don't know if it changed the dynamics. We've driven Altima on 1000-mile trips to Grand Canyon, in snow, in rain, to Vegas etc.

    I think Altima is clearly a great sports sedan. It is definately more fun than Camry or Accord. It has a feel of a sports sedan. It is very 'lively.' It has logical compartments (and lots of them). It has great telescopic wheel. Nice trunk size. It is very comfy yet sporty and I tend to push it. It is also extremely comfortable on trips and provides plenty of room for 4 people. Now again I am not sure about the 2007 model because I know they made it narrower than 2006 (I hate when they do it, width = comfort). And my wife averages 24 mpg with mostly city traffic on a regular non-premium gas.

    BMW, in addition to status factor of course, is even more fun around town. It is a very fast and confident car, which I want to drive. It is shorter than Altima and compartments are non-existent. As with everyone else, it is hard to explain but the car seems to know what I want to do next and is very quick to change lanes and to go in and out of traffic. The seats are comfortable and you don't get tired. I think I prefer it to Altima around town. However, on a long trip, I probably will take Altima, it is more roomy with more compartments. Things like place to put your sun glasses and logical cup holders.
  • fighter1fighter1 Posts: 18
    I agree. Altima just a nice family car with nice VQ engine, but it has so-so brakes, suspension & etc.
  • absoluticabsolutic Posts: 29
    I think breaks on Altima are actually very good. But BMW is just different. I get everywhere faster with BMW than with Altima :)
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