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

car111car111 Member Posts: 24
edited April 2014 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 Member Posts: 9,148
    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 Member 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 Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    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 Member 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 Member 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 Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    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 Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 8,666
    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 Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    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 Member 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 Member Posts: 3,118
    Hmmm, sounds interetsing. I'm going to find a dealer that will let me test-drive them blind-folded. :blush:
  • lili1lili1 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member Posts: 18
    I agree. Altima just a nice family car with nice VQ engine, but it has so-so brakes, suspension & etc.
  • absoluticabsolutic Member 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 :)
  • jd10013jd10013 Member Posts: 779
    Actualy, I believe the 2007 altima is wider, but an inch or two shorter.
  • absoluticabsolutic Member Posts: 29
    I stand corrected, the 2007's Altima is wider than 2006

    2007 Altima Sedan width - 70.7 in.
    2006 Altima Sedan width - 70.4 in.
    2007 BMW 328i Sedan width - 71.5 in.

    Of course, all mfrs measure width from the outside, the inside width depends on shape and thickness of doors etc...
  • lili1lili1 Member Posts: 44
    Hey, one do not pay 10K for only the badge and nothing else.
    You got more for what a machine can do.

    For 10K less, you got quite a lot in an Altima!

    I was in Germany just last week and was shuttled on a 1 hr. run from the airport to the destination in a chauffered company MB & back and got talking to these professional drivers. Their general observation is very interesting: all these newer German brands (the 3)are great performing machines to drive no doubt but they are not so reliable anymore particulalry with the electronics but the Japanese cars (sedans, not the top models which are not sold there but more the second model of the brand's line up)just keep runnng and needs only oil changes. Well, can't talk about Altimas - not sold there.

    On the other hand, those statement can only speak for the NMW but not the Altima. Other than the engine, it is hard to predict the reliability of things on this new platform. even the engine is hard to guess given the fact that these are hi-tech consumer engines, lighten for faster rev plus emission and not bred for racing or heaier duty. Yea, it can pump out the HP for occassional playing around but not sure how long it will run under stress before loosening up. Well, who knows. However, for 100K Hwy cruising - light load stuff and that should be no biggie.
  • bf109acebf109ace Member Posts: 77
    No disrespect. But Altima and Camry are family sedans which are too damn big and long for being sporty and fun.

    Extensively test drive all 3 cars and let us know how you feel. Raw horse power and straight-line acceleration is not everything.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Member Posts: 3,118
    Huh? The Altima weighs 50 lbs. less than the 328i. It's wheelbase and width are also within 1" of the BMW.

    There are many reasons why the Altima doesn't drive or handle as well as the 328i, but physical size isn't one of them.
  • car111car111 Member Posts: 24
    I find BMW 3 steering and pedals little tight (stiff). The 5 series steering was very stiff to even enjoy the quick turn ability.

    Altima I found its hard to maintain speed of car with the way I sit - after seat adjustments and putting thigh support cushion. The car just wants to accelerate and I get tired preventing touching gas pedal every often. My friends don't have this problem (perhaps like rest of buyers) but after showing the issue to my friends, there does not seem to be much that can be done. I like to sit comfortably so that my knee, ankles don't need to stretch, my hips don't feel compressed - just like sitting on office chair. Then I like the car and its pedals to have good response but also be able to maintain the speed so I can rest my foot a little on the pedal.

    Don't know if the Altima CVT that makes the car go faster or the softer pedals, vs the 6-speed Camry ???

    Camry 2007 3.5 V6 is a little stiffer than Altima (for my sensitive knees/feet), though softer than BMW, and I feel can rest my foot more easily on gas pedal (using thigh support cushion) and don't feel tired - unlike Altima. I find V6 easier a little for my knees/legs than its V4. In Camry, its easier to maintain the speed and also very responsive, especially on slopes.

    I think I might just buy 2007 Camry now V6 LE loaded. Its handling does not seem as good as Altima (which is not as good as BMW) but since this is my only car, I need to ensure commuting is not painful.

    Perhaps in future, when my knees/legs have recovered, I will buy the 335i.
  • ggurr54ggurr54 Member Posts: 30
  • madpistolmadpistol Member Posts: 126
    Try again. The '08 Camry SE that I drove had much stiffer steering than the current Altima. I'm not sure how the LE drives, but I would assume its easier.

    I have to very kindly disagree with you on this one. The LE is not the way to go if you want a responsive car. The loaded Camry LE V6 is a bore when it comes to driving manners. Now I don't know if you like to have a little fun in your car sometimes, but if you ever like to goof around in your car, even a little, DON'T GET THE CAMRY! It is the most boring car on the road toady. The V6 may make it feel fast in a straight line, but as soon as you turn the wheel, the Camry dies... it loses all appeal for anyone that wants to have fun in their car.

    Also, if you're comparing the Camry LE V6 to the Altima 3.5 SE, you're comparing 2 different types of cars. The 3.5 SE has a tuned sport suspension, while the LE V6 has a cushiony ride. If you want a true comparison between cars, go test drive an Altima 3.5 SL. It has softer suspension tuning, but it's still soooooo much more fun to drive than the Camry. Look at what people have to say about the Altima vs. Camry, and look at how the Altima has been rated by consumers. There are a lot more people that are happy with their Altima vs. those happy with the Camry. The Altima is simply a more enjoyable car for day to day driving.

    Back on topic, there is a reason the BMW 3 series costs at least $10k more than an Altima. The driving dynamics are more balanced on the Bimmer. The quality of the ride on a tuned german car is pretty hard to beat in this market.

    As another side note, have you looked a Infiniti's G35 sedan? 300hp 3.5L V6 is nearly on par with BMW's 3.0L TT I6, but it costs far less than the BMW. It's a great solution to any sort of money dilemma that people may have with spending so much money on a German import.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZMember Posts: 5,308
    Don't be expecting to hear back from "car111."

    He posted 15 months ago, and the turnover in Edmunds has to be seen to be believed.

    Either way, the world is full of people who think they got a smokin' deal on whatever non-BMW they ended up with.

    It's a cottage industry.
    '08 Acura TSX, '17 Subaru Forester
  • madpistolmadpistol Member Posts: 126
    lol! I didn't even realize it said 2007 :surprise:
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    "It's a cottage industry."

    ROTFLMAO! Awesome line! Mind if I borrow it from time to time? ;)

    Best Regards,
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZMember Posts: 5,308
    "Mind if I borrow it from time to time?"

    Be my guest! Lord knows I quote you often enough around here. :)
    '08 Acura TSX, '17 Subaru Forester
  • habiemhabiem Member Posts: 22
    I know this is an old thread, but it's got to be a joke, right? Don't get me wrong, the Altima is a great car - especially the 3.5SL. In fact, I'll probably buy one in the next few weeks. I can't speak directly for the current 3 series, but I had a 2001 BMW z3, and the altima doesn't compare. Sure, it's probably just as fast, or even faster, but that's only part of it. My wife and I regularly took the z3 back into the country to go down the little traveled state highways at 100MPH, zipping up and down the hills, hugging the curves at 90. I have no doubt if my mind that if I tried that with the Altima, I'd be dead.

    In addition, give the car 5 years and see how many rattles there are. The BMW will have none. The Altima will certainly have some.

    So, all in all, Altima is a fantastic car. However, if you can afford the BMW, over the life of the car, you'll love every second of driving it and will find it worth the money. That is, unless you just plan to drive it to the store once a week. If that's the case, save the cash.
  • r3shortr3short Member Posts: 4
    Wondering if anyone knows how to get more performance via chip, exhaust, supercharge, etc.
  • akv25akv25 Member Posts: 42
    I have no doubt if my mind that if I tried that with the Altima, I'd be dead.

    Couldn't agree more. I have tried to take my Accord around corners like my BMW and boy, have I had the same thoughts! Don't understand how people can equate straight line performance with a sports sedan.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Member Posts: 5,751
    You can likely ratchet it up somewhat on an Altima. Get a Dinan chip for the 335 however, and you can rack up some serious horsepower and torque 350/350 isn't out of the question.
  • jimb08jimb08 Member Posts: 3
    I own a 2007 BMW 335 coupe (premium, sport, nav, 6spd). It is the best driving all around sport coupe I have ever driven. No front driver could compare to the driving feel this car gives. I guess a good description would be as follows: When you drive most (good) cars you feel like you are OPERATING a really refined and powerful machine. When you drive a BMW, you feel like you are an INTEGRAL PART of a really refined and powerful machine. I have also heard it said like this: You operate most cars; you DRIVE a BMW.

    I don't want to take anything away from the Altima. It is a very fine car and would be my pick vs the Camry or the Accord but it is nowhere near the same league as the 335 in driving dynamics.

    If you drive the 335 and don't immediately understand what I'm talking about here, you should buy the Altima. I say this because you will never understand or appreciate what the 335 offers so it makes no sense to spend the extra money on a badge. Badges aren't important. If Hyundai made a car that offered the joyful driving experience that my 335 does, I'd buy it. It is the pulse quickening performance balanced against the confidence inspiring handling and feel that got me to plunk down my money.

    Just my two cents. Happy motoring!

  • r3shortr3short Member Posts: 4
    Where would I locate this chip?

    Price tag?
This discussion has been closed.