Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2008 BMW 1 SERIES VS 2008 Nissan 350Z Near Phoenix, AZ

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2008 Nissan 350Z

Safety Comparison

The 1 Series has standard head airbag curtains for front and rear seats which act as a forgiving barrier between the driver and outboard passenger's upper bodies and the window and pillars. Combined with high-strength steel door beams and lower side airbags this system increases head protection in broadside collisions. Head airbags cost extra in the 350Z and aren’t available on the Roadster.

The 1 Series has standard Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), which uses the antilock brake hardware along with powerful software and additional sensors to detect the beginning of a skid. The DSC then intervenes by automatically applying the brake at one appropriate wheel, preventing a skid. A skid prevention system costs extra on the 350Z. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study showed that skid control systems reduced single-vehicle car crashes by 30%.

The 1 Series offers an optional backup radar to help warn drivers about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind their vehicle. This collision warning system uses radar to detect obstacles behind the rear bumper. The 350Z doesn’t offer a rear collision sensor.

The 1 Series offers optional BMW Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The 350Z doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies.

Both the 1 Series and the 350Z have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four wheel antilock brakes and traction control.

Warranty Comparison

The 1 Series comes with a full 4 year/50,000 mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The 350Z’s 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The 1 Series comes with free roadside assistance for 4 years unlimited miles. BMW will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Nissan doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the 350Z.

The 1 Series’ corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the 350Z’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 1 Series for 4 years and 50,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, tire rotation, lubrication and any other scheduled maintenance. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the 350Z.

Engine Comparison

The 135i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 32 lbs.-ft. more torque (300 vs. 268) than the 350Z’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Road & Track the 135i is faster than the Nissan 350Z (manual transmissions tested):

1 Series


Zero to 60 MPH

4.8 sec

5.3 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

11.9 sec

13.4 sec

Quarter Mile

13.4 sec

13.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

104 MPH

102.3 MPH

For more instantaneous acceleration and better engine flexibility in any gear, the 1 Series’ engines produce their peak torque at lower RPM’s than the 350Z:


128i 3.0 DOHC 6 cyl.

2750 RPM

135i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

1400 RPM

350Z 3.5 DOHC V6

4800 RPM

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the 1 Series gets better fuel mileage than the 350Z:

1 Series


128i Coupe/Manual

18 city/28 hwy

18 city/25 hwy

128i Convertible/Manual

18 city/28 hwy

17 city/24 hwy

128i Coupe/Auto

19 city/28 hwy

17 city/24 hwy

128i Convertible/Auto

18 city/27 hwy

17 city/23 hwy

135i Coupe/Auto

18 city/26 hwy


135i Convertible/Auto

17 city/26 hwy


Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the 135i’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the 350Z:



350Z Grand Touring

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

12.6 inches

12.8 inches

Rear Rotors

12.8 inches

12.1 inches

12.7 inches

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The 135i’s 245/35R18 rear tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) which provides a stiffer sidewall than the 350Z Grand Touring’s 40 series tires.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the 1 Series can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The 350Z doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Passenger Space Comparison

The 1 Series has standard seating for 4 passengers; the 350Z can only carry 2.

The 1 Series Coupe has 35.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 350Z Coupe (86 vs. 50.5). The 1 Series Convertible has 26.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 350Z Roadster (78 vs. 51.8).

The 1 Series Coupe has .8 inches more front hip room and 2.4 inches more front shoulder room than the 350Z Coupe.

The 1 Series Convertible has .8 inches more front hip room and 2.4 inches more front shoulder room than the 350Z Roadster.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The 1 Series Coupe has a much larger trunk than the 350Z Coupe (10 vs. 6.8 cubic feet).

The 1 Series Convertible has a much larger trunk with its top down than the 350Z Roadster (8 vs. 4.1 cubic feet).

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