BMW Z4 vs Porsche Boxster vs Mercedes SLK

With the release of the latest BMW Z4 (see my past blogs BMW Z4 and More BMW Z4), it was inevitable that motoring journo's the world over provide comparison tests with other cars in the same class.

To be fair, these tests are exactly what readers want to hear. If you are thinking of buying a car, you are going to do what most of us would and checkout a few options before making a decision.

The downside of such tests is that they are narrow in scope (i.e. this model/spec vs that model/spec) and they don't really give you the full picture. But I digress.

Auto Express have pitted the BMW Z4 vs Porsche Boxster vs Mercedes SLK and it's interesting (if not predictable) to see the new Z sDrive23i comes out ahead of the older SLK 280 (it's target competitor) but behind the Boxster (which it really isn't aiming for). This test follows the same formula as the Porsche Cayman vs Audi TT S vs BMW 335i M Sport test I shared earlier.

Since having blogged about the Z4 before, I've since had my opinion of the car changed somewhat. The exterior is definitely attractive - it's less edgy that the previous Z4 (which I quite liked actually). I'm still not a fan of BMW interiors as they are all shockingly similar and overly sterile, but to be fair, I've not spent any time in the Z4 so hardly in a position to judge. Perhaps I might take a detour pasts a BMW dealership this weekend and take one out for a spin?

So back to my comment re: car comparisons. What this test and every other fails to express is just how different a base/mid-level car can be to it's top spec brothers.

Jump in a Boxster and you feel disappointed that it has a great chassis but not enough power to exploit it. Jump in the Boxster S and that disappointment diminishes - it doesn't fade because we know the Boxster S could have more power still but that would upset Porsche's 911.

Similarly, the differences between the SLK350 I owned from '05 to '08 and the SLK55 I know own are astronomical. The brakes, the gearbox, the suspension, the steering, the seats and the engine make the car a completely experience.

So what's my point? Go drive a few of these cars for yourself - you'll be richer for the experience... or poorer if you buy a few of them :-)

Also worth checking out are the videos from Top Gear (sDrive35i with turbos vs the 370Z) and Fifth Gear (sDrive35i with turbos vs the Porsche Boxster S) on YouTube - both of which will no doubt change as these aren't 'official':


posted by Lee Gale @ 1:25 AM,


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