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HuffingtonPost: Comparing Nissan Leaf to BMW M3

BMW M3 | February 27th, 2012 by 5
Almost Criminal

HuffingtonPost publishes, as they describe it, “a totally unfair comparison”, between the Nissan Leaf and BMW M3, but not just any M3, in fact the …

HuffingtonPost publishes, as they describe it, “a totally unfair comparison”, between the Nissan Leaf and BMW M3, but not just any M3, in fact the E30 M3, one of the most fun M cars built to date. David Thielen was looking to replace his E30 M3 (200,000 miles) with a new car and after much deliberation he came to the conclusion that the Nissan Leaf would fit his expectations.

One might wonder how do you go from an M3 to a pure electric-vehicle car, but let’s take a look at the reasoning behind the decision.

1. Cost of gas is not considered to be a major decision point. “The difference in environmental impact is pretty minor. So the top selling points for the Leaf — irrelevant to me. What matters to me is how well the car performs, even though nowadays that mostly is the 6 miles to and from work,” says Thielen.

HuffingtonPost: Comparing Nissan Leaf to BMW M3
2. Response time. While the E30 M3 is known for its agility and dynamics, Thielen was more impressed by the instant response from the Leaf. “Press the accelerator and you are accelerating. Turn it on and seconds later it is fully on. Turn it off and it’s off. This is akin to the difference between booting up Windows and hitting the home button on your iPad.”

3. Acceleration. Clearly an electric vehicle through its instant torque will accelerate instantaneously, but if you go past the initial few yards, a super sporty gasoline engine will not only catch up, but most likely surpass the Leaf. “ome of that advantage is the Leaf is accelerating instantaneously. But an electric engine also accelerates faster, with no difference in power over ranges of RPM. (There was a kid in some GT sports car who blasted out from a green light figuring he would show the old guy in the boxy mom-mobile how much faster he was. So I hit the accelerator and blew by him — he’s probably still wondering how that happened.)”

4. Car sound. Here is where the M3, and any other high-rev engine, clearly wins.

5. Suspensions. Another area where the author gives credit where is due. Known for their sporty suspensions, BMW has never disappointing its M fans. “The suspension in the Leaf sucks the big one compared to a BMW. The cornering is ok because of the weight of the batteries throughout the floorboard so it’s better than most box cars. But fundamentally it’s a standard sedan suspension. This was one of the two reasons I almost went with the BMW. With that said, the Leaf does have as good a turning radius as the M3.”

Thielen continues to deliver an interesting analysis and we believe it’s worth a read.

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