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Nissan 370Z


BMW M2

Summary

Nissan 370Z

Road testing the Nissan 370Z in 2011, I noted it was getting on. Yes, the rear-wheel drive two-seater had been given a design freshen up and a bigger engine a couple of years prior, but the 350Z it was based on had hit the local market way back in 2003. And it wasn't unreasonable to expect replacement or retirement in the not-too-distant future.

Okay, so that was seven years ago, which means if you (like many) consider the 370Z to be an update of the 350Z (the transition happening in 2009), this car has been on sale for 15 years straight. Can you imagine Apple trying to sell any one product without entirely reinventing it for that long?

You might say that makes it a modern classic; so good it's only required an occasional touch up to keep it on the Sports Car Most Wanted list. And in recent years, a consistent average of 30 Aussies a month have slotted a shiny new 370Z in their driveway.

But a less-charitable type will tell you time waits for no car, and with arch rival Toyota about to lob a Supra-shaped hand grenade over the parapet, this enduring campaigner is under the pump.

So, Nissan's reached into its bag of tricks and given the 370Z yet another cosmetic tszuj-up and added a high-performance clutch to the manual version.

Is it enough to keep Nissan's eternal Z-car flame burning?

Safety rating
Engine Type3.7L
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency10.5L/100km
Seating2 seats

BMW M2

If one is good, two must be better, right? Or twice as good. The question is whether that simple equation adds up for BMW's upgraded 1 and 2 Series siblings – the former, a range of five-door hatches, the latter, a line-up of cabriolets and coupes, with a major addition in the shape of the full-house, performance-focused M2.

Prices are up, and changes are mostly under the skin, so you're not getting  big visual bang for your extra bucks. But the new and improved 2 has plenty to offer when it comes to added spec and tech.

BMW invited us to the new car's Australian launch program along Tasmania's wet and wild west coast.

Safety rating
Engine Type2.0L turbo
Fuel TypePremium Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency6L/100km
Seating4 seats

Verdict

Nissan 370Z7/10

It's hard not to be ageist when it comes to the current Nissan Zed, because 15 years in market (nine if we're generous) is a lengthy stretch in anyone's book. But somehow the 370Z is more than the sum of its parts. It has fantastic front-engine/rear-drive balance, an increasingly rare atmo engine, and a beautiful manual 'box. The value equation is decent, and it's nicely put together. Just don't expect to be dazzled with the latest safety, driver-assist and multimedia technology.

Does the Nissan 370Z have what it takes to elevate your heart rate? Tell us in the comments below.


BMW M28/10

The BMW 2 Series coupes and convertibles combine understated good looks with great dynamics and top-shelf quality. Extra equipment, especially the iDrive6 multimedia system, has brought it up to speed in terms of tech and value, while the M240i sets the compact performance benchmark. And if you really want to push the envelope, the M2 is right there at the top of the under $100k performance pyramid.

Is BMW's upgraded 2 Series on the compact sports-luxury car pace? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Design

Nissan 370Z7/10

If you want to go all the way back, the 370Z clearly takes its design direction from Datsun's star of the '70s, the original 240Z.

Inspired by Ferrari, and (along with the Toyota 2000GT) a sports-car breakthrough for the Japanese industry, the first Zed's front-engine, long-nose proportions have remained largely intact in successive iterations over the decades.

With a broad, flat nose, distinctively jagged headlights, and steeply raked rear profile, there's no mistaking the 370's signature stance, with pumped-up guards sitting over fat, 19-inch alloy rims.

Sharp-eyed car-spotters will notice the update's new design RAYS forged wheels, smoked front and rear lights, and a similar smoked finish on the exterior door handles.

A new colour, 'Cherry Red' also replaces 'Bordeaux Black' in an eight-shade colour palette. Our test example was finished in 'Gun Metallic'.

Inside, echoes of Zeds past abound, with a trio of hooded gauges (clock, voltmeter, oil temp) sitting in the centre of the dash top, and the tachometer in the middle of a cowled, three-instrument main cluster shaded by an exaggerated tube.

And aside from consciously retro design touches, some elements have been present inside the car for so long they're just... ancient.

For example, old-school orange graphics for the odometer, gear position and trip computer are dated, and the small (7.0-inch touchscreen) multimedia display has the feel of an early noughties edition of Tekken 6.

Forget a digital speedo or head-up display. A CD slot still sits proudly in the centre stack, and matt silver highlights scattered around the cabin are as on-trend as double denim.

And the steering wheel (joined with the instrument binnacle) adjusts for height, but annoyingly, not reach.

That said, friends and family who rode in the car during the week I had the keys all commented on the swoopy exterior and cozy cockpit feel of the interior. So, what do I know?


BMW M28/10

The biggest visual clue to the revised 2 Series is the circular design bi-LED headlights, now standard on the 2 Series entry 220i, and mid-range 230i models, while hexagonal adaptive LEDs are standard on the top-shelf M240i.

But BMW couldn't leave those little light-emitting diodes alone, with LED front fog lights joining one-piece L-shaped LED tail-lights across the range.

Luxury Line-equipped cars feature a subtly revised nose treatment with larger intakes and a reshaped 'kidney' grille. There are also four new alloy wheel designs – a 17-inch alloy fitted standard to the 220i Luxury Line, and three optional M alloys for M Sport models (all no-cost options on the M240i).

The 230i M Sport features black, high-gloss bars in its kidney grille, as well as a black chrome finish for the exhaust finishers.

On the inside, there's the addition of a 'Black Panel' digital instrument cluster, which remains matt with the ignition off, and lights up with sharp graphics, configurable across conventional speed and rev readouts, as well as gear position, engine-efficiency data, vehicle settings and nav guidance.

There are also high-gloss finishes across the centre stack and front console, and even greater attention to detail around panel joins, trim stitching and switchgear.

But the hero is the latest iDrive6 multimedia system, run through an 8.8-inch colour touchscreen (6.5-inch on 220i), providing access to live content, radio and audio, navigation and maps, phone functionality, and vehicle settings through a simple and customisable app-style interface. The iPhone really as inspired car companies.

The M2 boasts M-specific instrument display content and a go-fast red needle on the tachometer.

Practicality

Nissan 370Z6/10

Two seats means practicality is a relative term when applied to the 370Z. For example, getting in and out is an athletic exercise requiring gymnastic levels of flexibility and poise. As with most low-lying coupes, I found the outer hand on the A-pillar technique helps with swinging down into the car, or lurching up out of it.

Once ensconced behind the wheel, you're confronted with a relatively modest amount of storage space, running to a medium-size glove box, a lidded bin at the rear of the dividing console, a single cupholder, and door pockets incorporating recesses for small bottles only.

There are two lined recesses for soft bags or coats behind each seat, including a fold-out map pocket, but they're not exactly convenient for retrieving things when you're on the move. What's missing is a tray where you can easily stow things likes keys, coins or a phone.

There are also two 12-volt power outlets, a USB port and an aux-in audio connection.

Rear load space is limited to 195 litres, mainly due to the boot's shallow floor (an alloy space-saver spare sits underneath). It does incorporate a cargo blind and four tie-down hooks, but we only managed to squeeze in the largest (105-litre) suitcase from our three-piece hard set, or a combination of the two smaller ones (35 and 68 litres).

We also had a crack at stuffing in the CarsGuide pram (there is a top-tether hook provided for child seat fitment) and managed it with only a couple of beads of perspiration expended.

Forget the nappy-bag paraphernalia, though. The soft bags with all the baby stuff would have to go in the storage bays in the cabin behind the seats.


BMW M26/10

Surprisingly, at a little over 4.4 metres long, the 2 Series (Coupe) is around 10cm longer than its 1 Series hatch stablemate (M240i +15cm), but aligns with its just under 1.8m width, and 1.4m height.

It seats four, with plenty of room up front and multiple storage options, including two cupholders in the console with an oddments tray behind, a 12-volt outlet, a lidded storage box between the seats with USB connection, a reasonably sized glove box, and segmented bins in the doors big enough for large water bottles.

While it was coupes only on the launch drive, we know the convertible has a pair of cupholders in the back, but not so in the coupe, and while headroom in the soft-top is okay (especially with the roof down) it's a squeeze in the hardtop.

More a 2+2 than a full four-seater, getting into the rear is an athletic exercise, and once installed, leg and headroom for this 183cm tester is tight. That said, kids up to teenager-size would be fine.

Boot volume is 390 litres (a 3 Series Coupe is 480 litres), with run-flat tyres on the 220i and 230i meaning there's no spare (or repair kit) under the floor, but the performance-focused M240i and M2, pack a 'BMW Mobility Kit' (compressor and tyre sealant to cover minor damage) in line with their high-performance (non-run-flat rubber).

A 60/40 split-folding rear backrest liberates extra load space, and a 'Through Loading System' with luggage compartment dividing net, and 40/20/40 split-folding rear seat is optionally available (220i & M2 Pure - $350 / 230i - $385 / M240i & M2 - $500).

And if you're keen on towing the 220i can pull 680kg of unbraked trailer, and 1500kg braked, with the minimum number stepping up to 715kg for the 230i. The M240i and M2 are no-tow zones.

Price and features

Nissan 370Z7/10

The arrival of the tricked-up 370Z NISMO in August last year, offered Nissan Australia an opportunity to reposition the regular model, dropping the MSRP for the manual version from $56,930 to $49,990.

Aside from adjusting the car's value-for-money proposition (and pissing off those who'd bought one in July), that close to seven grand haircut delivered more pricing headroom up to the Roadster (starting at $60,990), and NISMO (from $61,490) versions.

For that money the standard equipment list includes, keyless entry and start, cruise control, climate control air, go-fast alloy finish pedals, 'HDD' (Hard Disc Drive) sat nav with 3D mapping, a 7.0-inch colour multimedia touchscreen, and Bose eight-speaker audio with 9.3GB 'Music Box' hard drive.

You'll also pick up sports seats with lots of features. First, they're 'leather accented', which is code for genuine hide in all the places you regularly contact, and a faux equivalent everywhere else. Not uncommon, and not necessarily unpleasant. Then they're heated and four-way power-adjustable, (with manual lumbar and height adjustment for the driver).

The steering wheel and gear knob also cop the 'leather accented' treatment, plus you can expect LED DRLs and tail-lights as well as auto headlights. It's worth noting that the headlights are garden-variety xenons, and things you might expect in a $50k coupe, like, rain-sensing wipers, dual zone climate, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity or tyre-pressure monitoring are 100 per cent absent.

Lining up direct competitors for the 370Z isn't easy, because there aren't any. But the closest is arguably a 2.3-litre EcoBoost version of Ford's Mustang at $45,990 for the manual. A further stretch of the imagination could haul in the Mazda MX-5 RF ($43,890) or the 86 GTS+ ($39,440) and Subaru BRZ tS ($39,894).


BMW M28/10

The 2 Series coupe and convertible line-up ranges across four-cylinder, turbo-petrol models, in 220i Luxury Line, and 230i M Sport grades, with the six-cylinder M240i sitting at the top of the main line-up. Then for the more single-minded enthusiast, there's the hardcore M2; after a year on-sale it's now BMW Australia's best-selling M car (and it's easy to see why; it's fantastic).

Depending on the model, prices have risen by between $1100 and $1900 across the main range, largely because of the extra equipment, especially the tricky iDrive6 multimedia system.

At $52,990 for the coupe and $59,900 for the convertible version, the 220i Luxury Line is the entry-point to the 2 Series range. Equipment highlights include 17-inch light-alloy wheels, the previously mentioned LED headlights and fog lights, 'Driving Assistant' functionality (combines camera-based 'Lane Departure Warning and Approach' and 'Pedestrian Warning with the City Brake Activation'), digital radio, 'Navigation System Business' with 'iDrive6' accessed via a 6.5-inch display, dual-zone climate control air, reversing camera, a leather sports steering wheel, sports front seats, 'Dakota' leather upholstery, plus front and rear parking sensors.

Next rung on the 2 Series ladder is the 230i M Sport in Coupe ($63,000) and Convertible ($73,000) form, which adds M Sport suspension, aero, and brakes, 'Variable Sport Steering', 18-inch alloy rims, high-gloss 'Shadow line' exterior trim, a BMW Individual anthracite roofliner, a leather-wrapped M Sport steering wheel, cloth/Alcantara upholstery in the coupe, 'Dakota' leather and front seat heating in the convertible, electric (front) seat adjustment, plus 'Navigation System Professional' with iDrive6 and a customisable 8.8-inch touchscreen.

Opt for the M240i as a Coupe ($76,800) or Convertible ($85,800), and you're getting more than extra performance from the 3.0-litre turbo six. On top of the lengthy equipment list detailed above, you'll also pick up 18-inch alloys in 'Bicolour Jet Black', 12-speaker, 360W harman/kardon surround sound audio, 'Adaptive M Suspension', 'Adaptive LED Headlights', the Dakota leather trim, and front-seat heating.

As its name implies, the M2 Pure ($93,300) makes spec sacrifices in the name of light weight, including manual seat adjustment and a base (yet, still seven-speaker) audio package, but one of the biggest pay-offs is a standard six-speed manual gearbox. Save the manuals!

It also features 19-inch BMW M light alloy wheels, an M rear spoiler, quad exhaust pipes in high-gloss chrome, bi-LED headlights (with variable light distribution, including cornering lights), 'Dakota' leather upholstery, carbon fibre trim finishers, an M leather multi-function steering wheel, cruise control (with braking function), 'Driving Assistant', 'Rear Park Distance Control', and a reversing camera.

The full-fat M2 Coupe ($99,900) reinstates electric seat adjustment, plugs in the 12-speaker, 360W harman/kardon sound system, and adds 'Comfort access' (keyless entry and start), 'Adaptive LED Headlights' (with variable light distribution), and 'Selective Beam with anti-glare High-Beam Assistant'.

A vast array of individual options and packages covers everything from steering-wheel heating to a smoker's kit (naughty), and (amazingly, given it's standard on the Hyundai Accent) Apple CarPlay (220i & M2 Pure - $436 / 230i - $479 / M240i & M2 - $623).

Engine & trans

Nissan 370Z7/10

The 370Z is powered by an all-alloy, 3.7-litre (VQ37VHR), naturally aspirated, quad-cam V6, producing 245kW at 7000rpm and 363Nm at 5200rpm.

Serving in a vast array of Nissan, Infiniti, Renault and Mitsubishi models, the VQ V6 engine series has been around in various displacements for over 20 years.

It features the 'Continuously Variable Valve Timing Control System' (CVTCS) with 'Variable Valve Event and Lift' (VVEL) on the intake side. And while all that may sound new and ultra-high tech, it was actually introduced in 2007.

Transmission choice is between a seven-speed auto (with manual mode and paddles) or six-speed manual gearbox, as tested here. And this 2018 upgrade brings a high-performance clutch from Japanese specialist Exedy.

Drive goes to the rear wheels via a carbon-fibre composite drive shaft, connecting with a viscous limited slip differential (LSD).

Additional features that won't necessarily be music to purists' ears include 'Active Noise Cancellation', and 'Active Sound Enhancement'.

The former monitors and measures engine sounds, using the audio speakers to produce "acoustically opposing signals to cancel undesirable sounds". So, okay, maybe filtering out the messy noise is a good thing.

But at the same time Active Sound Enhancement employs "digital signal processing to enhance the engine note, using the vehicle's sound system to augment or modify the spectrum of select powertrain sounds in the cabin". Yuck.

I can cop a tube that channels a bit of genuine engine noise into the interior, but in this context, the phrase 'digital signal processing' is a turn-off.


BMW M29/10

The 220i is powered by a 2.0-litre 'TwinScroll' turbo-petrol four, featuring 'Valvetronic' variable valve control and 'Double-VANOS' variable camshaft control, and developing 135kW at 5000rpm, and 270Nm between 1350-4600rpm.

Using a retuned version of the same engine (lower compression ratio, more turbo boost), the 230i pumps out a solid 185kW at 5200rpm, and a grunty 350Nm from just 1450-4800rpm.

Then, the M240i is powered by a 3.0-litre, six-cylinder, turbo-petrol, pushing out no less than 250kW at 5500rpm, and a thumping 500Nm between 1520-4500rpm.

The same (8HP50) eight-speed auto transmission is used across the board, pushing drive to the rear wheels only, and happily, a six-speed manual gearbox is a no-cost option on the M240i.

The full-house M2's 3.0-litre turbo six produces 272kW at 6500rpm, and 465Nm from just 1400-5650rpm (500Nm from 1450-4750rpm on overboost), driving the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch auto, although a six speed-manual is a no-cost option (and standard on the M2 Pure).

Fuel consumption

Nissan 370Z7/10

Claimed fuel economy for the combined (ADR 81/02 - urban, extra-urban) cycle is 10.6L/100km, the 370Z emitting 249g/km of CO2 in the process.

Over roughly 250km of city, suburban and freeway running, we averaged 15.6L/100km, at the bowser. Far from miserly.

Minimum fuel requirement is 95 RON premium unleaded, although Nissan says "for optimum performance" you should stump up for 98 RON. And just to rub it in, you'll need 72 litres of it to fill the tank.


BMW M28/10

Claimed fuel consumption for the 220i Coupe, on the combined (ADR 81/02 - urban, extra-urban) cycle, is 5.9L/100km, emitting 135g/km of C02 in the process. The 220i Convertible rates 6.1L/100km (140g/km).

The 230i Coupe is line-ball with that at 5.9L/100km (134g/km), and the the 230i Convertible at 6.2L/100km (142g/km).

The price of performance starts to bite with the M240i consuming 7.1L/100km (163g/km) in coupe form, and 7.4L/100km (169g/km) as a convertible.

Then, as you might expect, the M2 is thirstiest of all, the dual-clutch auto consuming 7.9L/100km (185g/km), while the six-speed manual version slurps 8.5L/100km (199g/km).

Auto start-stop is standard, fuel tank capacity is 52 litres across the board, and although technically these engines can run on anything from 91-98RON unleaded, BMW recommends 95RON premium as a minimum.

Driving

Nissan 370Z8/10

The Nissan 370Z is actually the car many want the Toyobaru 86/BRZ to be. I can sense some of you spluttering out a sweary response to that notion. But hear me out.

If you, like many others, think the 86/BRZ would be perfect with an extra 50kW/80Nm, just bolt on a turbo or supercharger, and voila. You'll get that extra grunt, but remember, the 86/BRZ was conceived to be light, tactile, and, not least of all, affordable.

Up the outputs and you light the wick on an engineering arms race that should also lead to bigger brakes, an engine with more exotic pistons and a tougher bottom end, a stronger gearbox and clutch, a beefier diff, sturdier chassis, fatter rims and rubber... the list goes on, and on. Until you end up with something very much like the spec, weight, and price of the 370Z.

That's not to say this car isn't a fun drive. It is. Just don't expect the quick reflexes of an MX-5 or 86/BRZ.

Despite light-weighting tricks like an aluminium bonnet and all-alloy suspension, the 370Z weighs in at a not inconsiderable 1467kg. And although its 3.7-litre V6 develops a solid 245kW/363Nm, first impressions are dominated by its hollow mid-range.

Much as I love the free-revving nature of a naturally aspirated engine, there's no denying a modern turbo typically delivers lots of torque low down, with peak power also available within a useful rev range.

All the action here is at the top end, with maximum torque arriving way up at 5200rpm, and peak power taking over at a nose-bleed 7000rpm (the rev ceiling is 7500rpm). Not exactly an easily accessible sweet spot.

But there's still so much to like about this evergreen Zed. Its classic front engine/rear-drive layout results in a 53/47 front to rear weight distribution and the car feels balanced and beautifully predictable.

Suspension is double wishbone front, multi-link rear, and ride comfort, even over choppy bitumen surfaces is surprisingly good. On the flip-side, rumble coming up from the Bridgestone Potenza RE050A rubber (245/40 f / 275/35 r) is always noticeable, and often intrusive.

The steering is supported by old-school hydraulic power assist and while connection with the front wheels is impressive, overall feel is light. Hello 'Merica.

The gearbox is a sweet reminder of what a pleasure it is swap ratios in a top-notch close-ratio manual, and hats off to Exedy for producing a wonderfully progressive clutch. Personal preference was to turn off the standard 'SynchroRev Match' function, because I like having a go at the ol' heel 'n' toe tap dance myself.

Brakes are ventilated front and rear with almost equal size rotors (355mm f / 350mm r) clamped by four-piston calipers up front and two piston units at the rear. They are reassuringly powerful and consistent.

Age has not wearied the 370Z's ergonomics. Although the lack of a digital speedo and no reach adjustment for the steering column is annoying, the sports seats are snug and comfortable, the moderately chunky wheel feels great, and all the major controls are simple to use. Who needs slick screens and 'piano black' finishes?


BMW M28/10

Four 2 Series variants were offered for the launch drive program, a 230i Coupe (which BMW nominates as the most popular model in the range), M240i Coupe, M2, and M2 Pure.

Claimed 0-100km/h acceleration of 5.6sec for the 230i M Sport Coupe is quick, with the convertible stopping the clocks three tenths later.

Peak torque of 350Nm is plenty, and with that number available from 1450-4800rpm the mid-spec 2 Series is an entertaining drive.

It's M Sport (strut front, five-link rear) suspension keeps the body well buttoned down in quick going, while the beefier M brakes provide strong and progressive stopping power.

Even a firm squeeze of the throttle can't side-step some hesitation as the turbo spools up before right foot pressure translates into forward momentum, but despite the sporty tune, ride quality is good (even riding on notoriously harsh 18-inch run-flat rubber), while response and road feel from the variable-ratio steering are excellent.

The eight-speed auto is beautifully slick, with manual changes, via wheel-mounted paddles, sharp and positive.

Add the grippy leather sports wheel, snug sports front seats, and racy cloth/Alcantara trim (leather in the convertible), and you have a comfortable, nicely balanced and fun-to-drive package.

Accelerating from 0-100km/h in 4.6sec (convertible 4.7sec), the M240i effortlessly achieves 'genuinely rapid' status. Yes, it's fast, but never furious, in the sense that even under the pressure of enthusiastic peddling it remains civilised and composed.

Maximum torque of 500Nm is not to be sneezed at, and when you realise that mountainous maximum is actually a flat-top plateau stretching from only 1520rpm up to 4500rpm, satisfying urge is never far away. And the flexible 3.0-litre turbo-six is an aural treat as it howls its way towards a 7000rpm rev ceiling.

The standard 'Adaptive M Suspension' offers settings from 'Comfort' through to 'Sport+', but even in the most forgiving mode the car remains taut and communicative.

The 18-inch rims, shod with Michelin Pilot Super Sport rubber (225/40 front / 245/35 rear) don't upset the ride as much as you'd expect, although coarse-chip surfaces send rumble through to the cabin.

In terms of ergonomics and general function, the new iDrive6 system is simple and intuitive to use, the current BMW dash and console layout is a model of efficiency, but the two-stage (depress small button on stubby lever, then shift) process to select drive or reverse can be a frustratingly hit-and-miss affair if you need to get going quickly.

Then, the M2 is all business, with a properly focused feel, and the ability to accelerate from 0-100km/h in a claimed 4.5sec for the six-speed manual, and just 4.3sec for the seven-speed dual-clutch. Try not to smile as that g-force shoves you back in your seat. You won't succeed.

Although peak power arrives at a relatively high 6500rpm, maximum torque of 465Nm (500Nm for limited periods on overboost) is ready for action across a broad spread from 1400-5650rpm, so the M2 has adrenalin flowing through its veins at all times.

An electronically controlled 'Active M Differential' manages torque distribution across the rear axle to optimise power down, with the ability to send anywhere from zero to 100 percent of drive to either back wheel.

The 'M Servotronic' steering, switchable through comfort and sport modes, is feelsome and linear in its response, the mega 'M Compound Brake' package (borrowed from big-brother M4) is professional grade, and while the seven-speed dual-clutch may shift faster, snicking up and down the manual's six ratios is a rare pleasure.

Rolling on 19-inch, ultra-high-performance Michelin semi-slick rubber (255/35 front / 275/35 rear) the M2 is never going to waft like a limousine, but if you're signing on for this kind of performance and dynamic ability, some ride harshness over less than perfect surfaces goes with the territory.

Safety

Nissan 370Z7/10

The 370Z must feel like a wall flower at the crash-test disco because it currently isn't rated for safety performance by ANCAP, its Euro NCAP affiliate, JNCAP in Japan, or the USA's NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) or IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety).

That said, in terms of active safety features you'll find ABS, BA, EBD, traction control, 'Vehicle Dynamic Control' (stability control), and a rear-view camera with 'Predictive Path' guidance lines.

But if you're looking for more current active tech, look elsewhere, because things like AEB, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, active cruise, lane-keep assist, auto high beam or any kind of pedestrian detection are missing-in-action. They're not even available on the options list.

If all else fails and a crash is unavoidable, primary passive safety runs to active head restraints and eight airbags (driver and passenger front and side airbags, plus roof- and door-mounted curtain airbags).


BMW M29/10

Across the mainstream 2 Series line-up (220i to M240i) driver-assistance tech including AEB, forward-collision warning, pedestrian-detection and lane-departure warning is standard.

There are also 'Approach Control Warning', 'Attentiveness Assistant', and 'Pedestrian warning' systems, plus 'Dynamic braking lights, DSC, ABS, 'Braking Assistant', 'Cornering Brake Control' (CBC), 'Dynamic Traction Control' (DTC), cruise control with braking function, a reversing camera, 'Park Distance Control' (PDC) rear (front and rear on 120i and up), and run-flat safety tyres (including a run-flat indicator) for the 220i and 230i. Tyre pressure monitoring is standard on the M240i and M2.

There are two child restraint top tethers across the back seat, with ISOFIX anchor points in each position.

On the passive safety side, all 2 Series models feature airbags for the front, side and head, as well as 'Intelligent Emergency Call' assistance.

The current BMW 2 Series Coupe/Convertible hasn't been tested by ANCAP or EuroNCAP.

Ownership

Nissan 370Z7/10

Nissan offers a three year/100,000km warranty, which isn't exactly ground-breaking in the age of Kia's seven year/unlimited km commitment.

But it does include 24-hour roadside assistance for three years, and Nissan's 'myNissan Service Certainty' capped-price servicing program applies for up to six years/120,000km.

The scheduled maintenance interval is six months/10,000km, with charges ranging from a low of $283, to a high of $831 (100,000km), averaging out to roughly $428 per service.


BMW M28/10

BMW uses 'condition-based' servicing, with the car effectively telling you when it's time to visit the workshop, but the 'BMW Service Inclusive' program offers distance and time options to fix maintenance costs (on a 'Basic' or 'Plus' plan) for up to 10 years/200,00km.

For example, a five year/80,000km service package for the 2 Series costs $1340 for the Basic option (oil service/top-up, annual vehicle check, microfilter, air filter, fuel filter, brake fluid, spark plugs), and $3550 for the Plus pack (adds brake pads and discs, wipers rubbers, and clutch disc and plate).

The standard BMW warranty covers three years/unlimited km.