Scoop! Letter From Car and Driver to Nissan Leaked to TTAC

Gary Powers
by Gary Powers
scoop letter from car and driver to nissan leaked to ttac
In the July issue of Car and Driver, the BMW M3 coupe beat the Nissan GT-R in a comparison test. I couldn't understand how this happened, or even why they'd be comparing the two, until I found a copy of this letter:

Dear Nissan,

You may have noticed (we hope someone does) that BMW's M3 beat your GT-R in our recent "Vision Quest" comparo. We want to apologize for this. Please don't feel bad. The GT-R really is a great car, as witnessed by the fact that we rated it higher than the Porsche 911 Turbo. But as BMW is secretly our parent company, they demanded that their M3 win any and all comparisons. As we are contractually obligated to have a BMW win at least four comparisons a year, well, it was your turn.

We did give Nissan the inside back cover and wrote a nice one-year update on the Altima. There are also a couple of complimentary articles about the Infiniti G35xS and the FX50S. Oh and by the way, that FX50S is an impressive ride, but you really need to do something about the silly "bionic cheetah" moniker that you've attached to it.

Anyway, rest assured that we feel very badly about placing the GT-R behind the M3. Even though the M3 is slower in the quarter mile, 0-60 and around a track, the BMW does have a bigger back seat and more usable trunk space.

Again, please take solace in the fact that your GT-R totally demolished the Porsche 911 Turbo, which is a worthless car. By "worthless" we mean it's an OK enough car, but Porsche doesn't spend enough money advertising in our magazine. When was the last time you saw a two-page ad for a 911 or an inside cover ad for the Boxster? I wish we could stop covering their lame cars altogether, but they've weaseled themselves into an important position in the automotive industry with all of their performance, history and heritage. So try as we might, we can't ignore them.

Enough about the third-place finisher, the over-powered 911 Turbo. We are here to apologize for that first place finish awarded to the M3.

If we were really honest, the M3 wouldn't have been in the comparison. It's in a totally different class than your GT-R. The thing is, our comparo is the first in a new series with cars competing out of their league. We think our advertisers (that's you!) will love this new marketing plan. It will give prestige to the lower end cars. Next month, a Nissan Rogue will beat the Porsche Cayenne. Just think how Nissan salesmen all over the country will be able to promote the Rogue as the "SUV that beat the Cayenne!"

The month after that, the Nissan Sentra will win against the Lotus Exige. Of course, we need to keep our journalistic integrity. So we'll use the base Exige vs. the Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V. The little Lotus won't stand a chance. I mean have you seen the back seat in an Exige? No, you haven't, because there isn't one. The trunk? Tiny! Rear doors? Nada! The Nissan Sentra is obviously the superior car. A lot of automotive reporting outlets don't have the courage to compare an Exige to a Sentra, but we think it's time–once again– to put your money where our mouth is.

If you think about it, this will work out better for Nissan in the long run. The GT-R can withstand a second place finish to the benchmark BMW M3. (Sorry, we're contractually obligated to put the word "benchmark" at least once every time we write about BMW, and technically we are writing about them.) Anyway, as the first year supply of your GT-R is sold out, what do you care? It's not as if someone's going to say, I WAS going to buy a Maxima, but now that the GT-R got beat by a Bimmer I'll buy a high-mileage 3-Series.

Bottom line (our first and only concern): we're truly sorry for the second place finish to the M3. We wanted to write it as a tie, but the Germans have no sense of humor. (Just imagine if we'd written "Every other manufacturer should give up on building their own cars and just make GT-Rs instead.")

But we don't want this article to damage our mutually profitable relationship. And if you want to be mad at someone, have you seen what that "The Truth About Cars" web site is saying about the GT-R's record around the ‘ring? The nerve of some people. Adiosu!

Yours sincerely,

Car and Driver Magazine

[read the Car and Driver comparo here]

Join the conversation
2 of 76 comments
  • Kman Kman on Jun 07, 2008

    The C&D article explains, in its introduction, quite clearly what the intent is. There are iconic sports cars in our world. Cars legendary for being the objects of desire, the benchmark of performance, the disruptors in many respects. These cars -- and there are very few of them -- include the Porsche 911 Turbo, the BMW M3, and the Corvette. With a new, iconic-before-it-even-got-here sports car on the landscape, C&D set out to see "where it fits" on this landscape. Thus the invitation to the Porsche 911 Turbo and BMW M3 (the article explains why the Corvette wasn't there). That's a very specific and, to the involved enthusiast, a very fascinating and interesting project. And that's what the comparo laid out: where each car stands in legendary-sports-car-dom. The Turbo is blindingly fast, gloriously luxurious and expensive; the GT-R is supercar-fast, easiest to go fast in and rough around the edges. The M3 is connected to the driver, telepathic in its responses, still pretty darn fast, and livable everyday; a whole greater than its parts. Et voilà. In calmer, more lucide moments, I humbly believe that most of use here would agree with the strenghts and positioning of each. Swervin, you make a very valid point about the cover headline, and indeed, that point is granted. But that is simply a function of the necessities of the marketplace, where the cover has to have something that draws -- witness the scantily-clad girls on the covers of lesser car rags. But where it counts, inside the magazine, in the article, C&D did -- and does -- a good job.

  • Peterwigin Peterwigin on Jun 10, 2008

    First I really do like the GTR. Second I probably would buy the M3 over it... as if that we're a choice I'd actually have to make! And third TAC has in my opinion shown the tendency to rank BMWs higher that other manufactures as well, so maybe you guys are just bitter.

  • CoastieLenn They absolutely should.
  • Arthur Dailey Thanks for the clarification.@JeffS has nicely summarized most of my original comment.I greatly dislike the 'touring' light treatment. It seems like we all do. This generation of Mark is too short to pull off the continental hump and fake engine vents. With them the proportions look odd.As Corey so nicely put it 'disco was dead and so was its car'. Successive generations generally reject the vehicles that their parents drove (or drove them around in). And as the children of Boomers grew, the Boomers gave up their PLC's and rather than turning to station wagons to transport their growing brood turned to the newly available minivan.And the generation behind them, rather than aspiring to a PLC, instead leased 'German driving machines'.
  • SCE to AUX "Toyota has dropped a pic of the next Tacoma on Instagram."This is why the splashy auto show reveals are dead.
  • Sckid213 I feel like the Camry in Japan is what oddballs like the Kia K9 and Hyundai Eqqus felt here. Obviously those were higher-end vehicles than Camry, but they felt like they were in the wrong dimension here in the U.S.
  • FreedMike The Falcon was fast and temperamental. Is Ford sure this is what it wants to advertise?