2003-2005 BMW Z4, 2000-2005 Honda S2000, 2003-2005 Nissan 350Z, and 1997-2005 Porsche Boxster

Ian Dawson

So, to Answer Your Question

The most powerful but also the heaviest, the smooth-riding, easy-driving 350Z roadster is the grand tourer of this hardcore group. It's no Thunderbird, but it felt a little less like a sports car than the others.

Lithe, buzzy, busy, and quick, the S2000 is the race car of the foursome, utterly unconcerned with comfort and usability. With its somewhat hyper personality, the S2000 isn't easy to master, but it's perhaps the most rewarding. Still, the S2000's star shone much more brightly on the track than on the road, making the little Honda a specialized car for specialized circumstances.

Overhead Rear View

The BMW and the Porsche are harder to separate. Both excelled on the track. The Z4 was more polished on the highway; the Boxster had the edge in the twisties. The Z4 is quicker and cheaper and boasts a better gearbox. The Boxster counters with purer steering, more robust brakes, and better body control. DeMatio: "Although this car is old, the combination of a mid-engine chassis and the Porsche boxer six is still mighty alluring." Quiroga: "The Z4 is good in many regards, perhaps all regards, but it's not the best at anything." So, in a photo finish, the judges give the nod to the Porsche. There, we said it. We like the Boxster best. But not by much.

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