If I told you that a new BMW would cost you less than a comparably-equipped Nissan, would you believe me? Sure, that’s a statement that can’t even come close to being made across BMW’s model line, but it applies if you’re currently shopping leases on a two-seat convertible. And really, who doesn’t want to bask in the sun now that it’s the unofficial start of summer?

2011 Nissan 370Z Roadster

Nissan lease deals vary by region, but if I walked into a Nissan dealer in the Washington, DC area tonight and told them that I want to lease a 2011 370Z Roadster, the current lease incentive is $449 per month for 39 months with $2,999 due at signing. That figure is based on a sticker price of $38,415 and includes destination charges, but not much else other than floor mats and splash guards. By comparison, BMW’s lease deal on the 2011 BMW Z4 sDrive35i is $439 per month for 24 months with $3,914 due at signing. This deal is based on a Z4 with a MSRP of $52,225, which is $13,810 more than the 370Z.

2011 BMW Z4

So the BMW is 10 bucks a month cheaper, but its higher down payment makes it look like less of a deal. However, the ace up the Z4’s sleeve is that the BMW Z4 lease includes options that will cost extra on the Nissan. These include a seven-speed double-clutch automatic transmission and BMW’s Premium Package, which adds features like auto-dimming mirrors, Bluetooth, power-adjustable seats and a universal garage door opener. To get these features on the 370Z, you’ll have upgrade to the Touring trim and add the optional automatic transmission.


I used Nissan’s website to build a 370Z with these features. I also adjusted the lease term, mileage and down payment requirements to match the BMW. That means that both cars would allow you to drive 10,000 miles per year for two years and require a down payment of $3,914. When all is said and done, the 370Z will now cost you $790 per month, or a total of $22,874 after two years. That’s $351 more per month than the Z4. The Z4 will cost you $8,424 less than the 370Z after two years, and the BMW’s total lease cost works out to $14,450.

BMW Z4 sDrive35i lease offer

Lease incentives aren’t always as good as they appear when you start adding options. If you’re shopping for a convertible this weekend, what would you end up buying?