I am thoroughly convinced, and confident in the performance of certain BMWs. Of course they are unreliable after warranty, expensive to own, overly complicated and finicky when aged. They are not a Camry. But, in the performance metrics, BMWs are capable of putting down seriously impressive stats. Personally, unless there is a sea change at BMW, I'll never own one, and I never want for one. However, I do respect what a new BMW can do.I am not convinced of BMW's supremacy, despite them being a company that has more motorsports presence than Nissan might.
BMW's road cars are inexplicably dense and massive for their dimensions. They are known for plastic parts in mission critical systems that can fail, especially the cooling system. They are known for motorsport division engines that cannot keep the top end or the bottom end of the engine from grenading. You would think that a V10 M5 or M6 for 6 figures would be built to last... but you'd be wrong, and expensively so.
Z35 may be a legacy chassis, but we have yet to see what improvements have been made, including AFTER Ghosn's departure, on a chassis that isn't feather light, but isn't overly massive either... and is not inherently drastically compromised, just likely has needed further development, and is also designed to a price point to a certain extent.
Their inline 6 is hugely capable, their chassis always seems to be right on top. BMW has so much bandwidth in their product to just turn up the wick a little bit if anyone chomps on their heels.
On the other end of that spectrum, if you look at a company like Toyota/Lexus, they have locked ECUs and relatively weak performance stats, especially on their turbo cars. With a GTI or BMW, you can drop a $500 JB4 piggyback onto the engine and get at least 75 whp. With Toyota/Lexus turbo cars, you can spend thousands and only get 30 whp.
Fortunately, this new VR30 is more like a German engine than a Japanese engine, at least in potential. The VR30 responds to mods as well as the German engines, several hundred dollars into a VR30 adds very significant WHP, just like a German car. Also, just like a German car, VR30 cars seem to put down more WHP than their crank HP numbers would suggest. I have seen many VR30 stock dynos at 5-10whp of their crank ratings. Very impressive.
However, what Nissan doesn't have is super-fast performing transmission and elaborate suspensions that help to get the power down. BMWs are so fast because of their transmission, engine, and suspension is able to keep that power glued to the road. The new Z will be getting the 9AT, which I don't think has any performance creds, yet. I can see the Z putting down impressive WHP numbers, only to lose in a metrics comparison due to 9AT performance and/or traction issues. We'll see.
I currently own an AWD Q60, but I have seen the modded RWD Q60's have traction issues in 2nd gear even. But a faster BMW doesn't. After seeing under the proto Z, I have doubts that the legacy bits would allow the Z to conquer BMWs, Mustangs, Camaros, etc. None of that matters to me as I wouldn't own any of those cars (nor a Miata or 86) because I still think the Z will be an amazing car. I will be shocked if it can have a competitive edge over it's peers using a chassis that is essentially nearly 20 years old. The BMW chassis was all-new and benefits from continuous improvements.