MORE ABOUT THE BMW 135i: http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drives/Comparos/articleId=137806?tid=edmunds.il.home.photopanel..1.* What comes after Z?, we wondered when Nissan let the stage go black in 1996 and officially bid farewell to the Z-car at an event at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Sales of the twin-turbo 300ZX had been declining as fast as applications for library cards, so Nissan simply stopped selling the car in the U.S. It made us wonder where the Z fit in Nissan's future. The answer came in 2002, when the Nissan 350Z appeared, a serious sports car that seemed to measure itself against the Corvette in both speed and style. It brought people back to Nissan, but lots of the young enthusiasts didn't know what an icon the Z had been for the company since its inception in 1970. With the 2009 Nissan 370Z, all that changes. As a Z should be, the 370Z is a statement of purpose, not just another car on the showroom floor. With this second-generation version of the revitalized Z, the car has moved on from affordable performance to something that brings new descriptions into play - not only like quick, fast, strong and powerful, but also gorgeous, luxurious, nimble, graceful, delicate and smooth. This is a car so good that it makes you wonder what kind of car it is: a sports car, a sport coupe or a muscle-bound pony car? And that's where the 2008 BMW 135i comes in, a pocket-size BMW M3 with an affordable price tag to match.