Reader's test: Nissan 370Z
KEEPING THINGS Z: According to Leon, Nissan has made a great improvement with the new Z.
Author: Leon Bosman
Nissan’s Z heritage has roots stretching back to the days of Datsun, with the introduction of the 240Z/Fairlady Z in 1969. The Z series of cars had a few things that became the basis for series cars to come… great looks, performance, reliability and affordability. With a record of the biggest selling sports car series of all time at over two million cars sold it’s easy to see why this series has become such an icon and loved by enthusiasts the world over.
When attempting to design and build a sports car, racing pedigree is just as important and nobody knows this better than Nissan. With victories in almost all of the major racing sectors across the world and with cars like the original GTR (Skyline) leading the field, it is only logical that this heritage would be felt in the Z series cars.
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT?
Some may argue that the new 370Z looks softer and not as aggressive as its older brother the 350Z but don’t let a quick glance at it set the mood … the more you stare at it the more you notice the angular shapes and slashes and what looks like a 350Z that has seen a hard few months of weight lifting in a gym showing off a muscular appearance. This is all due to the fact that the new Z is not only shorter but also wider than the previous 350Z model. If the looks aren’t enough to convince you then, on this model, there is the 19” Rays Engineering Forged wheels that just scream aggression if you haven’t already made up your mind.
Under the skin is a whole new car that has been completely redesigned from the ground up and shares very little of its 350Z past, which is not always a good thing as sequels go … but lets see how it shapes up.
INTERIOR TO IMPRESS
Getting into the new 370Z you immediately notice that the somewhat cheap feeling plastic interior that haunted the old 350Z has been replaced by a much better quality setup. Great leather seats and suede trim in the car definitely gives the feel that not only is it a good sports car but a luxury one also. All the switch gear works well and the arrangement of gauges and info displays gives you the feeling that you are in command of a fighter jet that’s ready to take down some targets.
The seating position in the car reminds me of the Honda S2000, great position and view over the swooping bonnet and perfect steering placement, what every true sports car should have. I think this car will do great as both a comfortable daily driver and long distance runner.
If I had to nitpick on the interior I would say that there is quite is quite a number of buttons in the car, which can be intimidating when seeing it all for the first time but I suppose the more you drive it, the more familiar it will all become.
One big plus point is that the space-robbing rear strut bar found in the old 350Z has been moved forward and down to allow a lot more room in the rear; not that you buy the Z for its space, but its always nice to have.
HOW DOES THE Z MOVE?
GREAT FEATURE: One of Leon's favourite features is the 370Z's Syncro Rev Match system that automatically blips the throttle on downshifts.
With 15 more kilowatts and lower mass than the 350Z, and the engine capacity bumped up to a 3.7-litres you can definitely feel that the 370Z is a lot more alive when the loud pedal hits the floor. 0-100kph takes only 5.4 seconds, low down torque is great and gives a very refined feel to the way the power is delivered. When it hits the high notes you can hear the V6 come into song.
A great feature in this car is the S-Mode or Syncro Rev Match system. It auto blips the throttle on every down shift to match the car’s revs to the engine speed, so there’s no need for heel-and-toe when driving the manual to make even the normal man in the street look like a racer.
That the Z is shorter and wider than its predecessor gives it a really great feel when charging through the corners. The taut rear-wheel-drive chassis is a lot of fun, yet makes you feel confident. The suspension does feel a little hard for a production car, but I felt directly connected to everything that was going on under the wheels thus inspiring me to enjoy the ride even more.
Under heavy cornering I also felt a slight bit of understeer but just enough to let you know before the rear kicks out. I noticed that Nissan dropped the Brembo brakes from the 350Z and is running a factory brake system but after a few hot laps around the track the standard brakes held up just fine with no signs of fade or fatigue. Good job, Nissan!
AT THE END OF IT ALL
I was really doubtful at first if the 370Z could improve on the older 350Z but after spending time in this new kid on the block I can say without a doubt that Nissan has made a great improvement with the new Z.
It makes a great sound, gives a fulfilling driving experience and offers all-round great value for money when compared to the equivalent Porsche line-up, for example.
The new GTR DNA is definitely evident in the 370Z with echoes of the grandfather 240Z of the 60s shining through too. Without a doubt, the legend and spirit of the Z lives on in the new model.