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370Z set to drop its top

2009-04-07 07:54
Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Nissan
Model 370Z Roadster
Engine 3.7l V6
Power 248kW
Torque 366Nm
Nissan is aiming to upset the roadster market by undercutting Porsche Boxster, Mercedes-Benz SLK and BMW Z4 on price when it goes on sale later this year.

The latest (sixth) incarnation of Nissan’s fabled Z-cars will officially unveil its open-topped offering on Tuesday evening, in anticipation of a public New York motor show debut on Friday.

Mirroring its Coupe sibling’s design, 370Z Roadster employs a traditional front-engined, rear-wheel drive layout, and is powered by the latest, 248kW, 3.7l V6.

Soft-top, hardcore drive?

Generally regarded as the poseurs Z-car option – especially in Northern hemisphere markets with only a precious few weeks of quality sunshine per year – this new Z-car Roadster is designed as purely as possible to facilitate a dynamic driving experience.

The folding fabric roof keeps saves weight and optimises stowage space (in comparison with an intricate, folding metal hard-top), whilst the chassis around the A-pillars and side sills have been strengthened to improve torsional rigidity and reduce scuttle shake.

A single teaser image, flashed in anticipation of Tuesday night's unveiling, shows plenty of Z-car Roadster heritage in the design with neat individual roll-bars behind the seats.

Those fishhook head- and taillights add the requisite edginess to the surfacing and the multilayered fabric roof is alleged to have outstanding sound-insulation properties. How it ends up blending with the 370Z’s overall profile when not retracted is the key issue though.

Though the Roadster is expected to be a touch heavier than its fixed top sibling (despite the canvas roof arrangement) performance from the 248kW V6 should see a 0-100km/h sprint in less than six-seconds and a top speed of 250km/h.

Transferring power to the road are two very performance oriented transmissions. The first is a traditional six-speed manual with Synchro Rev Control (it throttle blips on your behalf during dynamic downshifts) joined by a new seven-speed tiptronic automatic, with steering wheel mounted paddle shift mechanisms.

Industry pundits expect Nissan to market the new 370Z Roadster in three trim levels, an entry level model, GT and range-topping Ultimate trim – the latter being equipped with full leather trim, DVD SatNav and an acoustically redoubtable eight-speaker Bose sound system. Pricing will be market (volume) and exchange rate sensitive, yet expect the surfeit of power to be available at a buy-in point undercutting the less powerful German Roadsters...


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