If anybody out there loves cars, they will surely have heard of Nissan’s 370Z. And they’ll surely love it too. With looks that make you want to get behind its wheel and features including xenon headlights and traction control, you need not hesitate about getting yourself one of these, either as a coupe or roadster. Call us today and arrange a Nissan 370Z contract hire or car leasing option to suit.
This is the definitive Japanese sportscar. Nissan’s Z-car heritage goes all the way back to the legendary 240Z of 1969, a car intended to offer the style and performance of European sportscars at a fraction of their price. The 370Z continues that tradition in fine style. It builds on a firm foundation laid by the 350Z model, a sportscar than typifies everything that the Z series should be about, with good looks, muscular performance and a fantastic fun factor, a car you could really take by the scruff of the neck.
So, is it as much fun as the original 350Z, once called the Godfather of sports coupes? Punch the starter button and let’s find out. Great: still the same glorious V6 roar, that’s good enough to see 62mph from rest dispatched in just 5. 7s on the way to an artificially limited maximum of 155mph. But more power I expected. More technology however, was something I was planning to welcome a little less if the end result was the take away from the hands-on driving experience that Z-car motoring should really be all about.
But there’s no need to worry, the people who developed this car were petrolheads. Why else would they have spent five years in developing a Synchro Rev Control system that blips the throttle when you make a downchange to make you feel like Michael Schumacher? Or an optional seven-speed semi-automatic gearbox with gorgeous magnesium-crafted F1-style paddle shifters that on a clear day, makes a circuit of your local town centre one-way system feel like a lap of Monte Carlo. So yes, this is a hi-tech stepping stone to Nissan GT-R supercar ownership. But no, its essential character hasn’t been diluted, it’s still a driver’s car, pure and simple.
Like most serious driver’s cars, it’s not at its best when you’re pottering about around town. Huge rear C-pillars mar the rear three-quarter view, while equally chunky A-pillars can slightly hamper visibility at junctions, but it’s nothing you couldn’t live with. Slightly more of an issue is the motorway tyre roar that can hamper refinement on longer journeys. All of these issues melt away however, when you’re in the right mood on the right backroad on the right day. A chassis that’s 50% stiffer than the old model, revised suspension and dampers plus a proper limited slip differential at the rear all contribute to cornering that’s wonderfully sharp and flat. There’s clever variable braking that’s not too sharp at lower speeds but powerful at higher ones. Plus, if you’re on track and feeling brave, the standard traction control and VDC stability control systems can be fully disabled, so with a bit of instruction, you can get the car tail-out or even drifting. Brilliant.
This car might appear similar to the old 350Z but it isn’t, as a close inspection of the shorter, lower and slightly wider shape with its silky-smooth scratchproof paint quickly reveals. It’s gorgeous. From the arrow-shaped headlamps to the boomerang-shaped tail lamps, there’s a handsome aggression that marks this car out from its overtly style-conscious contemporaries. The front air-intake borrows its look from Nissan’s GT-R supercar, giving the 370z greater malevolency as it looms in your mirrors with twin aerodynamic fins rising like fangs from its lower lip.
Inside, it’s a big improvement on the plasticky feel of the car’s predecessor. The dash is upholstered in a leather-like surface called Sofilez that’s more tasteful in both look and feel and the leather seats fitted to most models have lovely suede-like inserts that not only look nice but stop you sliding around under hard cornering – though the seatbase is a little short. A number of the old car’s trademark features are still intact though, such as the instrument cluster attached to the steering column that moves as you adjust the driving position to guarantee an unhindered view of the dials.
It’s still a two-seater-only cabin and unlike, say, a Porsche Cayman, there’s a useful shelf behind the front seats where you can quickly sling a coat or jacket with a glovebox now at last added for smaller items. As for proper luggage space, the hefty strut brace across the old 350Z’s parcel shelf that stopped you carrying a proper weekend’s luggage for two has now been banished, freeing up a more usable 235-litres of space.
Though there’s only the one 328bhp 3. 7-litre V6 petrol engine on offer to 370Z customers, there is choice of bodystyles, either the coupe or a Roadster version with a fabric hood. Either way, there’s a choice of either 6-speed manual gearbox or a 7-speed semi-automatic with steering wheel paddle-shifters. All models come decently equipped with an Intelligent Key you can keep in your pocket when entering and starting the car, scratchproof paint, power adjustable seats, climate controlled air-conditioning, smart alloy wheels, automatic xenon headlamps, six airbags, active head restraints to guard against accident whiplash, an alarm, a decent MP3-compatible CD stereo and Bluetooth hands free phone connection.
In an age when many sports coupes seem to prioritise style as much as speed, something like the 370Z is refreshing change. Fans of its predecessor will be looking for a car to replicate the raw, muscular feel they’ve become used to. For the money, they’ll struggle to find it anywhere but at the wheel of this one.
This, after all, is one of those rare but very special things, a proper sportscar.