2014-05-10 06.40.20-1

Nissan 370Z Coupe

The Nissan 370Z heritage harks back to the late 60’s when the first gen Nissan 240Z broke cover as a sleek 2-door sportscar with a very long snout. In various guises and designs the format of the Z-cars has basically remained the same since then and now in this latest 370Z guise, the evolution continues.

The 2-door sportscar is now shorter, lower and wider than the previous 350Z it replaced. The result is a car that appears stocky and bullish, with every bit of sportscar appeal including some darkened 19 inch alloy wheels that fill those bulging wheel arches and give the car a menacing, respect-commanding presence. There’s nothing gentle or graceful in the design. I love that!

Piloting the Z car starts off with the realisation that getting comfortable in the car is not as easy as you’d expect, thanks to the fact that in true current Nissan fashion the steering is not rake AND reach adjustable. You counter this by moving your seat forward/back, the result of which is … frustrating. No Thanks. But as the narrative unfolds, you soon forget that mishap and fire up the fairly loud motor from what is quite a comfortable, well appointed and unclaustrophobic interior.

It’s not your typical sportscar roar/bark but rather a louder-than-usual hint that this is an athlete…not a couch potato. With such large and low-profiled tyres, I expected the ride to be back-breaking but, pleasantly, it wasn’t. IN fact, the new Nissan 370Z was a complete surprise package for me. Having driven the old 350Z I expected quite a linear degree of improvement but my word, the new car is fantastic.

Starting with the price: At R652,000, the competition analysis brings up cars that are more expensive so one could argue it to be good value for such a driver focused car. Also remember that this car comes with a full array of features where its German competitors have a base price that escalates with every optional extra. Standard on the Nissan 370Z: Sat Nav / Bluetooth connectivity / 9,3GB HDD Music Box System / AUX Inputs / KeyLess Entry / Cruise Control / Multi-Function Steering wheel / Anti Dazzle Rear view mirrors and a reversing camera. I repeat – ALL STANDARD. At this price, Nissan throws in a 3 year/90,000km service  plan too which isn’t too bad.

The drivetrain is spearheaded by Nissan’s 3,7 litre DOHC V6 engine. This is then mated to a 6-speed manual transmission OR a 7-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift paddles. Throw in a Limited Slip Differential and you’re left with a car that gives as much as it gets. It is absolutely fantastic to drive particularly for those who love nothing more than seat time in a sports car. Under hard cornering the front end is very manageable and understeer can creep in just before the oversteer steps out. It is indeed possible to think you are a better driver than you actually are because the car is so manageable. I love the naturally aspirated direction that Nissan has continued on this car because it really makes one feel at one with the package. The acceleration is strong and linear coupled with a truly unique V6 howl. Some commented that the engine noise from inside the cabin seemed quite rough and unrefined. I don’t agree.

The 370Z has also gone through a vast amount of design changes. The metals and materials are of a higher quality but still retain that same chunky, solid feel as in the Nissan Pathfinder. It feels like a solid machine. I also loved the vertical door handles. They’re quite odd to use but I like that Nissan has chosen to go this route and give this car a unique appeal. The indicator lamps are housed in a Z-badge and the dual exhausts make no excuses about the fact that this is indeed a sports car.

For me, the 370Z is unapologetically raw. That’s why it’s so loud. That’s why it squats so low and appears so bold and stocky. That’s why it barks on the change down and rumbles and snorts to clear it’s nostrils. And isn’t that what sports cars should be about? Haven’t we become so obsessed with German engineering and refinement and dynamic, adjustable ECO friendly drivetrains that we’ve forgotten what a real driver’s car should be like?

This is the Nissan 370Z. And it’s just R652,200.

AM




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